‘Olive Ridley turtles, horseshoe are facing a threat due to lack of enforcement of laws’

Changing beach morphology due to spurt in construction activity, wanton destruction of mangrove forests, dumping of industrial effluents and used oil by ships are posing a grave danger to several endangered species and causing sea erosion.

Artificial illumination on the beach road, crowding of the beaches due to tourism promotion and violation of Coastal Zone Regulation (CRZ) norms aimed at ensuring Integrated Coastal Zone Management have become issues of concern among green activists for several years.

“Many people are not aware on the highly dynamic shallow water areas. From sea wealth point of view, they are highly productive. Mangroves forests and protection of endangered species like Olive Ridley turtles and horseshoe crabs found in Visakhapatnam coast in plenty are facing a threat due to lack of enforcement of laws,” D.E. Babu, an expert on coastal ecosystem and a professor of Zoology at Andhra University, said.

He told The Hindu that horseshoe crabs were generally found in rocky areas in huge colonies.

Both Olive Ridley turtles and horseshoe crabs are listed in Scheduled category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The crabs – a living fossil -- are not edible but die due to crowding of the beaches.

The blood extracted in some parts of the world from these crabs without any danger to their survival is used for certain anti-cancer drugs.

Prof. Babu said corals and reefs, which are essential parts of a good coastal eco-system, were getting destroyed slowly due to lack of regulation. He said sea grasses and several nesting grounds for birds were also getting damaged.

On non-enforcement of CRZ regulations and the phenomenal rise of concrete jungle culture on the coastal areas, he said this was leading to seawater intrusion, surge in seawater as experienced at Uppada village sometime ago and finding of tonnes of dead fish found ashore in the Yeleru canal and the fishing villages near NTPC Simhadri and Pharma City at Parawada.

Admitting that there had not been any documentation on inter-tidal zone species, he said there should be a proper monitoring mechanism to enforce various rules like CRZ notification.

He said non-implementation of rules had made the seawater crocodiles a big casualty, which were once released into the estuary near Kakinada.

More In: Visakhapatnam