The park was established because of the marine bio-diversity it supports, because it is on a migratory route for protected animals and because it is of high economic value for fisheries and tourism. There are over 20,000 residents in the area who depend on the natural resources of the park. The fear was that if the area was uncontrolled then over-fishing, destructive fishing practices and unchecked pollution would ruin the marine habitat which would be to the detriment of everyone concerned.
The park has a unique bathymetry, which is an attraction to tourists scuba diving at Bunaken Island. The absence of a continental shelf in the northern part of North Sulawesi allows the coastal area to drop directly down to the sea floor.