Paul Hoetjes, was the DCNA board representative for the Department of Nature and the Environment of the central government of the Dutch Antilles.
A government environmental policy advisor, he moved to Curaçao from Indonesia with his family as a young child and says he now considers himself ‘a native.’ He lives on Bonaire with his wife Mieke.
Paul gained a biology degree at university in Holland and became active in a coral reef conservation NGO shortly after returning to Curaçao to work in the island’s sea aquarium.
‘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.’
Paul got his chance when he began working for the Department of Nature and the Environment. He was central to the creation of the DCNA – working with the other members of the board to establish a trust fund, based on grants from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, to provide long-term financial stability for the land and marine parks on all six islands in the Dutch Antilles.
Paul now works for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and remains strongly committed to DCNA’s goals.