Paul Hoetjes

First name: 


Last name: 



Paul Hoetjes represents the Dutch Caribbean in the Netbiome-CSA partnership, he was also a member of the executive board of the previous Netbiome ERAnet.

He is a marine biologist and environmental policy advisor. He spent his early years as a young child in the former Dutch New Guinea (Now West-Papua), until his family moved to Curacao, in the Dutch Caribbean, when he was six years old and where he subsequently grew up. He currently lives on Bonaire, where he works for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs as nature policy coordinator for the Caribbean Netherlands

Paul studied biology at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands where he got his MSc. After returning to Curaçao to work as curator at the island’s sea aquarium, he became active in coral reef conservation. With a few other concerned people he established the Reef Care Curacao Foundation, which he chaired for five years.

‘I’m a keen scuba diver and I could see the reefs around the island deteriorating practically in front of my eyes,’ he says. ‘For a number of years, I concentrated on teaching people about the problem and raising awareness. But I knew we needed to do more.’

In 1998 he began working for the Department of Nature and the Environment of the Netherlands Antilles. He was central to the development of a nature policy plan for the islands and to the creation of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) –  uniting the land and marine parks in an effective protected area network on all six islands in the Dutch Antilles. He was instrumental in getting protection for the Saba Bank, a marine area rich in biodiversity, which is now a national park.

After the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010, Paul moved to Bonaire to work for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs as nature policy coordinator for the Caribbean Netherlands (the islands of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius), based out of Bonaire, where he now oversees the management of the Saba Bank National Park. As in his previous job, he represents the islands in regional biodiversity agreements such as the Inter-American Sea Turtle Convention and the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol of the Wider Caribbean where he plays an active role. He is also involved in the Caribbean activities of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), particpating in the steering group of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network's Caribbean initiative. He is active in a regional network of marine mammal sanctuaries and worked to establish the 'Yarari' Marine Mammal & Shark Sanctuary in the waters of the Caribbean Netherlands in 2015. He is secretary of the Committee for the joint management of the biodiversity and fisheries resources of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Dutch Caribbean. He continues to work closely with DCNA and the various islands' conservation organizations

Main field of expertise: 

Marine Conservation

Specialized in: 

Conservation policy
International cooperation/research

Geographic region: 


Name of organisation: 

Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, Office for the Caribbean Netherlands

Type of organisation: 

Governmental/public administration

Main project your organisation is involved with, in relation to (sub)tropical biodiversity: 

Management of biodiversity and fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Caribbean Netherlands and management of the Saba Bank National Park. Implementaton of the Nature Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands.

Good practices your organisation could share on tropical and subtropical sustainable biodiversity management: 


Management of Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries


Jointly manage the marine resources of the waters of all six Dutch Caribbean islands.

Methodology implemented: 

A committee of representatives of the islands and the Dutch government advise the island governments and the Dutch government on all aspects of sustainable management of marine biodiversity and fisheries, inlcuding the management of the Yarari Marine Mammal & Shark Sanctuary and the management of the Saba Bank National Park.

The Comittee works based on a EEZ Management Plan and the Saba Bank also has a Management Plan. The committee is currently working on a Plan of Action for the Yarari Sanctuary

Existing results: 

EEZ Management Plan

Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary



Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database - DCBD


Provide stroage and accesiblity for all biodiversity information and monitoring data of the Dutch Caribbean

Methodology implemented: 

Website to store the data and make them accessible. inlcudes GIS maps, publications, reports, and a variety of monitoring data, from coral reefs to sea turtles and flamingos

The website now also holds the biodiversity toolbox of Netbiome-CSA

Existing results: 


large and still growing archive of publications, maps, and monitoring data

Good practice & policies your organisation suggests/desires on (sub) tropical biodiversity management.: 


Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance


Strengthen capacity and effectiveness of protected area management organizations in the Dutch Caribbean

Methodology implemented: 

A network of protected areas united in an umbrella organization including also species conservation organizations, with an active Secretariat to initiate and coordinate activities such as training, exchange of expertise, joint conservation projects and building a trustfund for sustainable financing of protected area management.

Existing results: 


Secretariat with currently three staff

two meetings uniting all member organizations per year

At least two training workshops per year

Many joint conservation projects including bird conservation, mangemetn planning, sea turtle conservation, conch restoration, shark conservation and nature educaton

If involved in policy formulation / implementation, name policy related to your local policy in (sub)tropical biodiversity: 

Nature Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands:  download here: