M I C  n.v.  

Management & Independent Consultancy     










PortoMarea, the blue site of Plantages “PortoMari”.

Draft Objectives Marine activities Plantages PortoMari

November 20,  2001, P.Sp.












M I C  n.v.  

Management & Independent Consultancy     


                                                                                                                                                                                            Witteweg 16


DRAFT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Curaçao,  N.A.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Tel   599-9-462 1508 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Fax  599-9-462 1509

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         K.v.K.  Nr.:  60644

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               e: miccur@attglobal.net





PortoMarea, the blue site of Plantages “PortoMari”.

Draft Objectives Marine activities Plantages PortoMari

November 20,  2001, P.Sp.






Version 1, draft Nov.2001


Need grammar check/re-calc figures


Table of Contents


I.          Introduction

II.         The Reefball Research Project

III.        Snorkel Trails

IV.       Diving policy

V.        Carrying Capacity

VI.       Monitoring

VII.      Interpretation

VIII.     Volunteers

IX.       Research

X.        Other activities

XI.       Financial aspects

XII.      Summary.






A.        Reefball Research Project, the next step (summary)

B.        Snorkel Trails, the next step (summary)


I.                                Introduction



Plantages "PortoMari" is a 594 ha. coastal estate of rural land on the West Side (Band’Abou) of the island of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, between the villages of St Willebrordus and Colonia.

Plantages "PortoMari" has a rich history and is still one of the most untouched parts of the island.

The estate is owned by Egret Investments B.V., a Dutch limited liability company.

Plantages "PortoMari" will be sustainable development. This is the objective and core-business. It will imply development in harmony with the needs of nature and for the benefit of the local population, based on respect for its natural and historical heritage, the cyclical processes of nature, while at the same time strengthening and restoring instead of damaging the environment.


Plantages “PortoMari” offers facilities for marine oriented and other recreational activities.

The large beach of Playa "PortoMari" is for a day tot day basis available for public use, as well organized activities will be taken place. The smaller beach Playa “Hunku” will be used for special activities, coordinated by Plantages PortoMari (or by one of its stakeholders). Stay over activities could be applicable as well on Playa Hunku.  


The main objective of PortoMarea (blue site of Plantages PortoMari created by Foundation Plantages PortoMari & PortoMari EcoLodge) is protection and improvement of the seashore, under water and terrestrial at Plantages “PortoMari”.  To achieve this, several programs will be implicated, not only in a physical sense, but also in an educational sense to increase the awareness and knowledge about marine life in general and coral growth in particular.

PortoMarea will not be generating any profits. All its incoming funds will be spend to achieve her goal. External funding will be required.


One of the most important aspects of PortoMarea will be monitoring the whole on- and offshore activities of Plantages “PortoMari” and her stakeholders which are related to the marine life, so the limits of acceptable changes never will be crossed.


PortoMarea will consider her plans with PortoMari’s  “Blauwgroep”. This board with a varied composition of specialist in environmental (marine) tasks will on volunteer basis support PortoMarea with her knowledge and (inter-) national contacts.

To initiate PortoMarea several projects will be briefly described.

II.                              The Reefball Research Project



The objective of this project is to mimic the species diversity and population density of the original 1st reef line of PortoMari’s unique bay, as well stress release of natural Reef in the Bay of Plantages PortoMari.


The famous storm Lenny wreaked havoc on PortoMari’s shallow reef in November 1999.

Hurricane Lenny generated 6-8 foot waves on the PortoMari property.  These waves caused nearly total devastation on the natural reefs between the surface and 16 feet below the surface and significant damage to reefs between 16 and 24 feet.

The complete recovery of this reef will take many years, which prompted Plantages "PortoMari" to begin its Reefball Research Project. As well as promoting the recovery of the reef, placing reef balls at strategic locations also provides a comfortable habitat for fish.

The restoration of this reef will restore snorkelling and shallow water diving opportunities to PortoMari, but more importantly, it will preserve the critical link that shallow water reefs have in the life cycles of all the animals that inhabit the waters off PortoMari including animals in the deeper reefs.

Without restoration efforts to the shallower reef, long-term fish populations will suffer on the deeper reefs. 


The Reefball foundation/coalition with all over the world experts and experiences in using Reefballs for Reef Restoring/protection, Educational programs and PortoMari’s own expertise defined several marine projects for the bay of Plantages “PortoMari”. This concerns proved sustainable methods by using Reefballs. A profound monitor system is applicable and obligated to the used methods. By initiating a Reef protection, restoring and educational program, within sharing of all scientific as well practical data to the outside world, Plantages PortoMari will act as an example for other future developments.


