Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

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The Director of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park recently bagged Unesco’s Michel Batisse Award for 2023.

About Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park:

  • Designated as a Biosphere Reserve, the Gulf of Mannar is one of the biologically richest coastal regions in all of mainland of India.
  • It is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in the South and South East Asia.
  • Location: It is located 160 km between Dhanushkodi and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.
  • This Marine Biosphere Reserve encompasses a chain of 21 islands (2 islands already submerged) and adjoining coral reefs off the coasts .
  • Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, established in 1980, boasts three surreal aquatic ecosystemsmangroves, seagrass, and coral reef. 
  • Flora:
    • The intertidal areas are dominated by mangroves belonging to the Rhizophora, Avicennia, Bruguiera genus.
    • Seagrass is another prolific species, about 12 species exist here.
    • About 150 species of seaweeds to are found in the waters. There is one endemic plant, a flowering herb called Pemphis acidula on the parklands. 
  • Fauna:
    • Dugong, an endangered marine mammal, is the main attraction of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.
    • It has recorded some 117 species of hard Coral. It is home to different vulnerable whales like humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales, etc.


Q1) What is Dugong?

The dugong is the only marine herbivorous mammal, depending largely on seagrass for food. The dugong’s range extends to over 40 countries from East Africa to the Pacific. Australia is home to the largest remaining population of dugongs.

Source: Unesco award for Gulf of Mannar park chief