Operation of fishing boats from the harbour may be rendered impossible in the event of the Netravati finding an alternative way to join the Arabian Sea and forming a different estuary.
K.S. Jayappa, Reader in Marine Geology Department of Mangalore University, said in a seminar here on Monday that he feared that the Netravati might find a new location to join the sea near Kotepura. A research had found that the beach here had undergone a lot of changes in the past few years, and at a particular place, the gap between the river and the sea was narrowing down. In the years to come, the river might join the sea at a different place, reducing the inflow of water at the present estuary, he said.
Since the Gurupura estuary and the Netravati estuary were connected, this could have disastrous impact on the Mangalore fishing harbour. The water level could go down, affecting the very operation of fishing vessels from there, Mr. Jayappa said.
The way sand settled off Mangalore coast was undergoing huge change because of the 50-odd dams built across the Netravati and the Gurupra, illegal sand-mining, and construction of break water. “If you had seen Kotepura beach a few years ago and visit it now, you will know for yourself,” he told students of Expert P.U. College, which hosted the seminar on climate change.
Mr. Jayappa said a study on the sand sedimentation dynamics between Surathkal and Talapady had revealed these changes. The shape of the beaches had changed dramatically. While New Mangalore Port Trust had spent Rs. 30 crore for dredging in 2000, sea-erosion had cost the State Government more than Rs. 50 crore for building sea walls with boulders, he said.
A.P. Dineshbabu, senior scientist, Mangalore Research Centre of the Cochin-based Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, said that climate change could lead to increase in sea temperature, which could have disastrous consequences on fishermen.
The coral fishes could die, taking away a rich source of biodiversity. This, coupled with a rise in the carbon dioxide in the sea, could cause death of many fish species, he said.
Studies had shown that temperatures above 27 degree Celsius could lead to production of only female Olive Ridley turtles in the Orissa coast. Closer home, the exports of many species of fishes would be seriously impaired if the temperatures increased, he said.
Genetic Engineering lecturer at St. Aloysius College Smitha Hegde called upon students to think of the consequences of increase in the dynamic atmosphere by one degree Celsius when a change of one or two Fahrenheit of temperature in human body could throw a person off balance. The greenhouse effect could lead to severe drinking water crisis, she said.
Head of Extension Education Wing of the College of Fisheries S.M. Shivaprakash said that a Pune-based research organisation had found that the temperature of the climate had gone up b 0.9 degree Celsius since 1949. Monsoons would be seriously affected unless this was arrested, he said.
Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner K.N. Vijayaprakash said that three-fourth of the contribution to the climate change came from urban areas. He said he was willing to incorporate suggestions to reduce this. A holistic approach to tackle the situation was needed, he added.
Chairman of the college Narendra Nayak, its principal K. Rajendra, president of the Association of British Scholars K.C. Shet, and British Council Representative Anu Thambi were present.