Initially, 200-300 Reef Balls would make a good starting site to accommodate divers and snorkelers, but to fully restore the first Reef Line for the length of the main beach would require 600 -1200 Reef Balls.

Within the framework of the PortoMari’s Reefball Research Project approximately 100 balls are placed in the Bay of PortoMari.


PortoMarea will continue the restoration of PortoMari’s first reef line and the initiated Reefball Research Project. 

Besides Reef Restoring interpretation material will be produced for educational programs. This will be accomplished by producing audio-visual material. A video about Reef protection and the Reefball research project will be daily presented at PortoMari’s Interpretation Centre.




For the construction of the reef balls Plantages PortoMari has bought several molds of 5 different sizes.

In the beginning a small group of devoted volunteers were occupied with construction and deployment of the reef balls. Well-trained personnel supervised them or they were be trained themselves.

In practice occurred the fact that the construction hardly can be done by volunteers. Therefore PortoMari employees have been trained to perform the construction of future balls. Installing the reef balls is executable with help of volunteers.

This means funding necessary for construction material, labor and organizing a “Volunteer Reefball Day” (V.R.D.).


In attachment A are the first scheduled activities and required funds described.





III.                            Snorkel Trails



Within the framework of the Reefball Research Project and using these same reef balls, the first snorkel trail has recently been laid out at the bay of Plantages “PortoMari”.

A series of reef balls were put in place for the underwater trail. It was immediately clear that the fish were delighted to make their home in this sheltered environment.

Ten clusters of five different sized reef balls have been used for the first snorkel trail. In this way, uniquely formatted living environments are created that are suitable for the great variety of fish in PortoMari Bay.



PortoMarea is scheduling a second snorkel trail that begins at a depth of 1.5 meters at the east side of the bay.


At this depth the reef balls are more accessible to most people, even children and inexperienced swimmers, from the existing pier.


This 2nd snorkel trail will especially be used for educational programs for local young people, and also for other interested persons.


Of cause tourist can enjoy as well the trail. The carrying capacity of the first existing trail is too limited to use it for a variety of educational programs as result of its frequent current use by tourists.







         First Snorkel Trail




Although local educational efforts can be focused on the construction and monitoring of the restoration of the reef line, eco-tourists can be further educated by having in place a snorkeling trail to guide them through the Reef Ball reefs and the natural reef in a sustainable, non-damaging way.

Signs will be attached to reef balls with removable/configurable signs to "tell a story" as the snorkelers or divers are guided from entry to exit sites on the main beach (existing groins). A flyer and printed educational material will be produced to explore the snorkel trail


Besides having an educational and tourist value, the new trail contributes to enlarging biodiversity and Natural restoration of the Bays Reef. 


The objectives of the snorkel trails are: increasing educational possibilities for Reef Interpretation, stress release of natural Reef (additional advantage increasing biodiversity and reef restoring) in the Bay of Plantages PortoMari.


In attachment B are the first scheduled activities and required funds described.





IV.                           Diving policy



PortoMarea ‘s objective will be: minimize possible damage to the reef by snorkelers and divers. Therefore PortoMarea will monitor all activities of her own as well the other stakeholders (Plantages PortoMari, Porto Playa, PM Outdoor Activity Inc. etc.)


In order to keep control over the divers there will have to be a place were they should register. This will be in the Interpretation Center of Plantages PortoMari. This will help monitoring the amount of divers to establish a carrying capacity for PortoMari Bay. It is important to get a picture of what kind of divers comes to PortoMari (how many dive schools or walk inns).


For repetitive dive guest there should be the opportunity to become a member of PortoMarea.

If memberships of Plantages PortoMari are introduced a simple sticker on the membership can distinguish the diver as PortoMarea member. Also for repetitive divers who are not members the same sticker could be pasted to the entrance card.

The importance of the sticker is that it has to be 'earned' by the diver. Only when the diver has followed a briefing about the dive rules and reef protection at PortoMari they will receive a sticker. Without this sticker they are not allowed to dive from the beach (the briefing can also be on paper and read and signed by the diver). Dive schools or other organizations that come by boat should be approached and asked for their cooperation to brief their guest before entering the water.

