Indian Journal of Science and Technology
Year: 2011, Volume: 4, Issue: 3, Pages: 295-297
Amol Sawale* and Malay Mahadevia
This article highlights some salient ecological features of Indian coastal resources and the need for a viable coastal resources management plan. The transition between the land and the sea is one of the most fragile, complex and a productive ecosystem. It is bestowed with enormous resources, both - living, non-living and is a potential area for recreation and harnessing non-conventional energy resources (wave and wind energy). This is the zone of dynamic activity, constantly transforming itself to maintain equilibrium, under the varying intensity of the natural processes operating here Coastal zone of India has diverse ecosystems like mangroves, corals, beaches, wetlands, estuaries, lagoons and backwaters harboring many ecologically and economically important fauna and flora and also serves as a barrier against many destructive natural hazards. Coastal zone is a region of diverse activity, both complementary and conflicting to each other. Accelerated and unscientific developmental activities have induced catastrophic consequences. In order to optimally utilize & reap the benefits, without hampering the fragile balance, it is necessary to adopt coastal management strategies based on solid scientific foundation that allow for multiple use of the resources without causing serious damage to the environment. Indian seas are witnessing increased anthropogenic activities like marine fishing, off-shore oil and gas, marine transport, dumping ground for waste disposals, etc all of which have been bringing about changes in the coastal environment. Increasing stress due to development of industries, trade and commerce, tourism and resultant human population growth and migration towards coastal cities and urban centers pose a serious threat to the to the health of these coastal ecosystems and to lives and livelihoods of coastal communities. The industrial development of coast has resulted in degradation of coastal ecosystems and diminishing the living resources of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the form of coastal and marine biodiversity and productivity. Municipal sewage, land use, tourism, maritime transport, offshore oil exploration and production, dumping at sea degrade the marine environment. Felling of mangroves and clearing of forests increase the sedimentation rate affecting the live coral and species diversity. Mangroves are a crucial component deserving high priority in any coastal zone management plan as they are degraded and destroyed due to conversion into agriculture, aquaculture and industrial land. Fishery and fishery resources are another major component in coastal resource management. Preliminary efforts to develop a model coastal zone plan in three different stretches refined our skills to expand the plan at country level. As a result, an exhaustive management plan is being implemented at three different coastal states of the country. It is strongly hoped that many maladies afflicting coastal environment could be effectively addressed by formulating and actively adopting an all encompassing and exhaustive coastal zone management plan. Options to tide over this persistent issue is being debated at national and even international levels and some suggestions consistently made by public interest groups and NGOs includes: Earmarking exclusive zone for fishery, mangroves and other coastal biodiversity and for settlement for fishing communities. All fishery development recommendations suggest that Integrating fishing community with the ongoing development could be initiated to reverse their poverty. It could be done only through long term planning to enhance their special skills which will make them employable and eventually integrate them with the ongoing developmental process. It is also to be remembered that downslide in economic returns of fishing sector is a global phenomenon and Indian fishermen are no exception to this. It is strongly hoped that many maladies afflicting coastal environment could be effectively addressed by formulating and actively adopting an all encompassing and exhaustive coastal resource management plan.
Keywords: Coastal resources, Industries, fishing communities, mangroves.
Subscribe now for latest articles and news.