The Quirimbas Islands off the coast of Mozambique •

The Quirimbas Islands off the coast of Mozambique

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features an astronaut photograph of the northern part of the Quirimbas Islands near the Tanzania border. According to NASA, the light blue-green water highlights the shallow complex of corals, sand, and seagrass surrounding the islands.

“The Quirimbas Islands stretch 322 kilometers (200 miles) along Mozambique’s coastline and are teeming with an impressive array of plants and animals. The 32 small islands that make up the archipelago are partly linked to the coast by mangroves, sand bars, and coral reefs,” says NASA.

“The islands’ waters host 52 species of corals, 140 species of mollusk, and eight species of marine mammals including whales and dolphins. Five species of sea turtles are found there: loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), green turtle (Chelonia midas), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea). All five of these species are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being threatened with extinction.”

Vamizi is one of the largest islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago and the most important green turtle nesting site in Mozambique. NASA reports that increased tourism and fishing on and around Vamizi has put pressure on the island’s marine ecosystem. 

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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