In order to encourage the dive schools to become a member their dive instructors and dive masters can get training at PortoMari twice a year. The training will involve reef ecology and fish biology and it will be kept simple and understandable. The purpose of the training is to create awareness of the under water environment and usually understanding means respect for and protection of the reef as a result.

Dive operators that are member of PortoMarea can also be promoted on a special membership board at the Interpretation Center.

For guests of PortoMari that want to take dive lessons an instructor will be hired from one of the member dive operators yet, dive equipment for the guest will be supplied by PortoMari. The stakeholder “PM Outdoor Activity inc” will look this after.

“PM Outdoor Activity Inc” will handle all commercial activities of PortoMarea.

Discover Scuba Diving or marine education courses can be offered as well by “PM Outdoor Activity Inc.” as one of the outdoor activities. “PM Outdoor Activity Inc.”  will an appropriate share of the profit donate to PortoMarea, so PortoMarea can development more sustainable and educational activities.



V.                             Carrying Capacity



PortoMarea will avoid disturbance of nature, decrease in biodiversity and impact on visual and esthetical beauty.


The maximum carrying capacity must be determined for the beach and the reef by continuous monitoring.

Land inward activities shall be promoted to all groups of guests to increase the total capacity of Plantages “PortoMari” and avoid crowding at the beach or in the water.  These activities will be performed by “PM Outdoor Activity Inc.”.

So what is the maximum amount of guests so they can still enjoy a pleasant ambiance and nature is not disturbed?


There are a few general rules of thumb, but every beach and its ecosystem has its own specifics.

PortoMarea is going to search for its own determents and parameters to be able to determine the maximum carrying capacity.

In the beginning a practical method named “The limits of acceptable changes” will be executed. The basics in this approach are lying in monitoring and evaluating its data. After a period of time one can decide if an operation on the seashore has an impact on the environment, negative or positive and the limits of acceptable changes are reached. If the limits are crossed, immediate action has to be taken on the negative impact.




VI.                           Monitoring



Already mentioned monitoring will be very important tool to establish the carrying capacity and to determine the limits of acceptable change. The main objective is to keep track of possible changes (positive or negative) that can affect nature.


Constant monitoring of divers and other beach visitors will help determine the maximum carrying capacity and gives insight in the clientele.


The reef needs to be monitored in order to detect increase or decrease in quality.

Coral monitoring is performed and will be continued by monitoring groups of Reefcare.  Although Reefcare’s efforts, PortoMarea urge the need of a monitoring system of its own. Monitoring of reef balls will be performed by a trained group of volunteers, as well professionals for scientific research. The first year after deployment the monitoring shall be a monthly event. Later this can be done less frequently. Video recordings of the reef balls shall be made at a minimum of twice a year. The recordings can be shown on the web site for public information.

Fish populations and diversity shall also be monitored by experts and well-trained volunteers.

It is important that monitoring of the reef will be performed in a scientifically responsible way. Before starting any monitoring, a good monitoring program will be presented to the "blauwgroep" and discussed.



VII.                         Interpretation

The term Interpretation is discussed in the Business Plan PortoMari Eco-Lodge Inc.
Interpretation is fundamental to making eco-tourism sustainable. So every stakeholder within the Plantages “PortoMari” group will pay attention to it.


PortoMarea’s objective: Create public awareness to gain respect for nature, increase protection of the natural environment and promote sustainable development.


Dive/snorkel trails will encourage people to go in the water and learn about the under water environment. The snorkel trails will be environmental friendly, esthetically as well as the material it will be made of.


PortoMarea will have a permanent stand in PortoMari’s Interpretation Center. It will offer information on projects, booklets and visual material in order to educate the public.

Training and courses about the marine environment will as well be offered to professional divers and guests.


PortoMarea will provide the newsletter “Footprints”, information about marine projects, promotion of protection of the reef and other ecosystems.  Special marine-based activities will be offered periodically to involve the public.



VIII.                       Volunteers


PortoMarea, which doesn’t have a commercial interest in its operation, needs a lot of funding and volunteer labor to achieve its goal. PortoMarea will make use of volunteers. Her main objective is to create a bond with the public and to get more work done that otherwise couldn't be accomplished.


A small core group of volunteers will help with the reef ball project and several monitoring projects. During special larger events they can help organize and help recruiting more volunteers for that special event.

Volunteers will be guided by PortoMarea and supervised by one "chief" volunteer.


