An eel slithers through coral patches off an oil platform in Gabon.
New Ocean Reserve, Largest in Africa, Protects Whales and Turtles
Gabon’s announcement also restricts overfishing and may help with climate resilience.
The central African nation of Gabon announced Monday the creation of Africa’s largest network of marine protected areas, home to a diverse array of threatened marine life, including the largest breeding populations of leatherback and olive ridley sea turtles and 20 species of dolphins and whales.
The network of 20 marine parks and aquatic reserves will protect 26 percent of Gabon’s territorial seas and extend across 20,500 square miles (53,000 square kilometers). In creating the protected areas, the Gabon government also set up what scientists call the most sustainable fisheries management plan for West Africa—an area long known for rampant overfishing and abuses by foreign fleets. Separate zones have been established for commercial and artisanal fishing fleets, in an effort to