Gabon announces Africa’s largest network of marine protected areas

On Monday of this week the central African country of Gabon announced a network of 20 marine parks and protected reserves. More than a quarter of Gabon’s coast will be protected, stretching for a collective total of 20,500 square miles. Although not much of Gabon’s waters have been explored, what is known is that it is home to the world’s largest breeding populations of Leatherback and Olive Ridley sea turtles.

In 2012, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Waitt Foundation, the Gabonese National Parks Agency, and National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project, surveyed Gabon’s coastal waters. Together they presented their findings to Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who decided to importance on setting up the marine protected areas and regulated fishing areas.

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