Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park has the core area of about 560 sq.KM from Rameswaram to Tutucorin lying within the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve covering an area of 10,500 Sq.KM. on the south-east coast of India. It covers the coast of Rameswaram, Tutucorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari. It is one of the world’s richest regions from marine bio diversity perspective and the first marine Biosphere Reserve in Southeast Asia. The Biosphere Reserve comprises 21 islands with estuaries, mudflats, beaches, forests of the near shore environment, including marine components like algal communities, sea grasses, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves. Among the Gulf’s 3600 plant and animal species, there are the globally endangered species Sea Cow (Dugong dugong) and six mangrove species endemic to peninsular India.
The inhabitants are mainly Marakeyars, a local Community principally engaged in fishing. There are about 125 villages along the coastal part of the biosphere reserve which support about 100,000 people .This coupled with dynamite fishing, machanised fishing boats, use of destructive type of fishing nets catching untargetted marine animals and corals and over harvesting of fish makes the efforts of conservation challenging here.
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