PHILISPBURG, St. Maarten - Last week during a Nature Foundation Patrol on the Patrol Vessel Yellowtail Nature Foundation staff found a vessel called Vagansa and belonging to a French-side dive operator to be anchored illegally at the Charlie’s Shoal dive site. Like the Marine Park and based on the Ministerial Decree establishing the Marine Protected Areas for Sint Maarten it is illegal to anchor at all registered dive sites. The use of anchors negatively impacts the marine environment and can damage coral and seagrass beds.
Upon approaching the vessel it was noticed that the vessel had five divers on board about to commence their dive. The captain and dive leader was requested to exit the water but ignored said request. After repeatedly requesting staff to stop diving the captain appeared on the surface. It was communicated to him that all divers should be removed from the water and that the captain should be prepared to show documentation, however the captain initially refused. At this point the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard Cutter Poema was contacted for assistance.
PHILISBURG, St. Maarten - Last Friday the Nature Foundation visited fourth form students of the Milton Peters College in order to provide information about the Sint Maarten Coral Restoration Project and to teach students about the impact of solid waste pollution on the environment, marine and wild life.
The coral restoration project (RESCQ) from the Nature Foundation is centred on restoring Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn (A. cervicornis) coral by growing coral fragments in coral nurseries. After a period of time coral will be transplanted at selected restoration sites. “The students learned about the importance of our coral reefs, threats to corals and how we restore corals in St Maarten.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Last Sunday the Nature Foundation organized a beach cleanup on Simpson Bay Beach as part of the ‘Save our Sharks’ project in collaboration with the Dutch-based Boskalis Beach Clean Up tour. The Boskalis tour is an initiative of the North Sea Foundation where business, consumers, civil society, and government clean the entire Dutch coast.
This year the cleanups were held throughout the entire kingdom for the first time with all the Dutch Caribbean islands participating.
At least eighty volunteers showed up to help preserve nature, marine life and wildlife on St Maarten by cleaning up Simpson Bay Beach. Around 200 kg of garbage and trash was collected including straws, plastic bottles, cans and large car tires. The volunteers cleaned the beach for more than two hours and they learned about the major impacts of trash on the local environment.
The Nature Foundation also explained about the possibilities to reduce plastic waste, such as the use of paper straws instead of plastic straws, reusable cutlery and reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags.
The first fifty participants received the first reusable shopping bags from the ‘Save our Sharks’ project, this is a great example for how residents can reduce plastic waste.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - On Sunday the 13th of August the Nature Foundation will be organizing a beach cleanup on Simpson Bay Beach as part of the ‘Save our Sharks’ project in collaboration with the Boskalis Beach Clean Up tour. The Boskalis tour is an initiative of the North Sea Foundation where business, consumers, civil society, and government clean the entire Dutch coast. This year the cleanups will be held throughout the entire kingdom for the first time as all the Dutch Caribbean islands will be participating.
The Foundation is looking for volunteers to help clean up the St Maarten beaches. “Young or old everyone is encouraged to join the Nature Foundation and help to preserve nature, marine life and wildlife on St Maarten; “We must all be aware that as an island our garbage ends up at our beaches and in our ocean; we have the responsibility together to keep our beaches clean and safe,” commented Nature Foundation Project Manager Melanie Meijer Zu-Schlochtern.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Last week, the well-known Dutch Television show ‘Bestemming’ was on Sint Maarten to film and document Nature Foundation’s activities that are funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery. The Dutch television episode will mainly showcase the work done by the Foundation and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance in their ‘Save our Sharks’ project which aims to protect and manage sharks around the Dutch Caribbean Islands as well as their coral restoration activities.
Dutch celebrity and Postcode Lottery Ambassador Winston Gerschtanowitz visited the Nature Foundation and took part in the shark project to show the public the importance of these creatures. “It was unbelievable to be so surprised by the beautiful underwater world of St Maarten.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Last Saturday the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation partnered with Ocean Explorer’s Dive Center to host PADI International Women’s Dive Day .Women’s Dive Day is an international initiative aimed at closing the unnecessary gender gap that currently exists within the scuba diving community and the contribution and importance of women to the scuba diving industry is celebrated and recognized. The Nature Foundation partnered with Ocean Explorers Dive Center in organizing speciality dives in order to celebrate the day. Participants were educated about coral restoration and research initiatives organized by the Nature Foundation.
Participants went scuba diving and learned about the Coral Restoration efforts of the Nature Foundation as a part of the three year Restoration of Ecosystem Services and Coral Reef Quality (RESCQ) project funded by the European Union Best 2.0 Program.
WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao - Last Saturday, the Caribbean Coastguard in collaboration with Domain Manager, an audit conducted in Spanish Water, Curacao. There had been notified that they were trying to build a jetty there.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has updated its Climate Change Response Plan for the coastal zone and nearshore ecosystems of Sint Maarten and has submitted it to Stakeholders to be included in plans towards the mitigation of Climate Change effects.
The document was constructed as a plan of approach regarding the tackling of the effects global warming will have on the Marine and Coastal Zone Ecosystem of St. Maarten. The document gives an overview of the causes and threats posed by Global Warming to the Marine and Coastal Zones, Parameters for Monitoring and Recording those threats and possible mitigating suggestions to the effects caused by Climate Change to the Coastal and Marine Environment, which are the ecosystems and population centers most greatly affected by Climate Change.
From the mid-19th to the beginning of the 21st century, the air temperature at the earth’s surface increased by between 0.6 and 0.8°C, and this warming is expected to accelerate during the current century if mitigating measures are not put in place. The sea plays a key role in limiting this process as more than 80% of the heat absorbed by the planet accumulates in the world’s oceans.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The students of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School received a special final end of year treat compliments of the Port of St. Maarten and Royal Caribbean International Cruise line.
"Our group 8 students got the opportunity on Wednesday to board the Oasis of the Seas for a tour and they truly enjoyed the priceless experience," said Stuart Johnson School Manager of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School.
COLE BAY, St. Maarten – On Thursday June 29th Nature Foundation received numerous notifications regarding an incident which happened recently at the Philipsburg Landfill where a septic truck was found dumping raw sewage directly unto the Philipsburg Landfill. Based on the video recorded of the event it is clear that sewage was being illegally dumped and that the septic truck in question was doing so despite objections from witnesses to the event. “It is very clear what is happening on the video. This is a clear example of rules not being followed at the Philipsburg landfill, despite mention being made of increased security at the site. We are also very concerned by comments apparently coming from managers at the landfill stating that this is allowed and happens on a regular basis, which is most definitely not the case. There are various ordinances and pieces of legislation which speak directly to waste management, in particular the disposing of sewage,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.
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