How the Netherlands protects its coral

How should the Netherlands treat its recently acquired scenic marine beauty, with its hundred of kilometres of coral where fishermen earn a living? The Exclusive Economic Zone serves as both an economic tool and a way of protecting biodiversity.

By Baud Schoenmaeckers

There was never an EEZ, an Exclusive Economic Zone in the area of the former Netherlands Antilles. "But this is both necessary and a wish voiced by the islands", says Ton Akkerman of the Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation. The EEZ has been set up to guarantee the sustainable development of the marine areas around the new Dutch municipalities of Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius (Statia). This is necessary because these islands have given the Netherlands the task of managing some of the world's most beautiful but vulnerable nature areas; marine parks where thousands of species of fish, crabs and crustaceans find their food amid colourfully swaying coral. Activities clash in this area with its rich biodiversity: people fish, recreational activities take place, the corals are the spawning grounds for various kinds of fish and oil tankers anchor here. The results are pollution, destruction and wildlife extinction (...)

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