Gulf of Mannar

Gulf of Mannar
Gulf of Mannar
Coordinates 8°28′N 79°01′E / 8.47°N 79.02°E / 8.47; 79.02Coordinates: 8°28′N 79°01′E / 8.47°N 79.02°E / 8.47; 79.02
Basin countries India, Sri Lanka
Max. length 160 km (99 mi)
Max. width 130–275 km (81–171 mi)
Average depth 1,335 m (4,380 ft)
References [1][2]

The Gulf of Mannar (Sinhala: මන්නාරමි ‌බොක්ක Tamil: மன்னார் வளைகுடா) is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It lies between the southeastern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka. A chain of low islands and reefs known as Adam's Bridge, also called Ramsethu, which includes Mannar Island, separates the Gulf of Mannar from Palk Bay, which lies to the north between India and Sri Lanka. The Thamirabarani River of south India and the Aruvi Aru of Sri Lanka drain into the Gulf.


Marine sanctuary

Located on the southeastern tip of the subcontinent, the Gulf of Mannar is known to harbour over 3,600 species of flora and fauna, making it one of the richest coastal regions in Asia. 117 hard coral species have been recorded in the Gulf of Mannar. Sea turtles are frequent visitors to the gulf as are sacred sharks, dugongs, and dolphins. However, the combined effects of 47 villages, with a total population of around 50,000 has meant that overharvesting of marine species has become a problem. Fish catches have declined, as have pearl oyster, gorgonian coral, and acorn worm populations. Local fishermen rely on the reef to feed their families, but destructive fishing methods combined with the stress of pollution and coral mining have meant both nearshore and offshore catches have decreased. Endangered species include dolphins, dugongs, whales and sea cucumbers.[1]


In 1986, a group of 21 islets lying off the Tamil Nadu coast between Thoothukudi and Dhanushkodi were declared the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. The park and its 10 km buffer zone were declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1989.

The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 10,500 km² of ocean, islands and the adjoining coastline. The islets and coastal buffer zone includes beaches, estuaries, and tropical dry broadleaf forests, while the marine environments include seaweed communities, sea grass communities, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangrove forests.[3]

Marine activities

Pearl fishing in the Gulf of Mannar, ca. 1926

The Gulf of Mannar is known for its pearl banks of Pinctada radiata and Pinctada fucata for at least two thousand years. Pliny the Elder (23–79) praised the pearl fishery of the gulf as most productive in the world.[4][5][6] Although extraction of natural pearls is considered too expensive in most parts of the world, it is still conducted in the gulf.[7]

The chief seaports on the Gulf of Mannar are Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu, and Colombo in Sri Lanka. While these ports can accommodate deep-draft vessels, the shallow Palk Strait can only accommodate small shallow-draft vessels. In July 2005, the Indian Government took preliminary steps to go ahead with the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, which would create a deep channel linking the Gulf of Mannar to the Bay of Bengal. Project boosters emphasize the benefits of a direct shipping route that connects India's east and west coasts without the long trip around Sri Lanka; environmentalists have warned against the grave damage such a project could cause to the sea life and fisheries of the Palk Strait and the Gulf.


  1. ^ a b J. Sacratees, R. Karthigarani (2008). Environment impact assessment. APH Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 8131304078. 
  2. ^ Gulf of Mannar, Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian)
  3. ^ UNDP Project brief: "Conservation and Sustainable-use of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve's Coastal Biodiversity", New York, 1994 UNDP Project Brief
  4. ^ R. Raghu Prasad and P. V. Ramachandran Nair (1973). "India and the Indian Ocean Fisheries". Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India 15: 1–19. 
  5. ^ Arnold Wright (1999). Twentieth century impressions of Ceylon: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. p. 227. ISBN 812061335X. 
  6. ^ James Hornell (2009). The Indian Pearl Fisheries of the Gulf of Manar and Palk Bay. BiblioBazaar. p. 6. ISBN 1110870965. 
  7. ^ Michael O'Donoghue (2006). Gems: their sources, descriptions and identification. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 566. ISBN 0750658568. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park — Infobox Indian Jurisdiction type = national park native name = Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park other name = iucn category = II state name = Tamil Nadu location = Indian Ocean district = Thoothukudi Ramanathapuram nearest city = Madurai 150 km …   Wikipedia

  • Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park — Parc national marin du Golfe de Mannar Le Parc national marin du Golfe de Mannar est situé dans l État du Tamil Nadu en Inde. Liens externes (en) Fiche du parc sur le site UNEP WCMC Parcs nationaux de l Inde …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mannar — may refer to: Mannar, Alappuzha, a town in Alappuzha district, Kerala, India Mannar, Kaduthuruthy,a town in Kottayam district, Kerala, India Mannar, Sri Lanka, a town in northern Sri Lanka Mannar District, a district in Sri Lanka Mannar Electoral …   Wikipedia

  • Mannar District — This article is about the district in Sri Lanka. For the town, see Mannar, Sri Lanka. Mannar District மன்னார் மாவட்டம் මන්නාරම දිස්ත්‍රික්කය   Administrative District   …   Wikipedia

  • Mannar, Gulf of — ▪ gulf, Indian Ocean       inlet of the Indian Ocean, between southeastern India and western Sri Lanka. It is bounded to the northeast by Rameswaram (island), Adam s (Rama s) Bridge (a chain of shoals), and Mannar Island. The gulf is 80–170 miles …   Universalium

  • Mannar,Gulf of — Man·nar (mə närʹ), Gulf of An inlet of the Indian Ocean between southern India and Sri Lanka. It has important pearl fisheries. * * * …   Universalium

  • Mannar — /meuh nahr /, n. Gulf of, an inlet of the Indian Ocean, bounded by W Sri Lanka, the island chain of Adam s Bridge, and S India. * * * …   Universalium

  • Mannar — Man•nar [[t]məˈnɑr[/t]] n. geg Gulf of, an inlet of the Indian Ocean bounded by W Sri Lanka, the island chain of Adam s Bridge, and S India …   From formal English to slang

  • Mannar — /ˈmænə/ (say manuh) noun Gulf of, the part of the Indian Ocean between south eastern India and the island of Sri Lanka …   Australian English dictionary

  • Mannar — /meuh nahr /, n. Gulf of, an inlet of the Indian Ocean, bounded by W Sri Lanka, the island chain of Adam s Bridge, and S India …   Useful english dictionary

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