Dakhla is located at the end of a 40km narrow peninsula on the Atlantic Coast about 340 miles south of Laayoune. The area was inhabited by Berbers from North Africa since ancient times but it was Spanish settlers who founded Dakhla in 1884 during the expansion of their empire. The region was especially important not only because of the rich offshore fishing (e.g. cod) but also because of the abundant seals and whales available for hunting. Despite over harvesting that has resulted in severe depletion of the wildlife, Dakhla is still a major fishing port. However the town has recently become a centre for aquatic sports, such as kitesurfing, windsurfing and surf casting on its lagoon, and becoming a growing tourism destination.