Protecting our coasts

From the dense mangroves in the Sunderbans and the nesting sea turtles in Orissa to the majestic whale sharks in the Gulf of Kutch and the breathtaking coral reefs in Lakshadweep, India’s 8,000-km-long coastline is a treasure trove of marine life. These waters are also spawning and breeding ground for a variety of fish. The countries fisheries industry has thrived for centuries thanks to the richness of its marine life.

In spite of all this, India’s ocean environment has been neglected. Within the political system, understanding on this issue is either limited or poor and the policy focus is ad hoc. Even with the limited information available it is quite clear that the country’s coast line and marine environment is under threat.

The execution of massive projects such as ports with inadequate assessments of their impacts on the local environment and the livelihoods they sustain is a matter of serious concern. The 11th Five Year Plan has identified 331 ports for development on the mainland. That’s the equivalent of having a port every 20 km or so along India’s 6,000-km-long mainland coast.  

The cumulative impacts of these ports on the environment have not been assessed and their economic advantage is not known as half of the ports in the country are under utilised.

Apart from endangering marine habitats, this also poses a significant threat to the livelihoods of coastal communities. Fisheries resources in several parts of the country are under severe stress. By offering a variety of subsidies and incentives, governments at the centre and state level have allowed too many mechanised boats to operate, resulting in too many boats chasing too few fish.

 Campaign story:

The campaign for oceans is currently focused on three specific areas:

  1. Coastal development: Coastal real estate is most prized for tourism, industries, aquaculture, nuclear and thermal power plants or ports, all of which leave behind a devastated coastal environment. The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 1991 was meant to protect our coasts but has failed to do so. Greenpeace is demanding that the notification be strengthened and implemented and industries and infrastructure projects be kept away from eco-sensitive areas.

  2. Overfishing: Increasingly, a wide range of marine ecologists and scientists think that the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is overfishing. The appetite for fish is exceeding the ocean’s ecological limits with devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. Scientists are warning that overfishing could result in profound changes in our oceans, perhaps changing them forever.

  3. Marine reserves: Our oceans are in need of protection – from overfishing, pollution, mining and other threats. Marine reserves are an important tool to protect and preserve areas of our oceans that are rich in biodiversity, ecologically significant and vulnerable to destruction. These areas are closed to all extractive uses, such as fishing, mining, oil exploration, waste dumping etc.

The latest updates

 

Wrapping up the Mediterranean

Feature story | September 5, 2006 at 18:29

CARTAGENA, Spain — It's a bluefin tuna graveyard, white crosses float next to tuna ranch cages. We end our three month Mediterranean tour back where we started, in Spain, highlighting the desperate state of bluefin tuna stocks.

Rainbow Warrior completes joint mission with MSF to transport humanitarian supplies...

Feature story | August 11, 2006 at 3:30

Over 75 tons of essential medical supplies have been safely transported to Lebanon via sea, following a joint operation between Greenpeace and Medecins Sans Frontieres, in which three voyages were made by the Rainbow Warrior between Larnaca in...

Good for the oceans, good for you.

Feature story | July 23, 2006 at 3:30

CHENNAI, India — In our line of work, we find livelihood and ecology inextricably linked, quite frequently at cross-purposes with each other. But sometimes, the two issues intersect more directly, with the loss of ecological treasures resulting...

ICME Report

Publication | July 18, 2006 at 3:30

The Indian Coastal & Marine Environment - planning for the future: A comprehensive representation of the unique biodiversity of India's marine ecosystems, the threats they face, and recommendations for securing their future.

The Esperanza has arrived!

Feature story | July 17, 2006 at 3:30

CHENNAI, India — A blue-white smudge on the horizon is enough to cause tremendous excitement amongst everyone on board the little fishing boat bobbing up and down in the waters off the coast of Chennai. As it draws closer, revealing the brightly...

Disaster looms for whales

Feature story | June 19, 2006 at 17:18

FRIGATE BAY, Saint Kitts and Nevis — The international body charged by the UN with protecting the whales is about to be taken over by the world's most consistently and aggressively pro-whaling government. How could this happen? In an...

Witnesses arrested, accused walks free!

Feature story | April 14, 2006 at 3:30

NEW DELHI, India — Bearing witness to the mass murder of Olive Ridley turtles can cost you dearly in the strange world we inhabit. 12 Greenpeace activists were arrested in New Delhi this morning, for having brought evidence of turtle mortality...

Enough is enough.

Feature story | April 3, 2006 at 19:30

BHUBANESWAR, India — We’ve witnessed first hand the hundreds of meaningless deaths of turtles on the beaches of Orissa. Camped at the Turtle Witness Camp, volunteers who thought they would be witness to the wondrous arribada of the Olive Ridley...

03rd April 2006: Greenpeace activists create

Image | April 3, 2006 at 18:51

03rd April 2006: Greenpeace activists create a symbolic graveyard outside the office of the Chief Wildlife Warden of Orissa, as a reminder of the mass deaths of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles. Greenpeace has demanded that the Forest...

Global snapshot

Feature story | March 30, 2006 at 11:38

What we've lost, what we have left and what we will lose if we don't act now. That is the message that the latest global maps of the planet's last intact forests and most vulnerable ocean areas tell us.

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