Miani Hor IMMA

Size in Square Kilometres

402 km2

Qualifying Species and Criteria

Indian Ocean humpback dolphin – Sousa plumbea

Criterion A; B (i)

Indo-Pacific finless porpoise – Neophocaena phocaenoides

Criterion A

Marine Mammal Diversity

Sousa plumbea, Tursiops aduncus, Neophocaena phocaenoides


Miani Hor lagoon is located along the Balochistan coast of Pakistan in the Northern Arabian Sea. This lagoon is deep (25-30 m) near Damb and has vast mudflats mainly in its western part. Mangrove species (Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata and Ceriops tagal), occur in the lagoon. A resident population of Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) exists in the lagoon, which is further assessed to be confined within the lagoon. A survey carried out in 2012 revealed a population of 60 and 80 dolphins occurring in the lagoon. Finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides) are also occasionally seen in Miani Hor but their population is very small. The Indian Ocean humpback dolphin is Endangered and the Indo-Pacific finless porpoise is a Vulnerable species.

Description of Qualifying Criteria

Criterion A – Species or Population Vulnerability

The IUCN status of the two cetacean species in the area are considered to be Threatened, with the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin being classed as Endangered (EN) and Indo-Pacific finless porpoise being assessed as Vulnerable (VU). The population is threatened mainly because of anthropogenic activity, including entanglements in gillnets, degradation of habitat (mangrove denudation) and infrastructure development (construction of harbours). A few strandings of dolphins were noticed in the lagoon during the studies carried out during July 2011 to June 2012 and in almost all cases these dolphins died due to entanglement in gillnets. There is no major human population centres around the lagoon and fishermen of three settlements consider the dolphins and porpoises as sacred animals, therefore, no recent record of any deliberate killing of a dolphin. In decades past, fishermen used to kill about 2 to 3 dolphins annually for extracting their fats, which was believed locally to have some medicinal properties. However, this practice is no longer performed in these areas.

Criterion B: Distribution and Abundance

Sub-criterion Bi: Small and Resident Populations 

Miani Hor is known for having a small resident population of humpback dolphins, which may be subjected to a single large-scale event that could significantly alter the long-term survival of the population. A total of 36 Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea) sightings were recorded in waters 3–13 m deep at Miani Hor during nine survey days from July 2011 to June 2012 as conducted by the SDO. The mean group size was 11.89 to 13.59 animals with the largest group, some 68 animals, encountered in 6 m deep water on 12 November 2010. More recently a survey carried out by a community-based organization revealed that the total number of dolphins in the area is only between 60 and 80.

Supporting Information

Gore, M.A., Kinai, M.S., Ahmad, E., Hussain, B., Ormond, R. F., Siddiqui, J., Waqas, U. and Culloch, R. 2012. ‘Occurrence of whales and dolphins in Pakistan with reference to fishers’ knowledge and impacts’. Journal of  Cetacean Research and Management. 12: 235–247.   (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232042106_Occurrence_of_whales_and_dolphins_in_Pakistan_with_reference_to_fishers%27_knowledge_and_impacts ).

Kiani, M.S. 2014. ‘Studies on Marine Cetaceans in Coastal Waters of Pakistan’. PhD thesis, University of Karachi, Pakistan.

Kiani, M.S., and van Waerebeek, K. 2015. ‘A review of the status of the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea) in Pakistan’. In:  T. A. Jefferson and B. E. Curry eds.) Advances in Marine Biology, Vol. 72.   pp. 201-228.Oxford: Academic Press.

SDO (Sonmiani Development Organization) 2012. ‘Marine Dolphin Conservation Through Community Education and Capacity Building in Miani Hor, Pakistan’ Final Report to Ocean Park Conservation  Foundation (OPCF), Hong Kong.

Siddiqui, P.J.A., Farooq, S., Shafique, S., Burhan, Z.N., Farooqi, Z. 2008. Conservation and management of biodiversity in Pakistan through the establishment of marine protected areas. Ocean and Coastal Management 51: 377–382.


Download the full account of the Miani Hor IMMA using the Fact Sheet button below:

To make a request to download the GIS Layer (shapefile) for the Miani Hor IMMA please complete the following Contact Form:

* Required fields