Gujarat proposes oceanarium at Dwarka coast

"We have a vast coastline of 1,600 km and diverse sea creatures and corals. However, awareness is very low among people and that is the reason we have proposed to built an oceanarium at the Dwarka coast," Director of GEC C H Pandya told reporters.

"We have submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Environment for building an oceanarium under the Marine Research and Information Centre to be setup at Dwarka under the Central Government scheme of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP)," Pandya said.

GEC has proposed to establish a Marine Oceanarium after a pre-feasibility study conducted by KPMG had given a positive response. A wide range of sea creatures like whale shark, different kind of fishes, sea turtles and hundreds of other creatures are found in the area.

Apart from sea creatures, there is a wide variety of coral on the Gujarat coast, which is under threat due to rapid industrialisation, pressure of human expansion besides pollution, Pandya said.

"The construction of the oceanarium will have a very big impact on the conservation of underwater flora and fauna as it will increase the awareness among people as well as students to join in the efforts to protect it," Pandya said.

They have chosen Dwarka for the oceanarium project as it is a renowned pilgrimage place and large number of tourists come to Dwarka throughout the year, he said. "Those touring Dwarka will have the benefit of visiting the oceanarium in the pilgrimage city," he said.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has chosen the state, along with West Bengal and Orissa, for implementing the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP). The Project, to be funded by the World Bank, will promote an integrated multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach for coastal zone management.

GEC, which is a nodal agency for the implementation of ICZMP in Gujarat, has proposed to build oceanarium under the project Marine Research and Information Centre to be established at Dwarka. "We are hoping that the Central Government will approve of the project," Pandya said.

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