Bangladesh has created its first marine protected area that will now safeguard whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other oceanic species.
Bordering the territorial waters of India, the Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area (SoNG MPA) spans some 672 square miles (1,738 square kilometres and is more than 900 meters deep.
The waters are home to large numbers of Irrawaddy Dolphins, Finless Porpoises, Pacific Humpback Dolphins, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, and what may be a resident population of Bryde’s Whales.
“The SoNG MPA supports an astonishing diversity of dolphins, porpoises and whales including species in need of immediate protection,” said Rubaiyat Mansur of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project.
“Declaration of Bangladesh’s first Marine Protected Area shows our country’s commitment to saving its natural resources and wonders.”
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project has worked along with the Government of Bangladesh since 2004 to ensure the long-term protection of the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) in waters of Bangladesh through collaborative efforts with local communities.
“Marine protected areas that conserve cetaceans and other marine life are extremely important steps in saving vital marine ecosystems that support hundreds of thousands of people,” said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ocean Giants Program. “Safeguarding these species and natural resources will become even more important in the years to come, particularly due to the challenges of climate change.”