Ecologically Important Areas of
Gujarat Coast

Gulf of Kachchh

 

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Gulf of Kachchh:
     
 Gulf of Kachchh, the largest coastal habitat in the West coast of India in the state of Gujarat (20║15' to 23║35' N and 60║05' to 70║22' E) is encompassing over 1000 km long shoreline covering an area of 7350 km▓. It is a shallow water body with depth extending from 60 m at the mouth to less than 20 m at the head of the Gulf. While the average depth is 30 m, the minimum depth is upto 5 m, around Lushington island. The Gulf is delimited in the north by the Kachchh region and in the south by the Saurashtra region. The Marine National Park and Marine Sanctuary are situated along the southern shore of Gulf from Okha (22║30'N, 69║00'E) and extends eastwards to the vicinity of Khijadia (22║30'N, 70║40'E). This include 42 islands and a complex of fringing reefs backed by mudflats and sandflats, coastal salt marsh and mangrove forests, sand and rocky beaches which support a great diversity of fauna and flora. The area also has many islands fringing with corals and mangroves which provide a disturbance free habitats for many species of nesting birds. Besides these islands, there are a number of wave-cuts, eroded shallow banks like the Pirothan, Deda, Donna, Sankhodhar Beyt, Paga, Adatra and Boria, which accounts for coral islands.

Fig: Ecologically Important Area in Gujarat: Gulf of Kachchh

Ecologically Important Area in Gujarat: Gulf of Kutch

        The coral formations in this area are the only living reefs between the Arabian Gulf and the Laccadives. The intertidal region is sandy and muddy or with sandstone's of vast expanse and prolonged exposure. There is a clear indication of a relative change in the levels of land and the sea in the past as is evidenced by the raised coral reef at Okha, still intact rear the railway station, as well as clays and foraminiferal limestone of Oligocene-pliocene antiquity, near Dwarka. About 100 km towards the north of the Gulf of Kachchh, is located the opening of the Indus river, discharging an annual suspended load of 435 million tones. Some of the suspended sediments are transported in a southeasterly direction into Gulf of Kachchh, where the sediments are in transit, under the action of the high velocity tidal currents.
        The spectacular Gulf of Kachchh is the home for more than 800 species of organisms; 32 hard (Scleractinia) and 12 soft (Alcyonaria) corals, 150-200 species of fishes, more than 100 species of algae, great diversity of sponges and worms, brittlestars, marine turtles and other reptiles, over 200 species of migratory and resident bird species and also the rare and endangered marine mammal, the dugong. The area of important wetland classes in Gulf of Kachchh has been described in Table 2

Table 2.  Wetland classes and its area extent of Gulf of Kachchh

Sl No
Wetland classes
Area in km▓
1
Mangrove
1307.5
2
Coral reef
406.5
3
Mud flat
1258
4
Sandy area
67.76
5
Forest
1228
6
Plantation
65.37

Species Diversity    click here

 


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