The Ocean Heritage Foundation

The marine environment needs to be protected and safeguarded. To protect this ecosystem, more understanding needs to be gained about the marine environment. Research and documentation therefore are important factors if we want to preserve the oceans and marine life. The Ocean Heritage Foundation want to be instrumental in acquiring the funds to finance the necessary research.

Our goal is clear: The Ocean Heritage Foundation wants to work towards the promotion of oceanic scientific research by acting as a link between researchers and financial institutions. Informing the public about the riches of the oceans, keeping an eye on the state of the oceans and marine life, developing ideas to protect and preserve the marine environment and use whatever can be discovered ‘down deep’ to better mankind’s life and future.


Curaçao research centre and the Curasub submersible

Curaçao is the perfect place for marine research. The reefs are considered to be some of the best the Caribbean basin has to offer. The island is located outside of the hurricane belt and the weather is perfect making Curaçao the ideal base for the research vessel Chapman and the Curasub submersible. Together they can travel to any desired destination and dive to the ocean floor where deep reefs can be studied.

Since the Substation Curaçao’s submarine and the research vessel Chapman started their operation, several institutions and organizations have become interested in this operation and the opportunities they represent. Our aim is to expand our activities and worldwide get more entities to make use of our facilities.


Natural discoveries

In 25 dives, the submarine has inventorised 90 fish species, of which 25% are new to science. In the field of invertebrates, shells and other marine life, researchers have also reported unexpected finds. They discovered for instance that slit shells that were believed to be fossils, still contained snails and were therefore very much alive. The discovery furthermore led to study of the neurotoxin fluid that the snail secretes to ward of predators. There is a distinct possibility that in future this fluid can play a role as an anesthetically important product.


Archeological findings

At a depth of about 300 meters the crew of the submarine encountered over half of dozen torpedoes dating back to WWII. It is believed that these were training torpedoes that could not be detonated. Although they do not pose a threat to marine traffic, the (naval) authorities were informed of the find. On Bonaire the submarine crew discovered an ancient Spanish olive oil amphora and several old gin bottles. According to archeological experts the jar probably goes back to the year 1780. All finds, including the discoveries that are left untouched, are photographed and filmed.


Extensive database

The Ocean Heritage Foundation has created a database to secure acknowledgment in scientific papers. The foundation, the Curaçao Seaquarium and Substation will also start to figure and contribute in the world of marine science. The database will allow for effective documenting as well as safe archiving of scientific results an will be available for online access later this year.


“We must present a united project where we use the maximum capabilities – talents and assets – to create a real important Research Centre with all permits, documentation and a well-educated staff. Only high quality dedicated people can create what we seek to become”.

Adrian ‘Dutch’ Schrier

Reports and Publications

Defining and Dividing the Greater Caribbean: Insights from the Biogeography of Shorefishes

D. Ross Robertson, Katie L. Cramer

Connectivity across the Caribbean Sea: DNA Barcoding and Morphology Unite an Enigmatic Fish Larva from the Florida Straits with a New Species of Sea Bass from Deep Reefs off Curçao.

Carole C. Baldwin, G. David Johnson – May 2014

A new Liopropoma sea bass (Serranidae, Epinephelinae, Liopropomini) from deep reefs off Curaçao, southern Caribbean, with comments on depth distributions of western Atlantic liopropomins

Carole C. Baldwin, D. Ross Robertson – May 2014