Location : Junagadh District
Attraction : Coral Reefs and Mangroves
Marine National Park is the first marine park of India. It is situated in the Gulf of Kutch, which falls under the Junagadh District of Gujarat. It was established in the year 1982 and covers an area of 162.89 sq. km. There is an archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Kutch which comes under the protected area. Marine Wildlife Sanctuary showcases the marine life of India at its best. The underwater flora and fauna of the place is completely awesome. The crystal clear water provides a dazzling site of the under water world. The park is also quite famous for its Mangroves and coral reefs.
Infact, the coral reefs of the region are the most beautiful amongst the ones found in the entire country. There are around 37 species of hard & soft corals, 70 species of sponges, 150-200 species of fishes and 27 species of prawns in the Marine National Park. Apart from this, the park is home to a number of sea creatures like sponges, turtles, snakes, water birds, sea mammals, algae and molluscs. It is for this reason that it has been included amongst the important national parks of the world by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
There is a remarkable growth of Mangroves in the area where the Marine Wildlife Sanctuary is situated. It has the ability to grow in the saline water area, where other trees do not survive. These are home for many marine creatures and coral reefs. There are some species of the Mangroves which can grow on the muddy marshes. These provide shelter to the water and shore birds. It also helps in checking soil erosion. The major flora of the park constitutes Mangroves, Saag, Sesam, Kheru, Limda, etc. The major fauna are Coral Lichen, Coral spOnge, Green Sponge, Puffer Fish, Turtles, Dolphins, etc.