The Saba National Marine Park

Saba is blessed with an abundance of fish in the Marine Park. This is the result of restrictions on fishing, anchoring and extensive diver education as to the rules and regulations. One dramatic indication of this is the large number of Nassau Grouper (Graysbys, Hinds, Coneys) that can be seen on every dive. Ecological surveys have recorded over 150 species, all with healthy populations. Some of the most common pelagic fish include Horse-eye Jacks, Great Barracuda, Wahoo, Tarpon and 5 species of shark. Schooling fish include Wrasses, Blue Tangs, Chromis and Surgeonfish. On almost every dive, Parrotfish, Triggerfish, Angelfish, Snapper and Grunts can be seen in abundance. In sandy areas, Lizardfish, Sand Divers, Flying Gurnards and Garden Eels predominate.

True reefs are only found at a few locations within the Marine Park. The vast majority of coral structures can be categorized as “coral encrusted boulders”. These boulders are volcanic in origin and generally originate from the hillsides along the coast. Both hard and soft corals and sponges cover the boulders to such a degree that the rock is often not visible. The Pinnacles are coral encrusted volcanic structures rising out of the sea floor 100m (330ft) below. Gorgonians, Sea Fans and Barrel and Chimney Sponges are abundant everywhere. Elkhorn colonies can be found at sites east of the harbor.

Coral reefs are very important for humankind from an economic, scientific, and recreational point of view. They act as a valuable food source for millions of people, a protector of land, a dwelling place for thousands of marine organisms and a naturalist’s paradise.

In recent years, coral reefs have suffered a dramatic decline around the world. About 20% may already have been degraded beyond recovery. Unless an effective management system is implemented, it has been predicted that more than two-thirds of the world’s coral reefs may collapse ecologically within this century. Increased awareness of the importance of conservation activities will become an urgent priority to ensure the safety of such an extraordinary marine resource.

Due to protection of their food sources within the Marine Park, both Green and Hawksbill Turtles thrive around Saba. Provided that divers approach slowly, the turtles will continue to feed while having their picture taken. With restrictions on fishing, Conch, Lobster and a variety of Crabs can be observed on every dive.

In addition to the creatures described above, you may be fortunate enough to spend time with some regular visitors to Saba. These include Hammerhead and Whale Sharks, Manta and Spotted Eagle Rays, Longsnout Seahorses and Frog Fish. During winter months, you can sometimes hear whales singing to each other or you may even see them breaching.