St. Maarten is taking steps to preserve the Proselyte Reef. // © 2011 Maarten Tourist Bureau
Last December, St. Maarten established its first national marine park, the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. The park is the first step St. Maarten has taken toward preserving the area known as the Proselyte Reef, the island’s most important underwater habitat. The new Man of War Shoal marine park allows St. Maarten to have an official protected area that is enforced in accordance with the Specially Protected Areas of Wildlife Protocol and the federal decree on Maritime Management. The designated area is also expected to boost tourism to the island.
“The development of the marine park has been long in the making, and we are pleased to have begun the first and most crucial phase of the process,” said Franklin Meyers, St. Maarten’s minister of economic affairs, tourism, transportation and telecommunications. “By creating the marine park, St. Maarten is taking steps to preserve the local environment as well as enhancing sustainable tourism.”
The Proselyte Reef includes the island’s most important marine habitat consisting of coral reefs and sea grass beds as well as a large population of aquatic mammals, including whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and fish.