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Sponge transplant Salt Pier Bonaire

Press Release STINAPA

STINAPA Bonaire is collaborating with local corporations to mitigate the consequences of maintenance work to the commercial piers.

STINAPA and many volunteers are working together for the next couple of months to transplant sponges at Bonaire's piers. The objective is to move sponges growing on the pilings from construction areas (1 meter below water surface) to areas free from construction (2 meters or deeper) in an effort to safeguard the beauty and biodiversity of these sites while some much needed pier renovation is carried out.

The main growth capable of reattaching itself is almost exclusively sponges, so they are the main focus of the sponge relocation project. The sponge relocation project began with a training session and a short presentation by STINAPA biologists, giving biological information about sponge colonies and logistical information about moving them.

On the first transplantation dive, 21 divers did 26 sponge transplantation dives, mostly by volunteers and all supervised by STINAPA staff. Many of the imperiled sponges are now safely tucked under fishing line in their new locations and are expected to re-attach to the pilings within two months, at which time clean-up crews will revisit the site to remove the fishing line. Please be informed that you may see divers working on the sponges and wearing gloves. This is allowed only under strict supervision and with permission from STINAPA. Weekly sessions are scheduled along with extra training sessions and volunteers are welcome! Interested parties may send an email to to register for this.

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