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Location Bahrain, Capital,Central
Central coordinates 50o 34.33' East  26o 10.39' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i
Area 1,350 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Bahrain Natural History Society (Affiliate)

Site description A shallow, sheltered bay in an urban/industrial area, with saltmarsh vegetation, extensive mudflats (mainly on the east side) and a large area of mangrove Avicennia (the last remaining area in the country) in the south-west corner of the bay at Sanad. Tidal amplitude is up to 2.5 m and salinity exceeds 4.0%. There are many freshwater springs offshore and onshore, the latter associated with Phragmites reedbeds and date-palm gardens. The bay is an important spawning and nursery area for fish and prawns. It receives irrigation run-off from the date gardens and also fully treated sewage effluent.

Key Biodiversity The most important site in the country for migrating and wintering coastal waterbirds. See box for key species. Other wintering species include Egretta garzetta (100), Charadrius hiaticula (300), Calidris minuta (1,000), Arenaria interpres (250), Larus ichthyaetus (150) and Larus ridibundus (2,000).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Charadrius alexandrinus passage  1991  1,500 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Not Recognised 
Charadrius alexandrinus winter  1988-1992  330-731 individuals  good  B1i  Not Recognised 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola passage  1991  500 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus passage  1991  2,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus winter  1988-1992  233-824 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  1988-1992  616-1,586 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus passage  1991  800 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei passage  1991  3,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2007 very high very unfavourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (domestic use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution excess energy - thermal pollution happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution industrial & military effluents - seepage from mining happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Pluvialis squatarola Grey Plover 500 18 individuals 4 very unfavourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 1586 220 individuals 14 very unfavourable
Larus genei Slender-billed Gull 3000 262 individuals 9 very unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ras Sand Mangrove Reserve 50 protected area contained by site 50  
Tubli Bay Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 1,610 protected area contains site 1,350  
Tubli Bay National Park National Park 1,350 is identical to site 1,350  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Open sea  15%
Forest Subtropical & tropical mangrove  4%
Coastline Intertidal marshes; Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Rocky shores; Sand, shingle & pebble shores; Shallow marine waters; Subtidal aquatic beds  81%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 40%
Notes: Albeit the decline in fisheries stocks, fishing with traditional methods (e.g. barrier-traps, hemisphere wire traps as well as hocks and line) are still practiced in Tubli Bay. Drifted filamentous green macro-algae are regularly collected for baiting purposes. Three mooring sites used by small and medium vessels are located in Tubli Bay.
nature conservation and research 10%
Notes: Tubli Bay is regularly researched by college students and immature scientists, particularly Ras Sanad mangrove swamp. Opportunistic physiochemical and ecological monitoring studies are often carried out by specialized scientists.
tourism/recreation 30%
Notes: Tubli Bay attracts a number of families on weekends. Boat trips to the eastern boundaries of Ras Sanad mangrove swamp are organized by local fishermen. Artisanal line fishing from Sitra Causeway peaks during weekends and school holidays. Opportunistic bird watching is practiced at selected intertidal sites.
urban/industrial/transport 40%
Notes: The coastline is bordered by a number of small villages as well as steadily-spreading recently-developed private villas. Sitra Causeway crosses Tubli Bay from north to south. Constructed on a reclaimed land, a major highway passes along the northern coastline.
energy production and mining 15%
Notes: Five sandwashing, a major sewage and a power/desalination plants are situated along the eastern, southern and western coasts of Tubli Bay.
agriculture 20%
Notes: Large farms are sited along the western, eastern and southern coasts. The farms are cultivated with date palms inter-cropped with introduced vegetable crops and alfalfa.

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Dr S. A. Mohamed and E. Hirschfeld.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Tubli Bay. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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