St. Maarten Marine Park
The St. Maarten Marine Park surrounds the entire Dutch side from Oyster Pond to Cupecoy Bay, stretching from the coastal waters and the beaches to the 200 foot depth range. For now, some of the Marine Park activities will be concentrated on the east where the dive sites Molly Beday, Pelican Rock, Hen and Chicks, and Cow and calf as well as the Proselyte area are located. These areas embody some of the last pristine marine locations on the island, where excellent diving and breeding grounds for birds, fish and other marine life can be encountered. To ensure our waters are used most effectively, the Marine Park is divided into different zones, some with restrictions on certain activities.
The Marine Park features some 28 dive sites that include natural and man-made reefs as well a few ship wrecks. Proselyte reef is a wonderful example of a historical wreck with artifacts.
Within the conservation zone lie pristine coral reefs, particularly around the four islets Molly Beday, Pelican Rock, Cow and calf and Hen and chicks. Pelican Rock is recognized by Bird Life International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) for resident and migratory birds including the Audubon's Shearwater and the national Brown pelican.
Marine life around our reefs include blue crabs; banded coral shrimp; spiny lobsters; Queen Conch & helmet conchs; Triton's trumpets; long spined urchins; fireworms; sponges & cushion sea stars; porcupine fish; barracudas; a spotted & plumed moray eels; spotted & plumed scorpion fish; long lured frog fish; nurse sharks; a wide variety of tropical fish; sea horses; and dolphins. In recent years there has been an increase in foraging Hawksbill and Green sea turtles and the occasional Loggerhead as well that feed on the sea grass beds and sponges.