Volume 71

Staying in the Forefront of Coral Reef Conservation Amidst Growing and Changing Tourism

Leonel, Martijn,L.,;Roxanne-Liana Francisca;Caren Eckrich
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Date: November, 2018

Pages: 4-Mar

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


The island of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, is a small island in the Leeward Caribbean, just off the coast of Venezuela; the island is 38 km long by 11 km wide and is home to about 20,000 people (Smith et al. 2012). The Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) was established in 1979 and is managed by STINAPA Bonaire (Stichting Nationale Parken), a foundation tasked by the island government with protecting and conserving nature through research and monitoring, nature education, and enforcement. The BNMP extends from the high-tide mark to 60m deep and encompasses 2,700 acres of beaches, mangroves and seagreass, and fringing coral reefs. The park, which surrounds the entire island and includes the islet of Klein Bonaire, is home to one of the coral reefs with the highest coral cover in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic (Jackson et al. 2014, Mücher et al. 2017). The ecosystem values of the island, both terrestrial and marine, have been well studied and documented (Smith et al. 212, Van der Velde et al. 1992, Bakker et al. 2017, Nugraha et al. 2017). For years tourism has been recognized as the main driver of Bonaire’s economy, partly due to a lack of economically viable alternative resources, with coral reefs as the main attraction (Uyara et al. 2005, Uyara et al. 2009). As a result, there has been a long standing understanding between key stakeholders on the importance of integrating both commercial and economic sustainability with conservation management when developing policy for tourism on Bonaire (Parker 1999).

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