State Secretary Dijksma of Economic Affairs opened a shark reserve during her visit on Saba and Bonaire. Shark populations are plummeting worldwide and therefore need extra protection against illegal fishing and the bycatch of regular fishery. The local nature and fisheries organisations are involved in the protection. The Netherlands will actively protect sharks in the Caribbean Sea with the eleventh shark reserve.
Dijksma: ‘This special reserve will ensure the conservation of the animals in the waters surrounding Saba and Bonaire. Sharks are not only important for tourism but also for fishery. When there are more sharks, there also are more fish – contrary to what one would expect.’
Commissioner Chris Johnson (Saba):‘The effort to make the waters around the islands of Saba and Bonaire shark sanctuaries was kicked started earlier this year by the PEW charitable foundation on Bimini of the Bahamas. The conference included the dutch islands, BVI and Somoa representatives, and philanthropists such as Jose Maria Figueres, the former president of Costa Rica, and founder of the Virgin companies, Sir Richard Branson.’
Commissioner Chris Johnson of Saba said that he is very happy that the two governments of Saba and Bonaire, along with the government of the Netherlands see the importance of this issue and the beneficial effect this can have for the islands and the region as a whole.
Research by Imares has shown that a decrease in sharks as apex predators leads to a disturbed natural balance in the sea. This could have consequences for the total fishery stock.
A good fishery stock is important for the fishermen on the islands, who are dependent on fishing. Tourism also benefits from coral reefs with sharks.
Quote’s State Secretary Dijksma: ‘Shark populations are plummeting worldwide and therefore need extra protection against illegal fishing and the bycatch of regular fishery.’
‘The reserve will work closely with local nature and fisheries organisations to protect sea mammals and sharks.’
‘The reserve shows the importance of the shark within nature. This knowledge can contribute to a better protection of sharks.’
Press release RCN.