New Shark and Marine Mammal Sanctuary Launched on Bonaire

It was a great way to end Bonaire’s first Shark Week, when State Secretary Dijksma of Economic Affairs opened a shark and marine mammal sanctuary during her recent visit to Bonaire and Saba. Shark populations are plummeting worldwide and therefore need extra protection against illegal fishing and the bycatch of regular fisheries. The local nature and fisheries organizations are involved in this protection and The Netherlands will actively protect sharks in the Caribbean Sea with the world’s eleventh shark reserve.

“This special reserve will ensure the conservation of the animals in the waters surrounding Saba and Bonaire. Sharks are not only important for tourism but also for fishery. When there are more sharks, there also are more fish – contrary to what one would expect,” stated State Secretary Dijksma, who stated further, “The reserve will work closely with local nature and fisheries organizations to protect sea mammals and sharks.”

 

Proponents of shark reserves in Dutch Caribbean waters are happy that the governments of both Bonaire and Saba, along with the government of the European Netherlands see the importance of this issue and the beneficial effect the reserve can have for the islands and the region as a whole.

Research by Imares has shown that a decrease in sharks as apex predators leads to a disturbed natural balance in the sea. This could have consequences for the total fishery stock.

A good fishery stock is also important for the fishermen on the islands, who are dependent on fishing. Tourism also benefits from coral reefs with sharks. (Source:  RCN)

 

Paulo Bertuol Named Manager of Washington-Slagbaai National Park

STINAPA has recently announced that effective August 1st, 2015, Mr. Paulo Bertuol took over as manager of Washington-Slagbaai National Park, replacing the prior manager who returned to life in the European Netherlands. 

Mr. Bertuol is already quite familiar with the work, as he has been working for STINAPA for the last three years as a scientist and researcher in the Natural & Historic Resources Unit.  To expand his expertise, Mr. Bertuol has decided to take on the new challenge as manager of the Washington-Slagbaai National Park.

Mr. Bertuol, native to Brazil, is a biologist and has a Master Degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the University of do Vale do Itajaí in Brazil.

We wish Mr. Bertuol all the best in his new assignment.  (Source:  STINAPA)

Pure Bonaire 2016 Calendar Now Available for Purchase Online

The Pure Bonaire 2016 Calendar features photography encompassing a wide variety of the Bonaire lifestyle…….from its nature, to sports, and to the island’s culture and people.  By looking at this calendar every day, those who wish for more time on Bonaire can spend it vicariously through the colorful imagery of life on Bonaire.

This premium calendar features 13.5” x 19” sized pages, coil binding, white interior paper (100# weight), and full-color interior ink.  Bonaire’s holidays for the coming year are noted on the calendar.  It’s the perfect gift for Bonaire aficionados to give to themselves, or as holiday gifts for any Bonaire lover!  The cost of this deluxe calendar is $25.00 and it can be ordered individually or in small quantities online, and the calendar normally ships within five days of placing an order.  To preview the calendar or to make a purchase, visit the InfoBonaire Bookstore at https://www.infobonaire.com/?p=345(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 

The Final 2015 Taste of Bonaire is Sunday, August 30th, 2015

This Sunday, August 30th, 2015, brings the season’s final Taste of Bonaire event in Wilhelmina Park from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.

The program will be filled with music, shows, food stands, and arts & crafts.  International dishes will be available from China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Holland, India, Jamaica, Suriname, Venezuela, as well as Bonaire.

Performing on stage will be The Genies, International Folkloric Dancers, Sensation Band, and Proyekto 2000.  Come and enjoy it, or else wait until next year! (Source:  TCB)

Bonaire’s Lionfish Population Takes a Big Hit During Marine Reserves Hunt

Last Saturday in the area between Karpata and Slagbaai, 288 invasive lionfish were removed from the reef by 31 certified hunters.

On Saturday afternoon, August 22nd, STINAPA Bonaire organized a two-tank dive in the marine reserves where divers are normally not allowed. The 31 divers were split between two boats, both of which returned before dark with a huge load of lionfish. A total of 288 of this invasive species were taken out in one afternoon.

Lionfish ready to be cleaned and eaten!Until 2009 the lionfish didn’t exist in the waters surrounding Bonaire. Because of this, lionfish do not have natural predators and are not being hunted by any marine creatures. Since the first lionfish was spotted in October 2009, they have reproduced rapidly and have spread throughout Bonaire and the rest of the Caribbean. Lionfish specifically target the young marine animals on our reef and can very quickly eat a lot and reproduce often. The lionfish is a threat to the biodiversity on our reefs and should be removed as thoroughly as possible. They are very tasty and several restaurants on Bonaire have lionfish on their menus.

The fish caught during this hunt will be offered to Rum Runners and the Bonaire Culinary Team as their specialty dish “ceviche” at the event Smaak of Bonaire (Taste of Bonaire) on September 10th in Scheveningen, Netherlands.

