St. Eustatius National Marine Park 2020 Projects

Source: StatiaPark

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius -In the past year, the Marine Team has been working on different projects. Every year they monitor the beaches for the turtle nesting season and conduct in-water sea turtle surveys all around the island to document the distribution of the turtle species in Statia.

They also yearly participate in the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) together with CNSI to monitor the status of the reefs. They had a very successful year where they made great progression on the coral nursery and achieved a far higher survival rate for the fragments in the nursery. Unfortunately, the coral reefs are still battling Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). They are starting a project soon in collaboration with St. Kitts and Hawaii to take a closer look at the disease.

In 2004, a ship called Miss Cathy was sunk in order to relieve the reef of the fishing pressure. Yearly, they monitor the fish populations in this area. The Park regularly maintains the mooring lines for the dive sites and remove the invasive lionfish from the Marine Park. At the end of 2020, they received a permanent hydrophone from our partners at the regional Marine Mammal Network (CARIMAM). The Park installed it at Grand Canyon so they can listen to all marine mammals crossing that area and get an idea of Statia’s role in their annual migration route. To finish off a great year, the Marine Team finally moved into their new, more spacious office upstairs!

Marine Park Management Plan Stakeholder Meetings

Every 5 years, a new Marine Park Management Plan needs to be drafted, reviewed with various stakeholders and finalized. Stakeholders are those who depend on the health of the Marine Park for their livelihood: Fishermen, Tourism (hoteliers, restaurant owners, dive shop owners, Tourism Office), Shipping Industry. Others are concerned with the Marine Park in other ways: Enforcement and Government. The Management Plan aims to conserve the ecosystem services, such as a sustainable fishery, for the island and her community. It also outlines how they will cooperate with the various stakeholders to achieve this.

Diadema Project

This project (from 2019) increased their focus on the transfer methodology of adult Diadema (long-spined sea urchins) to new reef. These grazers ate the overgrowing algae which exposed the bare rock which then allowed baby corals to settle.

Nature Awareness—Sea Turtles

The public was invited to a few night patrols and nest excavations. They were also asked to support the conservation program by beautifying their gardens with Sea Turtle Stepping Stones made from cement and crushed glass bottles (recycled).

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