GroenLinks seeks 1M euros for Dutch Caribbean nature

The green left party GroenLinks in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament wants the Dutch government to make one million euros annually available for the Nature Trust Fund to protect the fragile nature in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. GroenLinks also called for a Shark Action Plan. Members of Parliament (MPs) Laura Bromet and Nevin Özütok of Groen­Links submitted a proposal to amend the 2019 budget of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality during the handling of this budget on Wednesday to secure a yearly contribution of one million euros to the Nature Rust Fund for the Dutch Caribbean.

Laura Bromet

Until 2016, the Dutch government annually con­tributed to the Dutch Ca­ribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), an organisation in which all six Dutch Ca­ribbean islands participate in the area of nature man­agement, via the Nature Trust Fund.

However, the financial ca­pacity of this trust fund is insufficient to generate sus­tainable revenue. The one million euros that Groen­Links wants the Dutch government to contribute annually for a maximum period of 10 years would guarantee a sustainable revenue basis.

Nevin Özütok

Bromet and Özütok point­ed out that the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality was respon­sible for the management and protection of nature and biodiversity in the en­tire Netherlands, and there­fore also in the Caribbean Netherlands. The proposed budget amendment will be voted on in December. On the second day of the handling of the 2019 budget of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality on Thursday, Bromet presented a mo­tion that requested that the Dutch government draft a Shark Action Plan on short notice to protect the sharks that live in the seas sur­rounding the Dutch Carib­bean islands.

Bromet pointed out in her motion that there are some 25 shark species in the Ca­ribbean Sea, a number of which appear on interna­tional endangered species lists. “These sharks deserve more protection,” she said. Sharks play a vital role in the fragile maritime eco­system. Humans who catch sharks for this fins are a major threat. A recent shocking video showed how local fishermen in Curacao cut the fins off a still-living shark and then threw the animal back in the sea. In her motion, Bromet noted that while the Neth­erlands has designated a shark reserve around the Saba Bank, there is no ac­tive shark protection pol­icy in place. She wants the Shark Action Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands to include research and moni­toring of the shark popula­tion, actions against illegal shark fishing, the prohi­bition of ‘finning’ in the law and a strategy to help strengthen the internation­al protection of sharks. Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Carole Schouten confirmed that government had al­ready started the drafting of an action plan to protect the sharks in the Caribbean Netherlands. She promised to send this document to Parliament in March next year.

The Daily Herald.

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