Protection of the Saba Bank

The Saba Bank is one of the world’s largest underwater atolls. The Saba Bank has been designated as a National natural park and a protected area within the meaning of the SPAW protocol (*) and is included on the SPAW list of protected areas.

In March 2013, the Saba Bank was also recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as an ‘ecologically or biologically significant marine area’ (EBSA). In June 2013, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) granted the Saba Bank PSSA status (**), which also implemented an anchor ban and a prohibition on vessels of more than 300 GT to prevent damage to coral and fishing.

The Saba Bank is not only important because of its special biodiversity, but it is also of great importance for fishing, especially for lobster and red snapper. This fishing must be well managed to secure it for the future.

Within the framework of the management of the Saba Bank, LNV is conducting research on the coral reefs, the whales and dolphins, and the fishing and fish stocks. In 2016, a symposium about five years of research on the Saba Bank was held. A summary can be found here.

* This is an area protected under the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) protocol. This protocol was signed in 1990 by all governments of the Caribbean Environment Programme.
** A PSSA (Particularly Sensitive Sea Area) is an area that has received special protection from the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN organisation for regulating shipping at a global level.

For a video documentary about the Saba bank see here.