Aruba is situated in the southern Caribbean approximately 30km north of Venezuela, on the continental shelf of South America. It is one of the so called “ABC” islands-Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Aruba was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles but has had sovereign status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1986. It has only limited reef development because it is situated on the continental shelf and has much more sand in its shallow shelf area than neighboring Bonaire and Curacao. 
The Reefs at Risk analysis suggests that all 25 sq km of reefs around Aruba are threatened by human activities. The most pervasive threats are overfishing and coastal development which were estimated to threaten all reefs, followed by marine based pollution, which was identified as a threat to about three-quarters of reefs. No threat was found from sedimentation.
From 1980 to 1982, white-band disease killed over 90 percent of the staghorn corals in shallow waters, and the disease also decreased the coral’s ability to regenerate after physical damage. Reefs on the southern and western coasts have been severely degraded by recreational uses and by various kinds of pollution, including pollution from an oil refinery.  No protected areas have been created.
 A.O. Debrot and J. Sybesma, “The Netherlands Antilles” in Seas at the Millennium: An Environmental Evaluation. Vol 1 Regional Chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. C.R.C. Sheppard, ed. (Oxford, UK: Elsevier Press, 2000), p. 597
 A. Smith et al., “Status of coral reefs in the Lesser Antilles, Western Atlantic,” in Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 1998 . C. Wilkinson, ed. (Townsville: Australian Institute of Marine Science, 1998), p. 146