The primary challenge of managing the Bonaire National Marine Park is dealing with the varied groups and individuals who use the waters around Bonaire, and encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources. BNMP employees work with government departments, divers, boaters, fishermen, businesspeople, homeowners, contractors and other diverse groups who have, in some cases, nothing in common but their relationship to the Marine Park.
The challenges to managing the ecosystems that form theBonaire National Marine Park are dramatically increasing as the economy of Bonaire has grown in the past years.
Our main categories of management responsibilities include:
We use cars and boats for law enforcement patrolling, and also for the maintenance of shoreline site information and moorings. We take good care of this equipment to make it last! We provide our personnel with training in servicing car engines and outboard boat motors to keep the cost of operations down and save money for use in other areas.
– Rangers check more than 100 Bonaire National Marine Park public moorings periodically. Mooring lines are replaced and buoys repainted with the site name on a bright yellow background several times a year.
– Currently, the BNMP is replacing its original double-barrel public moorings with a remarkable pin-type unit that was designed precisely for a mixed substrate like Bonaire’s. The Helix pins (more information is available at www.helixmooringsystems.com) are much easier to install and require less space than traditional moorings, since they’re essentially screwed into the bottom. They give more flexibility in mooring placement as well. It is our intention to replace most of the two-barrel moorings with these Helix moorings, as the dive industry has grown and the dive centers today use boats as large as 13 meters. These boats cause the barrel drum moorings to drag. The Helix moorings are rather expensive though, so it may take some years before we are able to replace them all.
Use of the buoys is at your own risk.
– The markers for more than sixty shore diving sites, which are stones painted with the site name on a bright yellow background, placed for the convenience of Bonaire’s shore divers, are checked regularly for correct placement and a fresh appearance.
– Back at the Barcadera offices, spare mooring buoys and marker rocks are kept ready by Rangers and volunteers, so that replacements are able to be made quickly.
– The maintenance of the Barcadera building, which houses all the STINAPA offices.
– The BNMP boats, patrol cars, engines, and all other equipment are maintained on a regular basis.
One of our responsibilities is law enforcement. Most of the time we have two rangers on a shore patrol and/or two on a boat patrol. We are very grateful to the people of Bonaire who have the courage and desire to protect their environment; they often alert us about poachers of conch, illegal construction in the coastal zone, people spear fishing or having a net in an illegal area, and other infractions. In the past we needed the police to assist us in dealing with infringements. Today most of the rangers employed at STINAPA have special police powers (BAVPOL) we can write out citations for the offenders ourselves.
The introduction of the Nature Fee will allow us to purchase the appropriate equipment to do some basic monitoring, of factors such as water temperature, water quality and nutrients. We are very thankful to the researchers and volunteers who have assisted us over the past years and, we hope, will continue working with us into the future. We are looking forward to being able to hire more rangers to enable us to increase the areas we monitor.
As stipulated by the Marine Ordinance (Dutch version / English translation) the island government has instituted a “Commission of Marine Environment” with experts in different disciplines. The Manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park is an advisor to this Commission. Requests for permits (construction, renovation or research) to the island government for activities in the Bonaire National Marine Park pass through the Commission, which takes into consideration the legislation, policies, and guidelines before giving advice.