Saba Bank National Park

Protected Area Overview

Managed by Saba Bank Management Unit
Established 2010
Size 2,680 km2 (662,000 ac.)

The Saba Bank, situated only 5 kilometres (3 miles) off the coast of Saba, is a large offshore submerged atoll, the third largest of its kind in the world, and it is spectacularly rich in biodiversity. The total area of the actual Bank itself is around 2,200 km² (849 mi²), and the total reef area has been estimated at approximately 150 km² (58 mi²). The Bank is a flat-topped seamount rising 1,800 metres (5,905 feet) from the sea floor, crowned by a ring of growing coral reef on its fringes. The summit never reaches the water’s surface. Most of the bank lies at depths of 20 to 50 meters (66 to 164 feet), but a large area to the east lies between 10 and 20 meters (33 to 66 feet) and has extensive reef development. About one-third of the Saba Bank lies within Saban territorial waters and 1.3% within St. Eustatius’ territorial waters.

The Saba Bank National Park was established in 2010 at a massive size of 2,680 km2 (268,000 hectares) to safeguard the wealth of biodiversity on the Bank, including sea turtles, migratory Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), thousands of seabirds and more than 200 species of fish. Several new fish species and 12 new species of marine algae have been discovered on the Bank since. Considered by Conservation International to be a ‘hot spot’ of biodiversity in the Caribbean, Saba Bank is likely a source of fish and coral larvae that disperse to the coral reefs of islands in the region. Several stands of the critically endangered Staghorn Coral (Acropora cervicornis) have also been found on the Bank’s reefs.

In 2012, Saba Bank became the world’s 13th Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) with designation from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). In the past, many freighters, tankers and cruise ships passed over the Saba Bank and tankers frequently anchored on the shallow bank while waiting to unload at the St. Eustatius Oil Terminal, causing significant damage to the coral reef on the Bank, as well as to other bottom types such as conch feeding grounds. The designation by IMO as an Area To Be Avoided, together with the management of the Bank by the Saba Conservation Foundation and presence of the Coast Guard has helped diminish these practices. An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was also declared in June 2010, which includes the entire Saba Bank.

 

Park Management Organisation: Saba Bank Management Unit

The Saba Bank Management Unit (SBMU) is an independently operating organisation under the umbrella of the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF).

– more information will follow soon – 

Map

SABA-BANK-MPA

Related stories:
Saba Bank PSSA status fully implemented
Saba Bank Expedition 2010
Saba Bank Now Protected!