Cause: Radiant Reefs

WHY?

A healthy ocean is essential to all life on Earth. And even though it is vast, our oceans, and what they can handle is not limitless. Today, marine species and ecosystems are facing unprecedented threats due to human use and destructive practices. Scientific studies have confirmed that well-regulated, well-enforced marine protected areas (MPAs) can provide significant ecological benefits, increase resilience to natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and allow for ecosystem recovery.

HOW WE SUPPORT CORRECTING THE PROBLEM

To keep our oceans healthy and full of life, Marine Protected Areas are the best tool we’ve got. Scientists say we must protect at least 30 percent of the global ocean to safeguard marine biodiversity, but not just any 30 percent. Each ecosystem in each region of the global ocean must be represented in a network of protected areas, in order to establish safe havens for every kind of marine wildlife. Tropical and deep-sea coral reefs, kelp forests along our temperate coastline, the polar regions, and many more habitats need this kind of protection as well as the wildlife that thrive there.

Enter Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA Bonaire). STINAPA Bonaire is a non-governmental, not for profit foundation commissioned by the island government to protect key areas in the Caribbean region. This public-private-partnership with the government and tourism branch has long been seen as a strong innovative approach to successfully advocating and securing the interests of nature conservation. STINAPA Bonaire is dedicated to managing, protecting, restoring, and educating on the biodiversity and values of Bonaire’s habitat. They currently manage two protected areas including The Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) and the Washington Slagbaai National Park (WSNP). These two areas span coral reefs, seagrass, mangroves and wetlands. Their strict no anchoring policy has allowed marine life in this 6,700-acre park to thrive with over 60 corals, 350 species of fish and 86 dive sites.

Even before these protections, Bonaire has a long history of marine conservation that is worth noting. Beginning with their turtle protection in 1961, the prohibition of spear fishing in 1971, and protection for coral, dead or alive, in 1975. The driving forces behind the creation of a Marine Park on Bonaire included Bonaire devotees Captain Don Stewart and late Carel Steensma and The Netherlands Antilles National Parks Foundation.

Marine Conservation Institute