IX.                           Research


Plantages "PortoMari" and thought also PortoMarea is a learning organization as it is growing organically. The aim will be continuous improvement and it should learn by doing.


Through cooperation with other (international) centers of knowledge, innovation and research - and educational institutes - knowledge will be amassed and applied, and local experience will be enhanced. By creating research positions on the plantation, data will be gathered in a scientific way and education is promoted.


PortoMarea will initiate marine research projects. The available budget will determine the dimension of the yearly-performed research. Integration of students in the research projects as practical training, internship will be applicable.


In January of each year the research projects will be determined. This year may be the Coral Breed Project of Diergaarde Bijldorp could be supported, because Plantages “PortoMari” is already involved.



X.                             Other activities


PortoMarea has initiated other pending projects, such as installing a fish buoy. This project is completely funded by sponsors, in corporation with the Agriculture & Husbandry Department of Curacao.


The need of a buoy-line for Playa PortoMari is necessary. Also therefore are funds reserved by Plantages “PortoMari”.

PortoMarea could generate some funds by selling some souvenirs, Reefballs, and knowledge for commercial project.

Knowledge is as a matter of principle free for everybody, but specialize trainings will be performed by PortoMarea on cost price + profit basis. PortoMarea will need this profit to be able to execute her sustainable program.


Further the volunteer fish identification and monitoring course, which started this year by Plantages “PortoMari” will be continued by PortoMarea.


A Beach improvement program will be initiated in the near future. This will mainly concern beach protection and grow possibilities.

XI.                           Financial aspects



PortoMarea will continue search for funding to achieve her goals. If funding in the future could go beyond the necessary budget, PortoMarea will support other ecological tinted marine projects on Curaçao or nearby area.


Basically Plantages PortoMari’s profit centers should provide PortoMarea with the necessary funds.

External funding by subsides will be requested and the yearly program will be adjusted to the available budget.


A main part of the visitors of PortoMari and the future guest will take part of the marine oriented activities. Therefore to keep the bay of Plantages “PortoMari” PortoMarea as beauty as it is, Naf. 1,- (one Antillean Guilder) of the entrance fee will be donated to PortoMarea. Additional funding will be provided by subsides, other PortoMari’s profit centers or profits developed by PortoMarea’s programs.



For the year 2002 the following financial statement can be presented.



            Description                                                                                                                          Costs                         Gains


            Reefball Research Project (Attachment A)                                                            Naf.    11.300,-

            Snorkel trails (Attachment B)                                                                                   Naf.    24.300,-

            Diving Policy material (exclusive Rent Interpretation Center, excl. labor)            Naf.       6.500,-

            Carrying Capacity & Monitoring (additional)                                                         Naf.       2.500,-

            Interpretation programs                                                                                            Naf.       2.500,-

            Volunteers (V.R.D. & other organizing activities)                                      Naf.      1.500,-

            Research                                                                                                                    Naf.       4.000,-

            Labor & Management operations PortoMarea                                                     Naf.    45.000,-                    

            Rent Interpretation Center (Grant Plantages “PortoMari”)                                    Naf.              0,-                     

            Predicted entrance fee visitors                                                                                                                               Naf. 45.000,-

            Pending subsides                                                                                                                                                     Naf. 20.100,-

            Other activities, donations, gains on training or selling activities                                                                        Naf. 32.500,-


            Subtotal                                                                                                                       Naf.    97.600,-                      Naf. 97.600,-


            Total                                                                                                                            Naf.            0,-



                                                                        ( 1 US $ = Naf. 1.82)

XII.                         Summary



PortoMarea will guard over the principles of the policy of Plantages “PortoMari”, concerning the its seashore.

It will search for funding for executing its activities. The basic funding will be provided by all visitors, which will contribute with a share of Naf. 1 (one Antillean guilder) of the entrance fee to PortoMarea and her goals.


Yearly, based on the available budget PortoMarea’s activities will be scheduled and executed.


The unique marine life contributes to the profitability of the stakeholders of the development op Plantages “PortoMari”.

All stakeholders will donate a share of their profit to PortoMarea to obtain or even increase the quality of the PortoMari’s marine life and its ecosystems.


In this paper a financial statement is described. With its interpretation one can mention that if no subsides, nor other activities such as donations, gains on training or selling activities can be achieved, nor Plantages PortoMari will provide some space in the Interpretation Center for free, the stakeholders (profit centers) have to provide PortoMarea with funds.


