August 21st 2012, New Delhi: With preparations for the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity in full swing at the Ministry of Environment at Forests, Mr M F Farooqui, special director and national focal point for the CBD, released Greenpeace India’s report “Identifying Conservation Needs in India’s Offshore Waters” at India International Centre Annexe.
“As India prepares to host this very significant conference of parties at Hyderabad come October, the issue of marine conservation in areas beyond territorial waters will be in the spotlight. India and the rest of the states need to collaborate efforts and ensure that earth’s oceans are protected.” Mr Farooqui said.
The report, a first of its kind in India, is a biodiversity atlas of the Indian waters in the Exclusive Economic Zone and overlays available GIS data on oceanic species and habitats, sea grass, seamounts and charismatic megafauna like dolphins, whales and turtles to recommend conservation and management for some areas. This data is converted into easy to read maps of the region that highlight the ecological and biological aspects of the two million square kilometers of ocean for which India has economic rights and environmental responsibilities.
Taken as a whole, the maps contained in this report suggest a number of important areas within the Indian EEZ that deserve attention for their biological or ecological significance: the Gulfs of Kachchh, Khambat and Mannar; Palk Bay and waters off the Sundarbans; large fishing grounds such as the Wadge Bank and small biodiverse areas such as Angria Bank; potentially unique seamount ecosystems in the Laccadive Sea; and possible migration paths of already protected marine mammals and sea turtles beyond the continental shelf.
“India also has a great opportunity to make a serious commitment to protecting its wealth of biodiversity and resources before they are wiped out by unsustainable use. With the necessary scientific information in hand, they must then consult with communities, civil society and industry to ensure that effective but equitable measures are put in place.” said Areeba Hamid, campaigner from Greenpeace India.
“The oceans need protecting. Across the world, ocean ecosystems are reaching tipping points and fisheries are collapsing; India has an opportunity to safeguard its oceans before it is too late. The upcoming CBD conference provides an excellent opportunity for India to make clear its intentions to commence a comprehensive process to identify and protect key areas within its own EEZ.” Hamid concluded.
For more information contact:
Shuchita Mehta, Media Officer, Greenpeace India, , +919560990606
Areeba Hamid, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India, firstname.lastname@example.org, +91900569456