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Welcome to the premiere issue of our new monthly publication. In this month's issue:

Visiting Marine Biologists Rate Saba Marine Park At Top...

Mild Winter Yields Great Saba Diving...

El Nino... What is it?

Fish Docs Rank Saba At Top!
What, Me Worry?

FORT BAY, SABA --- Dr. Callum Roberts and Julie Hawkins are on Saba for 3 weeks conducting their annual fish and coral survey. Dr. Roberts is well  respected throughout the world and considered to be an expert in the field of marine reserve design. His wife Julie is also a marine biologist, and together they hold posts as a professor and research associate at York University in the United Kingdom. After their arrival on Saba, we asked Dr. Roberts whether the unusually mild winter we've experienced on Saba can be attributed to El Nino or some other phenomenon. We hope Dr. Roberts and Ms. Hawkins will have more conclusive information regarding our recent weather and its effects on the Saba Marine Park's reefs by the time they depart. However, the main emphasis of their study lies in the comparison of the fish stock in our protected areas versus those of the fished or multi-purpose zones.

As explained by Dr. Roberts, the long term effects of reef protection become more visible each year. Most reef fish are territorial and display a tendency to stay put in the areas of their birth. The volume of fish in a given area greatly depends not only on the number of fish inhabiting the reef, but also their size. Through sustained reef protection efforts such as those of the Saba Marine Park, fish grow larger. In turn, larger fish produce exponentially more eggs insuring a greater survival of the species. For example, one 10 kilogram snapper produces more than 200 times the eggs than a 1 kilogram snapper will --- so much for the argument against putting all your eggs in one basket!

Callum and Julie have been studying Saba's fish stock since 1991 and consistently find Saba’s reefs increasing in the number of fish, larger sizes and more species each year. "Saba’s fish populations are now among the largest in the Caribbean, and a reflection of the protection afforded by the Saba Marine Park."  If you are already a Friend of the Saba Marine Park, look for future updates in your regular newsletters. If you’re not an official Friend but are interested in becoming one, you may contact Saba’s Marine Park Director, Mr. David Kooistra, at smp@megatropic.com for more information.

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