On September 20th, 2018 the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality mrs. Carola Schouten and the Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius, mr. Mike Franco signed the declaration that St. Eustatius joins the Yarari marine mammal and shark sanctuary. The waters of Sint Eustatius are now part of the eleventh marine mammal and shark reserve in the world. The name of the reserve, Yarari, is a Taíno Indian word that means ‘a fine place’.
The goal of establishing this reserve is to actively protect the declining population of marine mammals and sharks. The St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA), which plays an important role in this matter, congratulates the local government and the inhabitants of St. Eustatius for now being a part of the Yarari reserve. STENAPA has actively taken part in protecting marine mammals and sharks, and will continue those efforts in the future.
With the signing of this declaration, St. Eustatius joins the public entities of Bonaire and Saba, that signed the declaration earlier. In the Yarari reserve, that now also encompasses the waters of St. Eustatius, the protection of sharks and marine mammals is now officially acknowledged.
Sharks and marine mammals play an important role in the marine environment. Where there are more sharks, there are – contrary to what you might expect – more fish as well. That makes the established reserve important for the fishermen on the island, that have expressed themselves in favor of the establishment of this reserve. Marine mammals are, just like sharks, important for tourism in the Caribbean region.