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Coral Gardens

Bar reef Sanctuary –Kalpitiya Peninsula

  Province North Western
  District Puttalam
  Nearest Town Puttalam
  Type of the Coral reef Bar reef
  Total Area 306.7 km2
  Average depth -
  Established -
  Governing body -
 

The Bar Reef is a system of coral reefs just offshore from Sri Lanka’s Kalpitiya peninsula. It has the greatest biodiversity of any coral reef in the waters around India and is one of the few pristine coral reef systems in Sri Lanka.

It is a complex of reefs which stretch parallel to the coast from the northern end of the Kalpitiya peninsula to the islands which separate Portugal Bay from the Gulf of Mannar. It has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 156 species of coral and 283 species of fish.The Bar Reef was declared a marine santuary in 1992, the area of the reserve being 306.7 square km.

The Bar Reef was declared part of a Special Management Area (SAM) composed of the northern part of the Kalpitiya peninsula and the islands in Portugal Bay; all areas where human activity impinges directly on the welfare of the reef ecosystem.

The threats to the ecosystem of the Bar Reef were identified as over-exploitation of fish resources (there is an observable decline in the number of fish), unsuitable fishing methods (such as deep purse-seining, which damage the coral and deplete fish resources) and pollution from human activities (prawn farms and agriculture).