The Regional Activity Centre for the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife for the Wider Caribbean Region
Caribbean Environment Program
DEAL Guadeloupe
United Nations Environment Programme
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Protected areas

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There are currently 32 protected areas registered under the SPAW Protocol which contribute significantly to the conservation of marine and coastal biological diversity in the Caribbean. A few examples illustrate this:

  • The Everglades National Park, the largest breeding site for tropical scald birds in North America, contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Bonaire National Marine Park covers 2,700 hectares of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove ecosystems with 50 species of stony corals and more than 350 species of reef fish.
  • Cuba’s Guanahacabibes National Park contains floral treasures (125 species of wood, 146 medicinal species and 132 species of honey) and many species on the IUCN Red List or the SPAW Annexes.
  • The Agoa sanctuary, located in the French West Indies, covers an area of ​​59,000,000 km². Its aim is to ensure the conservation of marine mammals as part of a harmonious coexistence with human activities.

In 2012, eighteen (18) protected areas in the Caribbean were listed in the Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife, Protocol to the Cartagena Convention, which is part of the United Nations Environment Program. (UNEP)

  • in Belize: Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve,
  • in Colombia: the Grand Santuario Ciénaga de Santa Marta and the Seaflower Marine Protected Area in the Archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia,
  • in France: the Gran Condestable Island Nature Reserve (French Guyana) and the Guadalupe National Park,
  • in the Netherlands: the Bonaire National Marine Park and the Quill and Boven National Park in San Eustache,
  • in the United States: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The Eighth Meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP8) to the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Spaces in the Greater Caribbean Region was held in Cartagena, Colombia on 9 December 2014. Thirteen (13) Protected Areas in Accordance with the SPAW Protocol have been approved by the Parties, bringing to 31 the number of protected areas registered in accordance with the Protocol. The newly cataloged sites were:

  • in Colombia: the regional natural wetland park located between the rivers León and Suriquí;
  • in the Kingdom of the Netherlands: the Saba National Marine Park, the Saint Eustatius National Marine National Park and the Man O War Shoal Marine Park (Sint Maarten);
  • in France: Etang des Salines reserve and North slopes of Mount Pelée in Martinique,
  • Belize: Port Honduras Marine Reserve,
  • Dominican Republic: La Caleta Submarine Park, Jaragua National Park, Los Haitises National Park and Sierra de Bahoruco National Park,
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Tobago Cays Marine Park,
  • Grenade: Book Molinière-Beauséjour.

COP9 approved the designation of "Cayo de San Felipe National Park", proposed by the Cuban government, as the thirty-second protected area.
This protected area, created in 2010, covers an area of ​​26,250 hectares, comprising 24,209 hectares of marine area.