When STCB was founded in 1991, turtles were threatened by direct harvest, accidental capture, and destruction of nests. Accordingly, our conservation efforts focused on direct protection for turtles. Now those early threats are being overshadowed by the indirect threats posed by Bonaire’s burgeoning human population:
- Untreated, uncontained sewage and solid waste leaches into the marine environment and causes deadly nutrification of reefs and pollutes foraging areas.
- Unmanaged coastal development, sand-mining and coral rock-mining destroy nesting habitat and cause sediment run-off into reefs.
- Unsustainable tourism activities increasingly encroach on turtle foraging areas.
- Failure to enact policy and lack of regulation and enforcement regarding nature and environmental protection have led to both insidious and overt degradation as well as confusion and lack of environmental awareness in the community.
STCB’s activities increasingly include a focus on this bigger picture, for example:
- We have updated outreach materials to reflect the new threats and offer suggestions which the public can use to help reduce those threats (see What You Can Do).
- We have undertaken a long-term public/private partnership project to protect a fragile ecosystem from the effects of increasing recreational use (see Seagrass Protection).
- We meet regularly with other NGO’s, government agencies and individuals to build advocacy partnerships.
- We actively participate in the public process surrounding Environmental Impact Assessments in order to build public awareness and government accountability.
- We advise and comment on laws being developed that will regulate activity in and protect the marine and land environment.