Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch
Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch is situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Kachchh in the Devbhumi Dwarka District of Gujarat state, India.
In 1980, an area of 270 km2. from Okha to Jodiya was declared Marine Sanctuary. Later, in 1982, a core area of 110 km2 was declared Marine National Park under the provisions of the Wildlife (protection) Act, 1972 of India. There are 42 islands on the Jamnagar coast in the Marine National Park, most of them surrounded by reefs. The best known island is Pirotan.
The fauna found here include: 70 species of sponges are found. Coral 52 species including 42 species of hard coral and 10 species of soft coral. Jellyfish, Portuguese man of war and sea anemones are other coelentrates found here. Arthropods include 27 species of prawns, 30 species of crabs, lobsters, shrimps and other crustaceans. Molluscs like pearl oysters and sea slugs are present. Octopus which change colour are also found. Echinoderms like starfish, sea cucumbers and sea urchins are present. The fishes found are puffer fishes, sea horse, sting ray, mudskippers and whale sharks which are an endangered species. Endangered sea turtles such as green sea turtles, olive ridleys and leatherbacks are seen here. There are three species of sea snakes. There are dugongs and smaller cetaceans like finless porpoises, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.Larger whales such as blue whales, sei whales are seen.Humpback whales, and sperm whales may have been almost wiped out due to illegal whaling by the Soviet Union and Japan. Whale sharks can be found in deeper areas.A surprisingly large scale greater flamingo colony, reaching up to 20,000 nests is known to occur along the gulf. There are 42 islands in the Arabian Sea with coral reefs and the park is situated in one of those.