Anzali Lagoon is a lagoon, in the Caspian Sea near Bandar-e Anzali, in the northern Iranian province of Gilan. The lagoon divides Bandar-e Anzali into two parts.
The area of the lagoon is 20 thousand hectares. There are outstanding islands in the lagoon among them are Bozorg, Kouchak, and Mianposhteh islands. The lagoon is 10 kilometers wide, stretching from Pirbazar to Anzali and 30 kilometers long from east to west.
This natural freshwater lagoon, which is recognized as an important bird habitat in the world, hosts about one hundred species of birds like swans, herons, ducks, etc. A variety of species of fish like the Caspian White Fish, Anchovy, and the Common Carp live and spawn in this lagoon as well. Anzali Lagoon is annually welcomes many birds that enter Iran from the neighboring countries.
Water lilies that grow in summer are another fabulous beauty of Anzali lagoon. Pink water lilies with their green heart-shaped leaves cover the lake and make a magnificent view. Besides water lilies, there are some canebrakes in lagoon that offer a memorable boat riding experience.
The lagoon has been listed in Ramsar Convention since 21 December 1975, But it suffers from severe environmental issues. The lagoon has decreased in size since the 1930s to less than a quarter of its former extent. The water salinity has increased in the last ten years (sinces 2007) both by the rise of the level of the Caspian Sea and due to greater salt transport in incoming “fresh” water and due to increased upstream irrigation.
Increased pollution of the source waters and eutrophication due to an increased nutrient load has contributed to the destruction of the fishery in the lagoon. The use of Anzali lagoon as the city dump and the release of human and industrial waste into the wetland have already put in danger the lives of animal species and at least 78 species of birds living in the area.