KARACHI: The Astola Island, an island famous for its scenic beauty, has been designated as Pakistan’s first ever Marine Protected Area (MPA) under Convention on Biological Diversity on Thursday.
Covering an area of about 400 square kilometres, Astola Island is located about 39 kilometres east of Pasni, Balochistan and is considered the largest island along the coast of Pakistan.
Through a notification, issued on Thursday, the government of Balochistan declared Astola Island as the first dedicated marine protected area in the country.
Pakistan has different protected areas such as 26 national parks across the country, 72 wildlife sanctuaries, 66 game reserves, 19 Ramsar protected wetlands, 9 littoral protected areas and 2 biosphere reserves, which are recognised by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
But declaring Astola Island as first ever Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Pakistan is the biggest news in the nature conservation.
Astola Island was declared as Marine Protected Area under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to which Pakistan is a signatory, which requires nations under Article 2 to designate, regulate and manage geographically defined areas (marine protected areas) to achieve the specific conservation objectives.
By declaring the Astola Island Marine Protected Area, Pakistan has started complying with the Aichi Target 11, which requires that by 2020 at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas are conserved.