Bonaire aims to increase care of coral reefs

In order to continue its important work and institute new programs that will preserve Bonaire’s environment above and below the water, STINAPA Bonaire, the non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation that oversees the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) and Washington-Slagbaai National Park has proposed a restructuring of the BNMP Fee, collected annually from divers.For the past ten years, scuba divers have been charged a US$10.00 per year Marine Park Fee to dive the pristine reefs surrounding Bonaire, while snorkelers and others using the waters surrounding Bonaire were invited to donate funds.

The funds collected from this fee have been used solely for the management of the BNMP and activities such as research, monitoring, law enforcement and education.

Additionally visitors entering Washington-Slagbaai National Park have been charged a $10.00 entrance fee (per visit).

The BNMP and Washington-Slagbaai National Park have also received many generous donations and grants which have gone to funding the Parks’ management, activities and research.

In order for STINAPA Bonaire to continue to maintain and expand its services and conserve the precious natural resources it oversees which also include Klein Bonaire, Lac Bay and the cave system at Barcadera, the organisation must not only implement a more broad-based funding program to generate increased revenue, but also become self-sustainable, that is not dependent on donations and grants.

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With these goals in mind extensive discussions with stakeholders, the Government and others connected with nature conservation were held and a consensus was reached that the way the BNMP and Washington-Slagbaai National Park fees are collected must change.ÊHence the idea of a Nature Fee was conceived.

The new Nature Fee will be introduced on April 1, 2005.ÊBeginning this day all scuba divers entering the BNMP will pay a fee of $25.00 per year.ÊDivers will continue to receive the coveted BNMP Tag to wear proudly on their equipment to show they care about protecting our coral reefs.

All others who use the waters of the BNMP including snorkelers, windsurfers, kayakers, sport fishermen, kite boarders, etc., will be charged a Nature Fee of $10.00 per year.Ê They will also receive a specially designed tag similar to the current BNMP Tag indicating their support for nature preservation.

In addition to being allowed to enjoy the Marine Park for a period of one year, all persons who pay the Nature Fee (both divers and other users) and show their tag along with their printed receipt will receive complimentary admission to Washington-Slagbaai National Park throughout the year their tag is valid.

Funds collected from the Nature Fee will continue to be for research, monitoring, education, law enforcement, information distribution and maintenance of the areas STINAPA Bonaire oversees.

The new Nature Fee Tags will be available for purchase beginning April 1, 2005 not only at dive operations, as has been the practice in the past, but also at hotels, resorts, windsurfing operations, sport fishing charter boats, sail/snorkel/water taxi operations, marinas and other water sports operations in Bonaire.

“On behalf of the entire population of Bonaire, STINAPA Bonaire would like to thank the many thousands of visitors who care about our natural resources and have shown their willingness to contribute to the professional management of those resources by purchasing tags in the past,” said Jack Chalk, President of STINAPA Bonaire.

“We hope that you will continue to visit Bonaire and help us protect our fragile resources so that not only you will be able to continue to enjoy them, but so that future generations will also be able to see why Bonaire is known not only as a ‘Divers Paradise,’ but also as a ‘Nature Paradise.’”

Charged by the Island Government to manage the natural resources of the island STINAPA Bonaire, a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation, is run by a board of dedicated local professionals who donate their time to the conservation of Bonaire’s natural surroundings both above and below the water.

Recently the organization underwent a three-year modernisation and upgrading of its institutional structure.Ê
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