Gulf of Guinea
Because it is considered part of the Atlantic Ocean, the boundaries of the Gulf of Guinea are not clearly defined, though one of the most notable areas is the coast of Gabon, towards the southern edge. The beaches have become a major breeding ground for the threatened Leatherback Turtle and the waters offshore are an important habitat for the West African Manatee, Humpback Whale and dolphins. The government of Gabon has taken measures to protect these areas creating thirteen national parks in 2002, including Mayumba, the first marine national park in West-Central Africa.
The coast of Gabon remains largely uninhabited, the number of threats increased in recent years. Egg poaching in Loggerhead nesting areas has been reported, but even in sites that are far from human habitation, stray logs that float down the Congo from inland logging operations wash up on some of the beaches and form blockades that trap turtles on the beach. In offshore waters, Gabon’s burgeoning oil industry seeks new wells in mating areas for Humpback Whales and in the habitats of other marine species, while damage from overfishing disrupt the food chain and and bottom trawling destroys bethic habitat.