The Daily Herald writes that the Dutch lottery “Postcode Loterij” has approved a grant of US $1.9 million for a three-year project aimed at shark protection in the waters of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten. The money will be made available to local marine parks through Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), a nongovernmental organization in which nature parks on all six Dutch Caribbean islands cooperate.
The implementation of this project will be done together with local communities, fishermen and researchers and directed by local experts. Tadzio Bervoets, manager of St. Maarten Man of War Shoal Marine Park, is delighted. “All of us, who work Postcode Loterij supports shark protection. with these majestic creatures, are unbelievably excited and appreciative of the Postcode Lottery for this significant and important contribution. “Not only for shark conservation on our islands, but also within the region, where much work is being done to understand these important creatures, the role they play in the health of our oceans, and the sustainability of the island communities that depend on the sea.
He added: “All of the involved marine parks have put shark conservation and educating the public on the importance of sharks as a top priority, and with this significant boost we will be able to better understand these wonderful creatures and educate our communities on their beauty, their importance for nature, and last but not least, their contribution to the development of our diving tourism.”
Shark conservation work is already firmly underway on St. Maarten, where government banned the killing of sharks in its waters and where Nature Foundation is already running a sharktagging programme to collect valuable information on local sharks.
Kai Wulf, Parks Director of Saba Conservation Foundation, said, “This support could not have come at a more opportune time, elevating our shark conservation efforts to the highest level. The excitement of now being able to really have an impact, besides preaching appreciation for these beautiful species as a keystone of a healthy Caribbean sea our livelihoods depend on, yet allowing us to learn more about them and to promote better protection measures, is quickly becoming very contagious.”
The cooperation of the six islands through DCNA proved important in realizing this success. DCNA President Glenn Thodé explains: “Experts of the nature parks worked very hard to produce an outstanding project proposal and because of the outstanding relationship between DCNA and Postcode Lottery, we managed to convince them to select this project for their financial support. Major donors like Postcode Lottery prefer projects in which islands work together. DCNA for many years has been such a trustworthy platform for all involved, both inside the Kingdom and abroad.”
For more information on this project and DCNA, visit http://www.dcnanature.org.