View Full Version : Bonaire's economic health relies upon the health of its reef

09-11-2012, 08:56 PM
The reefs of Bonaire appear to be following a trajectory of degradation similar to other Caribbean reefs (Gardner et al., 2004). Despite its long-term status as a protected marine park, and even on the undeveloped windward coast, major changes in reef species assemblages are evident. Because the developed area of the island has been relatively small until recently, the timing of degradation relative to other Caribbean islands may have been delayed. The capacity for coral recovery is unknown. However the presence of 20 - 40% live coral coverage in a few locations suggests that coral populations might recover if the proximate causes of the present decline are identified and mitigated.

Despite the long-term protected status of Bonaire’s marine ecosystem, there has been a significant decline in coral coverage in the recent decades. In the Netherlands Antilles, the mass mortality of D. antillarum (Bak et al., 1984; Greenstein, 1989; Carpenter and Edmunds, 2006; Debrot and Nagelkerken, 2006), coral bleaching events (Williams and Williams, 1990; Kobluk and Lysenko, 1994), diseases (Gladfelter, 1982; Meesters et al., 1997; Cervino et al., 2004; Nugeus and Bak, 2007), and recent storm damage (Kobluk, 1992; Bries et al., 2004; Scheffers and Scheffers, 2006) have all altered the ecosystem. And, recent increases in terrestrial development causing local eutrophication, sedimentation and direct physical damage to corals from a burgeoning local and tourist population are also thought to contribute to the changes in the reef community (Hawkins et al., 1999; Bak and Nieuwland, 2005; Bak et al., 2005; Uyarra and Cote, 2007; Jones et al., 2008). These changes highlight the tight coupling between terrestrial and shallow marine environments on small islands.

Here's the link for a more recent study: http://www.bmp.org/pdfs/Bonaire_Report_2011_FINAL.pdf

If you care about the Bonaire's beautiful underwater world, please take action. Write to the director of the park, pressure your politicians. What's needed is $$$$ to try and turn this around. This should matter to EVERYONE. Since the economy of Bonaire relies upon Tourism, Tourism $$ must give back and PROTECT the REEF.

09-14-2012, 12:46 PM
Thanks for an update on the situation and the link.