A portion of St. Martin's Island
A view of St. Martin’s Island

The St. Martin’s Island is a small island of 8 kilometer square area and also known as Narikel Jingira (Coconut Island). This coral island is located in the northeastern portion of the Bay of Bengal (92°18´ and 92°21´E longitudes and 20°34´ and 20°39´N latitudes) and about 9 kilometer south of the tip of Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf peninsula, forming the southernmost part of Bangladesh (Chowdhury 2006; Wikipedia 2012). The island is 3.6 m above average sea level and there are reefs from 10-15 km to the west-northwest (Chowdhury 2006).

Foods at a restaurant in St. Martin’s Island
Foods at a restaurant in St. Martin’s Island

There is scarcity of freshwater on the island; only a few ponds and a number of tubewells supply sweet water for drinking as well as for cultivation (Chowdhury 2006).

The emerged dead corals characterized by Porites spp., Acropora spp., Cyphostrea spp., and Platygyrn spp. provide evidence of lower level emergence, i.e., they have been raised above the level at which they are at present forming/living (Chowdhury, 2006).

Captured fishes
Captured fishes

Tourism:St. Martin’s Island has become a popular tourist spot. Tourism to the northern part of the island exists during four months from November to February.

Biodiversity: One hundred and eighty-two species of wildlife are recorded from the St. Martin’s Island including 4 species are amphibians, 28 reptiles, 130 birds and 20 mammals (Chowdhury 2006).

A total of about 140 species of algae are grown in St. Martin’s Island (Jafar 2008).

Fish and fisheries: Large numbers of sharks have been captured from the south-western part of this island, mainly from November to May (Roy 2011). Experimental studies have been shown that sea weed (Caulerpa racemosa and Hypnea spp.) culture is also possible at St. Martin’s Island (Jafar 2008).

Fish drying: A large number of marine fish species, harvested from island adjacent waters, are being sun dried here on this island. Generally, these fishes are dried on rack.


Fish drying at St. Martin's Island
Fish drying at St. Martin’s Island


At present the island is suffering from various problems. Some of these are-

  • Pieces of the coral reef are being removed in order to be sold to tourists (Wikipedia, 2012).
  • Nesting turtles are sometimes taken for food, and their hatchlings are often distracted by the twinkling lights along the beach (Wikipedia, 2012).
  • Several fish species are subjected to overfishing (Wikipedia, 2012).
  • St. Martin’s has lost roughly 25% of its coral reef in the past 7 years (Wikipedia, 2012).



Chowdhury SQ (2006) St. Martin’s Island. Banglapedia The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Read online

Jafar M (2008) Algae culture in Bangladesh, Fisheries Resources Development Movement 2008, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Resources, Dhaka, Bangladesh, pp. 77-78 (in Bengali).

Roy BJ (2011) Present condition and economic importance of sharks in the Bay of Bengal, National Fish Week Compendium 2011, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Resources, Dhaka, Bangladesh, pp. 93-95 (in Bengali).

Wikipedia (2012) The Free Encyclopedia, retrieved on January 11, 2012; Read online


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The St. Martin’s Island

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Shams Galib

Shams works in freshwater ecosystems, primarily on fish diversity in terms of their availability, and richness; he is also interested in aquatic invasive species and their impacts on ecosystem. Email: thegalib@gmail.com. More...

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