Conserve biodiversity in island, estuaries: Expert

Conserve biodiversity in island, estuaries: Expert

'Restriction of activities has resulted in formation of fresh coral reefs in Netrani'

Karnataka Biodiversity Board Member Secretary R K Singh has said that there is a need to sustain the resources for the livelihood of those who depend on it.

Speaking at the International Day for Biological Diversity here on Thursday, he said that the United Nations has designated May 22 as the “International Day for Biological Diversity,” to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme of this year is island biodiversity, with an aim of spreading awareness on biodiversity and the importance of preserving it in villages and islands.

Stating that the Naval activity had endangered unique ecosystem that supported a large number of ornamental fish in Netrani island near Honnavar, Singh said that after the High Court restricted the naval activities in November 2012, now one can see fresh coral reef formation in the island. Because of restriction of activities and protection of the island, lot of changes have taken place, he added.

“Biodiversity Board has been constituted to implement effectively the guidelines of Biological Diversity Act 2002. As per the act, biodiversity management committee have been constituted in every gram panchayat. At present, there are over 5,000 committees in Karnataka. People’s Biodiversity Register   empowers villagers to document their own flora and fauna in the villages. New biodiversity laws make it difficult for outsiders to use natural resources of a village without the consent of the committee,” he said.

Singh said that estuaries need to be protected. Estuaries are cradle of life. However, no measures have been taken to manage estuaries. Removal of sand in the estuaries will result in destruction. Conservation of resources play a vital role in the livelihood of the people of the region, he added.

District-in-Charge Minister Ramanath Rai said that awareness on biodiversity is the need of the hour. There is a need to create awareness on the available flora and fauna in and around our surroundings. Activities in the islands have been checked to some extent to conserve biodiversity, he added.

Explaining how fishing process has changed over the years, fishermen leader from Ullal Vittal Suvarna said that before the arrival of mechanised boats, fishing was based on traditional methods like Rampani and Kai Rampani.

It was due to catching the fish in a group by the purse seine boats that traditional fishing or seashore fishing had been adversely affected. The purse-seine boats were using eight mm fishnets, which led to many small fish being caught, destroying fish progeny, he added.

“The government should frame rules to conserve fish population by clearly framing guidelines for the fish catch by boats, mechanised boats and purse seine boats. The fishermen violate the ban on fishing period by venturing into fishing one week before the end of the ban period. This has to be checked by the government. Fish meal industries have been causing water pollution. Though they have to recycle the water before letting it into the river or sea, the rules are not violated often,” he added.