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

 

Ridleys mating about 3

Image | January 31, 2006 at 11:30

Ridleys mating about 3-5 kms off the coast. The male is on top of the female, holding onto her with his claws. Prior to nesting, the Ridley turtles congregate in near coastal waters every season, to mate, starting in early November.

A familiar sight on the beaches of coastal

Image | January 31, 2006 at 4:30

A familiar sight on the beaches of coastal Orissa, carcasses of dead ridleys washed ashore. Over the last decade, over 100,000 dead turtles have been washed ashore.

Defending the Olive Ridleys: MV Sugayatri

Feature story | January 16, 2006 at 4:30

ORISSA, India — Curious and interested fishermen watch as a giant turtle, at least 10 feet in diameter, bobs benignly beside their boats. This isn't a scene from a science fiction movie. It's the launch of Greenpeace India's latest, most...

Clemenceau… The ship that died. But didn’t stop killing.

Feature story | December 12, 2005 at 4:30

BANGALORE, India — Early this morning, off the sleeping coast of Toulon, France, Greenpeace activists boarded the heavily-guarded Clemenceau, a once-majestic aircraft carrier that belonged to the French navy. Far away, in Orissa, India, a young...

Together, we are an ocean

Feature story | December 2, 2005 at 8:05

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — A voyage of one year. Four oceans. One million Ocean defenders. That’s our response to the growing crisis our oceans face. We are launching our most ambitious ship expedition ever, to respond to the threats and...

Whale Science in-action

Feature story | November 14, 2005 at 11:52

It’s that time of the year again, the six ships of the whaling fleet are leaving Japan and heading back to the culling ground, the “Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,” to carry out “scientific testing” on 1000 whales. The “scientific test” involves...

Selective prosecution of Greenpeace in the US foiled again

Feature story | August 18, 2005 at 3:30

A judge in Alaska has overturned a jury verdict and acquitted Greenpeace of failing to register oil spill contingency plans. District Court Judge Kevin Miller declared the evidence did not support the guilty verdicts.

A picture of a young fisher man at Balabhadrapur

Image | August 17, 2005 at 3:30

A picture of a young fisher man at Balabhadrapur, one of the communities the team visited while at Chilika. The fisherman told the team that the new mouth was widening and that strange marine creatures found way into the lake, sometimes even...

Claptrap substantiated

Feature story | June 21, 2005 at 11:02

TASMAN SEA, New Zealand — Last week Amaltal Fishing Company director Andrew Talley called Greenpeace assertions "unsubstantiated claptrap". But dramatic photos and footage taken by the Rainbow Warrior crew prove him and others supporting bottom...

A whale will be hunted every four hours. Help stop the killing now!

Feature story | June 15, 2005 at 3:30

YOU could be in Korea on the 19th of June, shaking a fist at the International Whaling Commission, telling them you want Whales – Alive! Literally thousands of people have already joined Greenpeace in preparation for an international protest in...

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