Shell Beach Protected Area

What is Shell Beach Protected Area (SBPA) and where is it?

SBPA is one of Guyana's protected areas managed by the Protected Areas Commission. The others being the Kaieteur Falls National Park and the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area (KMPA). The SBPA, along with KMPA, was created in 2011 after the passage of the Protected Areas Act in 2011.

SBPA is special because it has Guyana's largest and most intact mangrove forests and is nesting grounds for four of the world's threatened species of marine turtles. The marine turtles include the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), and green turtle (Chelonia mydas). They visit the beaches from February to August each year. Turtle monitoring takes place at Almond Beach during this period. It also has a diversity of other animals and birds.

SBPA is in the northwestern part of Guyana in Region 1. It stretches over 120 km (75 miles) of beaches and mudflats along the Atlantic coast. The coastal beaches are made of fragmented shells rather than sand, hence the generic name shell beach. Shell beaches can be found in Suriname and French Guiana, which also have marine turtle nesting grounds.

The SBPA covers an area of 123,055 hectares (1,203 sq km, 304,074 acres). In the inland portion of the protected area, it is bound by the rivers named Moruca, Barabara, Biara, Baramani, and Waini.

Reference: SBPA management plan, 2014.

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