Alternatively the mentioned activities won’t be performed or Plantages “PortoMari” will provide in the earlier stages of her development for the required funds.


Having confidence in the further development of Plantages “PortoMari” and the initiation of PortoMarea, the blue site of Plantages “PortoMari”, this paper should be used for further discussion.


So one don’t get the blues, but one going to enjoy the blue and its beauty of Plantages “PortoMari” bay PortoMarea.



PPM/MIC/P.Sp. November 20, 2001.




         Attachment   A   


Reefball Research Project, the next step (summary)




Producing and placing 100 Reefballs of different sizes (additional to other scheduled programs). Creating audio-visual material for Reef interpretation material.

Results & Sustainability

The Reefballs, which are used for Reef will be a base for coral growing and habitat for (juvenile) fish.

The Reefballs will relieve pressure from the natural Reef and are good accessible for divers and limited accessible for swimmers and snorkels. Therefore they are a fine instrument for Reef Restoring, Reef Protection, and Reef Interpretation and lastly they are a tourist attraction.


None. Above-mentioned project involves no risks. In fact if the Reefballs trail will be abandoned or neglected in the future (this is very unlikely), it still will be a contribution for nature.

Monitoring & Evaluation

PortoMarea is developing a professional monitoring system, including expertise of environmental groups. The whole marine park as well as the Reefballs will at least be monitored two times in a year on scientifically bases. Also a volunteer program is developed for monitoring and Reef interpretation. Plantages “PortoMari” will also evaluate Educational and interpretation programs at least two times a year.


Layout new Reefball locations including geographic survey              

Use Mouldings for Reefball production, including special equipment (wite-off), (Plantages PortoMari Grant):

Cement, sand/gravel, other concrete mixtures to produce the balls:            

Installing Reefballs, equipment:

Construction of Reefballs by PortoMari with 3 man labor of St. Willibrordus & specialized guides:

Audio visual material, including a monitor and video player:                               



Naf.        500,-

Naf.            0,-

Naf.     3.800,-

Naf.     1.000,-

Naf      3.500,-

Naf.     2.500,-

Naf.     2.000,- per year

Total required funds :   Naf. 11.300,- ( Naf. 7.300,- BZK subside is still pending)


Start January 1, 2002


Attachment   B



Snorkel Trails, the next step (summary)



Designing a snorkel trail.

The making of approximately 100 Reefballs of different sizes. Installing the Reefballs in the bay of Plantages PortoMari. Creating a flyer with the snorkel trails map and Reef interpretation material. 

Organising Reef Interpretation days with local youth.

Results & Sustainability

The Reefballs, which are used for the construction of the snorkel trail, will be a base for coral growing and habitat for (juvenile) fish.

The snorkel trail will relieve pressure from the natural Reef and is accessible to the general public. Therefore it is also a fine instrument for Reef interpretation and educational programs. The result will be Reef Restoring, Reef Protection, and Reef Interpretation and at last a tourist attraction.


None. Above-mentioned project involves no risks. In fact if the snorkel trail will be abandoned or neglected in the future (this is very unlikely), it still will be a contribution for nature.

Monitoring & Evaluation

Plantages “PortoMari” is developing a professional monitoring system, including expertise of environmental groups. The whole marine park as well as the snorkel trails will at least be monitored two times in a year on a scientific base. Also a volunteer program is developed for monitoring and Reef interpretation. Plantages “PortoMari” will also evaluate Educational and interpretation programs at least two times a year.


Designing snorkel trail (geo. survey):

Use Mouldings for Reefball production, including special equipment (wite-off) (Grant Plantages PortoMari):

Cement, sand/gravel, other concrete, mixtures to produce the balls:              

Installing snorkel trail, equipment:

Construction of Reefballs by PortoMari (3 man labor of St. Willibrordus+ specialized guides):

Underwater signs:

Flyer with trails map and  Reef Interpretation material:                 

Snorkel sets for local youth educational program by PortoMari NOC, only guides costs:                  

Interpretation programs:


Total required funds : Naf. 24.300,- (Naf. 12.800,- BZK subside is still pending)


Planning   :      Start January 1, 2002



Naf.    1.500,-

Naf.           0,-

Naf.    3.800,-

Naf.    1.000,-

Naf.    3.500,-

Naf.    1.500,-

Naf.    6.500,-

Naf.    3.000,-

Naf.    4.000,-

Naf.    1.000,- per year