In the heart of the Dutch Caribbean lies Saba, the Unspoiled Queen, a breathtaking island facing the challenges of restoring its coral reefs. Spanning 5 square miles, Saba boasts the largest submerged atoll in the Atlantic Ocean, the Saba Bank, teeming with extraordinary marine life. Saba’s National Marine Park, established in 1987, safeguards the vibrant coral reefs and marine ecosystems, crucial for the island’s nature-oriented tourism contributing 27% to its economy. However, the park has faced significant coral decline mainly due to Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) and climate change. This has impacted tourism, fishing, and biodiversity. To combat this decline, the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), a dedicated non-profit, leads efforts to rehabilitate the coral reefs. Their Coral Nursery project nurtures and transplants corals, the SCF collaborates with various stakeholders, fostering youth leadership and sustainable tourism. While progress has been made, the SCF emphasizes the need for continuous funding and capacity expansion to realize its ambitious plans, restoring Saba’s coral ecosystems to their former glory.
Keywords: coral reef protection; eco tourism; diving; marine parks; biodiversity conservation; stakeholder engagement