Man of War Shoal National Marine Park (Sint Maarten)

Man of War Shoal National Marine Park (Sint Maarten)

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 16:42
Posted in:

The Man of War Shoal National Marine Park is located off the southern shore of Sint Maarten. The park protects a range of habitats from globally threatened coral reefs and seagrass beds to open water. It is a sanctuary for whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and a wide array of fish.

Man of War Shoal National Marine Park

The Man of War Shoal National Marine Park, established in 2010 as the country's first legally protected area, covers 3,100 ha (7,660 acres) and is located off the southern shore of the island of Sint Maarten in an area also known as the "Proselyte Reef Complex."

The Man of War Shoal National Marine Park is now a sanctuary for whales, dolphins, numerous species of sharks, sea turtles, coral reefs and a wide array of fish.

The park is home to many types of reef fish, lobsters and the rare Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas). It also is a migratory stopover point for many marine mammals, including whales and dolphins.

The Man of War Shoal National Marine Park protects a range of habitats from globally threatened coral reefs and seagrass beds to open water. The Marine Park’s reef formations include spur and groove formations, caves and patch reefs.

Studies conducted by the St. Maarten Nature Foundation have shown that biodiversity in the park area, particularly coral reef coverage, is high. The coral reefs are diverse with coral reef pinnacles, patch reef and fringing reef.

The park is home to many types of reef fish, sea turtles, numerous species of shark, lobsters and the rare Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas). It also is a migratory stopover point for many marine mammals, including whales and dolphins.

In 2013, the first ecological assessment was conducted within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park and showed that fish populations, including butterfly fish, grunts, snappers and parrotfish, have increase by 10 to 20% since the park’s creation.

Additionally, the park includes shipwrecks and sunken artificial reefs. Proselyte Reef is the site of a Spanish Warship that sank in 1801. Artifacts such as large anchors, cannons, barrel hoops, cannon balls, and pottery are still evident on this popular Sint Maarten dive site, which is considered a marine archaeological treasure.