Established in the early 1980s, Marine National Park was the first one of its kind in India. This 163sqkm marine park, located on the Jamnagar coast along the Gulf of Kutch, is part of a larger protected marine sanctuary.
The archipelago of 42 islands is home to a diverse range of marine habitats that support 52 species of corals, seven kinds of mangroves and species of birds such as painted stork, darter and black-necked ibis. The area is also inhabited by colonies of dolphins, green sea turtles and the endangered whale shark.
If you go snorkeling when the tide is low, you can spot giant sea anemone and shrimp hiding in its folds, more than 40 species of colourful sponges, sea cucumber, octopuses that change colour to hide from predators, puffer fish, jellyfish and a vast variety of crustaceans. You can rent a boat from Jamnagar to get to the marine park, but be sure to take into consideration changing tide timings based on the season. The best-known island is Pirotan.
About Gulf of Kutch National Park:
- It is India’s first Marine Wildlife Sanctuary and first Marine National Park which were created in the Gulf of Kutch in 1980 and 1982, respectively.
- It is an archipelago of 42 tropical islands along the northern coast of Jamnagar district and the southern coast of Kutch.
- Some of the finest coral reef fringe islands are found at Pirotan, Narala, Ajad and Positara, with species of hard and soft coral.
- Fauna: There are 7 species of mangrove which are breeding grounds for colonies of near-threatened species of birds such as the Painted Stork, Darter and Black-necked Ibis. Endangered Sea Turtles like the Green Sea, Oliver Riddley & Leather Back can also be found here.
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