Banc d'Arguin National Park
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|Fringing the Atlantic coast, the park comprises sand-dunes, coastal swamps,
small islands and shallow coastal waters. The contrast between the harsh desert
environment and the biodiversity of the marine zone has resulted in a land- and
seascape of outstanding natural significance.
A wide variety of migrating birds spend the winter there. Several species of sea turtle and dolphin, used by the fishermen to attract shoals of fish, can also be found.
The Banc d'Arguin National Park is located on the Atlantic desert-coast of Mauritania, midway between the capital Nouakchott in the south and Nouadhibou in the north. Its shallow, marshy waters, containing one of Africa's most productive ecosystems, makes the marine and terrestrial park, barren only at the first look, a unique resource.
Some 1,000 Imraguen fishermen carry on the tens of thousands of years of documented human population. Earlier, due to a more humid climate, population was higher and remnants from the Almoravide [Moroccan dynasty] civilisation are found on a number of the park's islands.
The Imraguen, or "those who gather life", carefully gather the resources of the park. The government has no fear of resource exploitation by the Imraguen, on the contrary.
Carrying on with age-old life styles and fishing techniques, the Imraguen themselves constitute a valuable cultural resource, managing the natural resources in a sustainable way. They almost exclusively harvest the migratory fish populations using traditional sailing boats, and fishing techniques, unchanged at least since first recorded by 15th century Portuguese explorers, include a unique symbiotic collaboration with wild dolphins.
Sources and links:
Other World Heritage sites in Mauritania (on this web site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Mauritania section, for further information about the individual properties.
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Revised 20 jul 2006