The Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, as an ecosystem, has a sound and firm resources base, but, over the years, the coastal waters have been misused or overused so much that there are pressures already on the fragile ecosystem. The reefs and surrounding coastal ecosystems are in decline due both to natural causes (e.g. coral bleaching) and man-made impacts (e.g. coral mining, destructive fishing, over exploitation, land based pollution). In view of this fact, and concern for biodiversity conservation the entire Gulf of Mannar has been declared a ‘National Marine Biosphere Reserve’ since 1989, by introducing control and regulatory measures in order to prohibit exploitation of resources found on the islands and adjacent shallow habitats.