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

 

Making Piracy History

Feature story | March 1, 2006 at 10:21

CAPETOWN, South Africa — Armed and masked, scouring the oceans, stealing food from hungry families – modern day pirates are a far cry from the glamour of Hollywood movies. But they are a multi billion-dollar reality for many communities that can...

Olive Ridley females usually come ashore

Image | February 24, 2006 at 4:30

Olive Ridley females usually come ashore at night or early morning to lay their clutch of 100 to 150 eggs above the high tide line, which are then covered by sand. She then returns to the sea. The eggs hatch after seven to eight weeks.

Growing strength on the East Coast

Feature story | February 17, 2006 at 4:30

ORISSA, India — From victory on the west coast of India, to fast progress on the east coast, this has been a busy week for our activists! The turtle is on the move again, with the Greenpeace Sugayatri (crowned by its giant turtle) out in full...

A late night meeting at Chandini Pal in Orissa

Image | February 17, 2006 at 4:30

A late night meeting at Chandini Pal in Orissa is lit up by vehicle headlights, while Greenpeace campaigners talk to fish-workers about conservation efforts, during the MV Sugayatri's Boat Yatra.

Children from the fishing village of Dhamra

Image | February 17, 2006 at 4:30

Children from the fishing village of Dhamra join the Greenpeace Ocean Defenders in painting banners with marine creatures, as part of the Sugayatri's Boat Yatra in Orissa.

The Greenpeace Sugayatri at sail

Image | February 6, 2006 at 19:07

The Greenpeace Sugayatri at sail. The Sugayatri, once a fishing boat, will spend the next three months monitoring the mass nesting season of the Olive Ridley in Orissa, India.

Olive Ridley turtles mating off the coast

Image | February 6, 2006 at 18:53

Olive Ridley turtles mating off the coast of Orissa, India. Every year, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles congregate in these waters to mate and then nest in a perfectly synchronised arribada.

An Olive Ridley trapped in a trawling net

Image | February 6, 2006 at 18:41

An Olive Ridley trapped in a trawling net. Over 100,00 dead Olive Ridleys have been found washed ashore in Orissa over the last decade.

Life and Death on the beaches of Orissa

Feature story | February 6, 2006 at 4:30

ORISSA, India — Our Turtle Witness Camp was launched on 27th January and in the first week alone, we’ve witnessed the circle of life in all its gore and glory. We’ve watched, awe-struck, as scores of mating turtles surface around the faithful MV...

An Olive Ridley turtle up close and personal

Image | February 6, 2006 at 4:30

An Olive Ridley turtle up close and personal. Every year, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles congregate in these waters to mate and then nest in a perfectly synchronised arribada.

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