Man O War Shoal Marine Park

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(Guidelines and Criteria Section B / Cultural and Socio-Economic Criteria) Nominated Areas must conform, where applicable, to at least one of the three Cultural and Socio-Economic Criteria. If applicable, describe how the nominated site satisfies one or more of the following three Criteria (Attach in Annex any specific and relevant documents in support of these criteria).


The Man O War Shoal Marine Park helps conserve, maintain and restore natural processes at the habitat and species level. There is regular exchange for feeding and reproduction and continuous movement of water and animals between reefs, seagrasses and benthic habitats within and adjacent to the Man O War Shoal Marine Park.

This provides a wide variety of natural resources that are used by the local human population, from those that are directly extracted, such as fish caught in the artisanal fishery, to marine sediments that help form the valued beaches of St Maarten.



Cultural and traditional use:

There are a small number of artisanal fisherfolk who make use of the the Man O War Shoal Marine Park using traditional hand line capture methods. A fish market that is subsidised by the government takes place every day north of Simpson Bay Lagoon on St Maarten.


Socio-economic benefits:

The beaches and waters of St Maarten attract approximately 2 million visitors a year, creating employment for 85% of the islands population. Tourism and the marine industry contribute $500 million and $30 million to the economy respectively and both depend on the health of St Maarten’s marine resources.

The Man O War Shoal Marine Park is a focal point for dive tourism. A study in 2010 estimated that 15 to 20% of all visitors to St Maarten engage in diving activities, either through dive trips, dive courses, or tryout dives/ resort courses. Annually, total income for dive related activities was estimated to be USD $9,689,625.

This is a considerable economic contribution by the Diving Sector to both the economy and Tourism Product of St. Maarten. The ongoing management of the Man O War Shoal Marine Park, to which regional networking is essential,  goes some way to ensuring the benefits can be enjoyed into tthe future.