Scores:

Three STINAPA rangers ended up catching the most fish. They caught more than 25 fish per person during two dives! They were not participants in the competition so prizes went to:

Most fish:                    21 caught        Susan Porter

Largest fish:                44 cm              Kevin O’Brien

Smallest fish:              7.5 cm             Cassandra O’Neal

(Source:  STINAPA)

The Cadushy Bonaire International Dance Festival is September 10-13, 2015

Those who love a good Latin beat always enjoy the annual dance festival held on Bonaire, where one can learn or practice some great salsa, bachata, or kizomba. This year the event will be held from September 10 through 13, 2015.

This year’s event will include some spectatular shows by well known performers and instructors, the dance workshops, of course, and festival parties throughout the four-day event. Events will take place at either Tropical Rancho or Plaza Resort Bonaire.

For additional information on this unique festival event, call 782-1131 or 785-0027. (Source: Bonaire Dance Festival)

 

 

Shark Week Premieres on Bonaire, Starting Saturday, August 22, 2015

It’s a new “first” for Bonaire, and it’s part of an international effort to give protection to the sharks which inhabit the waters of Bonaire, as well as all the Dutch Caribbean islands, and even Holland itself.  “Shark Week” will begin on Saturday, August 22, 2015, and there’s activities all week that will offer educational and fun things to do.

Image of whale shark taken at Carl’s Hill, Klein Bonaire by Susan Davis.

For some background information, it’s long been acknowledged that a healthy shark population equates to healthy reefs, as apex predators, such as sharks, keep other reef species genetically “fit.” In other words, the hardy survive and continue to breed, while those which might be a little weak, normally do not survive to breed.  But, unfortunately, since the days of the movie, Jaws, the hunters of the world’s oceans have become the hunted.

It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries, and it’s thought that this is a conservative estimate.  This represents a rate of fishing about double the rate of reproduction, which is why the world is seeing declines in most populations for which data exist.  These populations for which we have detailed information, are called “assessed” species, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened or near extinction assessed species includes 27 Caribbean species, of which six species are found in  Bonaire’s waters (bull, blacktip, Caribbean reef, tiger, lemon, and whale sharks).

Bonaire, along with Holland and other Dutch Caribbean islands, are formally beginning an educational effort to increase shark awareness.  Next week’s launch will bring some fun get-togethers, but also the airing of educational videos.  View Shark Week’s schedule by clicking here (available in PDF), and be sure to stop by and become aware!  (Source:  STINAPA)

A Different Dining Option at Sebastian’s Restaurant

The many fans of Chef Sebastian’s dining creations now have another reason to visit the waterfront restaurant, known for its fine dining.  For a limited time, Chef Sebastian is offering an Early Bird Special, offering his very own take on a “burger and fries.”

Chef Sebastian is now well known on Bonaire for taking every-day ingredients, and presenting them with his very own personal spin.  Even a burger and fries gets elevated status at Sebastian’s Restaurant, as the “burger” is a fish burger made from the freshest catch of the day, the “fries” are sweet potato fries, and the mayonnaise is a truffle mayonnaise.  Now put them all together, and one has a tasty, healthy, after work meal.

The Early Bird special is served at the bar only between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM, and accompanying beers are only $2.00 during the special, and it is only available now through September 30th.  So now Chef Sebastian’s fans can stop in after a day of diving, or a day of work, and enjoy his great cooking.  For more information about Sebastian’s Restaurant, visit their web site by clicking here(Source:  Sebastian’s Restaurant)

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaking Now

The 2015 Perseid meteor shower will peak on August 11, 12 and 13. A new moon on August 14, 2015 will create perfect conditions for watching the meteor shower.  With Bonaire’s current clear conditions, it’s looking good that we will see quite a show.

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occur every year between July 17 and August 24. The shower tends to peak around August 9-13.  The best time to view the Perseids, or most other meteor showers is when the sky is the darkest. Most astronomers suggest that depending on the Moon’s phase, the best time to view meteor showers is right before dawn.

Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus. This is because the direction, or radiant, from which the shower seems to come in the sky lies in the same direction as the constellation Perseus, which can be found in the north-eastern part of the sky.

While the skies light up several time a year by other meteor showers , the Perseids are widely sought after by astronomers and stargazers. This is because at its peak, one can see 60 to a 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.  The Perseids can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. Look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky and the zenith (the point in sky directly above you).

So exactly how does one watch a meteor shower?  First, check the weather to be sure the skies are clear.  Meteors, or shooting stars, are easy to spot, all you need is clear skies and a pair of eyes.  Next, get out of town!  Try to find a place with little light illumination for the best viewing.  Finally, prepare to wait.  Bring something to sit or lie down on. Star gazing is a waiting game, so get comfortable and enjoy!  (Source:  Timeanddate.com)

 

Antillean Wine & Food Company Hosts Another of Their Popular Wine-Tastings

Tomorrow, Saturday August 8th, will be another fine day for a wine tasting.  Bring a friend, meet new friends, or catch up with old friends at their store, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Kaya Industria 23.  Once again, Noel and Marjolein have selected six wines from their large inventory to sample, all of these from France.  Entry remains the same–only $10.00 per person, and this includes the wines and small snacks.  Come and enjoy!  (Source:  Antillean Wine & Food Company)

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