Saba improving ocean health

According to Conservation International Saba is one of only eight locations around the world to score 99 on their Ocean Health Index demonstrating that it is working effectively to conserve the region’s rich variety of species and habitats, reduce extinction risk and maintain and restore marine habitats.

The Ocean Health Index is a tool developed by Conservation International (CI) and partners to provide governments, communities and businesses with the data they need to make sustainable decisions about ocean use has given the ocean its annual check-up. It measures against 10 indicators including food provision, carbon storage and coastal livelihoods. By compiling the best available global data from multiple sources — satellites, habitat surveys, economic reports, tourism studies, U.N. fishery reports and more — the OHI generates “scores” for  the coasts and oceans (out to 200 nautical miles) of all coastal countries and their territories.

Key to the Dutch territory’s success was establishing Saba National Marine Park, which surrounds the entire island from the high-tide line out to 60 meters (about 200 feet) depth, protecting coral reefs, seagrass beds and thriving marine life. The park has zones to accommodate activities such as swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing and boating, with regulations that prohibit spearfishing, anchoring on coral, garbage dumping  and other harmful activities. Usage fees, sales of souvenirs and donations support operation of the park by the Saba Conservation Foundation and protect the large groupers, reef fish, green and hawksbill turtles, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and spectacular coral-encrusted pinnacles for which the park is world-famous.

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