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Jordan establishes its first marine reserve in the Gulf of Aqaba

On December 13, the Jordanian Ministry of Environment announced the establishment of the first marine reserve in Jordan in the Aqaba region, in order to contribute to preserving the biodiversity of its coast, in which biological species live, some of which have become threatened with extinction.

The area of ​​this reserve is about 2.45 square kilometers, with a beach stretching about 7 km out of 27 km, and it extends from the north of the boundaries of the marine science station (south of the passenger port) to the Public Security Officers Club in the south, an area that represents approximately 2.6% of The total area of ​​Jordan’s water.

Limited and open beach Vahid

The Gulf of Aqaba is the only maritime outlet for Jordan on the Red Sea, and although its coastline reaches 160 km, Jordan has about 27 km of it. Therefore, it is experiencing intense activity, especially in terms of economy and tourism.

According to the expert in environmental sciences, the Jordanian Omar Muhammad al-Shushan, the Jordanian coast, despite its limitations, knows many activities such as crossing ships, fishing and tourism, which makes protecting a part of it that includes marine species very important.

“The establishment of this marine reserve represents a great opportunity to be listed among the environmentally important areas by the International Union for Conservation of Nature,” our interlocutor added in a telephone statement. The step also confirms Jordan’s commitment to international agreements concerned with protecting the marine environment in general.

For his part, the former director of the Royal Society for the Protection of the Marine Environment in Jordan, Ihab Eid, said in a telephone statement to Al-Jazeera Net, “The region has been classified within one of the 200 most important environmental areas in the world by the Global Environment Fund, and this will allow us to protect it from all risks that It may affect it in the future. “

The reserve contains approximately 176 species of coral (Ihab Eid).

An area rich in biodiversity

The new Jordan Marine Reserve is considered one of the most important areas of biodiversity in the region, as it has intermittent coral reefs close to the shore, extending over a distance of 13 km.

Omar Muhammad Al-Shushan said, “The reserve contains 157 types of hardened corals, one type of tube coral, and 3 types of fire coral, and 15 types of them are only found in the region.

There are also 18 genera of benthic algae, 3 species of seaweed and 507 species of fish belonging to 109 families, and 3 species of turtle, of which the hawksbill turtle is the most widespread. There are also two endangered giant clam species, 72 sponges and 645 mollusks living in the reserve. “

Ihab Eid said that scientific studies have proven the ability of the coral in the Gulf of Aqaba to cope with climate changes, which means that its protection will ensure the preservation of a very important genetic repository that may have a major role in supporting restoration programs at the national, regional and international levels.

Ihab Eid said, “There are many extinct species in the region, such as the pattan whale and the hawksbill turtle, and by establishing this reserve we will provide the necessary measures to protect it from disappearing. In the future, protection programs and research projects will be launched to expand our scientific knowledge, and work will also be done at the level of awareness and environmental education.” “.

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