Bonaire has always been very proactive when it comes to environmental issues and positively outspoken when it comes to its own marine environment. Whilst most other places world wide were still nailing their turtle shells to the wall and slurping their turtle soup, in 1961 Bonaire was already enacting legislation to protect sea turtle eggs and nests. In 1971 divers took spearguns into the water with them in much the same way as divers today consider themselves better equipped when armed with an underwater camera – Bonaire banned spearfishing ! Whilst islands in the Indo-Pacific were (and sadly are) still regularly collecting live coral from their reefs to sell for souvenirs, Bonaire in 1975 made it illegal to break coral, take it from the water or sell it.
It was small wonder then, when the Island Government of Bonaire decided to create the Bonaire Marine Park, it was just the next logical step ! And so with the generous financial support of World Wildlife Fund, Holland the Marine Park sprang to life in 1979. The management body for the Marine Park is STINAPA (a shortened version of Stichting National Parken Nederlandse Antillen” – now you wished you never asked !). Its role is essentially that of a nature conservancy organisation. It is a non-governmental