Myanmar has designated Nanthar Island and Mayyu Estuary as its sixth Wetland of International Importance. This “Ramsar Site” (no. 2421 on the List of Wetlands of International Importance) is on the western coast of Myanmar within Rakhine State. Its coastal environment includes estuarine and shallow marine waters, rocky shores and mangrove forest.
Upwelling in the Bay of Bengal contributes to the Site’s productive marine ecosystem. It is one of the last refuges of the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea), with over 5% of the remaining global population reported annually. Other threatened species include the endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the vulnerable olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), all of which are known to nest within the Site.
Aquaculture activities undertaken within the Site contribute to the livelihoods of local communities. Threats include pollution, hunting and the collection of wild terrestrial and marine animals. Rakhine State Forest Department and the National Department of Fisheries manage the Site.