Gabon Announces World's Newest Underwater Reserve, Rich in Threatened Wildlife

The newly protected area is home to great hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and whale sharks.

SYDNEY—The central African nation of Gabon this week declared almost a quarter of its territorial sea off-limits to commercial fishing, creating a first-of-its-kind network of marine protected areas in the region, which is home to threatened species including great hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and whale sharks.

The area will cover 18,000 square miles (over 46,000 square kilometers) of ocean and will protect some of Gabon's outstanding marine life: 20 species of whales and dolphins, including humpback whales and Atlantic humpback dolphins; and four species of marine turtles, the world's largest breeding leatherback turtle population and the Atlantic Ocean's largest breeding olive ridley turtle population among them.

More than 20 species of sharks and rays live in Gabon's waters. Many of them,

DON'T MISS THE REST OF THIS STORY!
Create a free account to continue and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles, plus newsletters.

Create your free account to continue reading

No credit card required. Unlimited access to free content.
Or get a Premium Subscription to access the best of Nat Geo - just $19
SUBSCRIBE

Read This Next

'World’s worst shipwreck' was bloodier than we thought
World’s first ultrasounds of wild manta rays reveal a troubling truth
Titanic was found during secret Cold War Navy mission

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet