St. Martin's, a small continental island in the Bay of Bengal, is located on the southern most tip of Bangladesh separated from the mainland by a channel which is about 9 km wide. St. Martin's island is endowed with vast marine and land resources having great biodiversity significance. The island is a good example of co-occurrence of corals, algae, seaweeds, grasses and mangroves.
A total of 234 species of fish have been found in the coastal water of St. Martin's Island, of which 16 are fresh water species. Among the fish species, 89 are coral associated. The most abundant coral or reef associated fish are Damsel, Parrot, Surgeon, Groupers, Snappers, Emperors and Butterfly fish. The mollusc on the St. Martin's is the largest and most beautiful in Bangladesh. 186 species of mollusc & oyster, 7 species of crab, 9 species of echinoderms, 4 species of sea urchin, 1 species of sea cucumber & some brittle stars have been found here. A number of colourful nudibranch and bryozoans were reported in adjacent area of the island.
There are nearly 8,000 people on this small island of 12 sq. km. area. In the tourist season (November-February) around 3,000 people visit this island daily, which is beyond the holding capacity of this small marine island.
Besides this, there is regular big ferry services and engine boat, used for transportation of tourists, to the island. For this reason, a huge amount of crude oil, plastic and other non-biodegradable waste are discharged in the water adjacent to the island. In addition huge amounts of untreated market and domestic wastes, which include sewage matters (only 5% of the local people have sanitary latrine facilities) from the local people and tourists, are discharged into the adjacent coastal water. Thus the quality of coastal water is degrading gradually.
The government should take necessary steps to save this coral island. Beside this, it also necessary to take initiatives for developing eco-friendly tourism in the Island.