Creating a Safe Haven for Flagship Species

One of WWF-NL’s long-term goals is to create a safe haven for flagship species from the Dutch Caribbean by protecting them across their geographic range. In order to achieve this goal, we work together with local partners such as governments and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance. Furthermore, we focus on the following activities.

Safeguard Migration Routes for Dutch Caribbean flagship species

Many flagship species (sea turtles, whales, and sharks) move between their feeding and breeding grounds year-round. To safeguard the survival of these species, it is important to protect them during this migration. While the general threats are known (e.g. we are working to reduce the impact of bycatch on these animals throughout the Caribbean as well as reduce the amount of marine litter across the Caribbean), it is often unclear what the exact impact is on these animals. There are still big gaps on knowledge about how these species move around the region and where threats overlap with these movements, making it difficult to reduce these threats effectively. One specific activity to tackle this problem is the development of a Blue Corridors Caribbean report. We will take action to improve protection of the flagship species based on the recommendations in this report. Our objective is to improve knowledge, identify gaps, and support and set up regional programs to tackle threats at a regional level, thereby making the Caribbean a safer place for at least two Dutch Caribbean flagship species.

Expand Coverage and Improve Management of Marine Protected Areas for Flagship Species

We want to improve knowledge on the population size and migration patterns of different flagship species, like whales, sea turtles, and sharks. This asks for stronger cooperation in the region, led by species specific organizations, such as Caribbean Cetacean Society and Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, and improved collaboration with already existing platforms (e.g., WIDECAST for sea turtles). There is limited data for certain species, so our goal is to help improve data collection in the region and identify gaps in protection. In collaboration with our partners, WWF-NL aims for better protection of key areas through practices such as reducing tourism pressure on coastal species and prohibiting direct and indirect catch of sharks, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). We also want to expand the Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary to neighbouring countries.

 

Tiger Shark in Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Baby sea turtle in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean

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