The whole shoreline of Bonaire is protected as the Bonaire National Marine Park. This area runs from the highwater mark on the shoreline until 75 meters out or 60 meters of water depth. Within these waters is a wide array of natural wonders, from thriving coral reefs to playful manta rays.
Recreational divers, snorkelers and swimmers are free to use the marine park. Entrance and exit locations have been marked using yellow stones all around the island. Utilizing these designated entry and exit locations helps create “hot spot” and minimize damage to the reef. Those who wish to participate in other water sports, such as boating, windsurfing and kiteboarding are also free to do so in designated areas.
There are two no fishing areas located along the western shores of Bonaire. Fish reserves allow fish populations to grow and spill over to neighboring areas to ensure sustainable fish populations for generations to come. In addition, Bonaire has two marine reserves both located on the northeastern shoreline where diving and entry is prohibited (indicated in red below).
The rationale for establishing Fish Protected Areas is that juvenile fish residing in these areas are able to mature and reproduce and that, as they grow, some will ‘spill-over’ into nearby areas.
This results in areas where fish are able to grow large enough to reproduce and increased catch of local fishermen
It’s been over ten years now and several recent studies are showing a small increase in the density and biomass of small carnivorous fish in the fish protected areas.