astola island pakistan

Astola Island Pakistan’s 1st ever Marine Protected Area in Balochistan

Astola Island Pakistan is located approximately 25 km off the coast of Balochistan province and is Pakistan’s largest offshore island with an area of 6.7 km. The island is ecologically important because its beaches provide nesting sites for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles, while supporting a large number of migratory birds. astola island pakistan

The island’s endemic is the saw viper Astola. While treeless, due to the absence of a fresh water source, the island’s vegetation consists of scrub and large shrubs. The island’s marine ecology supports a variety of coral species, creating a breeding ground for a wide variety of marine species. astola island pakistan

Astola Island has been designated as Pakistan’s first ever Marine Protected Area. A notification in this regard was issued by the Government of Balochistan today, 15 June 2017. 

Location of Astola Island Pakistan

Astola, located in the Arabian Sea, east of Pasni District in Balochistan, Pakistan, is known for its rich marine biodiversity. The island, including its 401.47 km2 buffer zone, was declared Pakistan’s first marine protected area on 15 June 2017.  

Astola, also known as Jezira Haft Talar Satadip or ‘Island of Seven Hills’, is the largest uninhabited island in Pakistan. It has sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and small rocky mountains that stretch across the 6.7 km2 island. Its beaches provide nesting grounds for both birds and green sea turtles.

Marine Life in Astola Island

In addition, the waters of Astola are home to about 22 species of coral, dolphins, whales and several species of fish. Even the endangered Arabian humpback—a rare marine mammal found only in the Arabian Sea—was rarely seen in the area around the island. 

Human activity is limited in the area and few people regularly enter the island. However, fishermen from Sindh and Balochistan use the island as a temporary base when they anchor their boats during the August to May fishing season. They usually stay on their ships for a week to ten days. 

Some come to Astola for up to a month. They live on the coast of the island, where they have built several wooden huts. For hunting, fishermen mainly use fishing rods, circular nets, ordinary nets and spear weapons, they mainly catch fish, crabs and lobsters.

How to go to Astola Island From Karachi

To reach Astola Island, boats can be hired from the nearest town of Pasni. It will take around 4 to 5 hours to reach Astola Island from Pasni depending upon the condition and status of sea and boat speed as well.

Astola Island is fully barren with huge presence of coral reefs around the island.

Tourism is Astola Island Balochistan

Astola is favorite destination for travelers as it is suitable for camping and eco-tourism. Tourists usually set up camps at the beach and like snorkeling, deep sea diving and even catch fish under water.

As Astola Islanad is getting more & more recognition, the amount of visitors is increasing day by day. We hope that this will not destroy the natural beauty of the Island.

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