Overfishing and exploitation of marine biodiversity would result in the disappearance of fish species in the next 50 years, warned M.F. Farooqui, Special Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, on Tuesday.

Addressing a function organised in connection with the International Day for Biological Diversity, Mr. Farooqui said beyond the exclusive economic zone, everyone seemed to be exploiting the marine biodiversity and nobody was taking responsibility for conservation.

Pointing out that overfishing in the seas had led to loss of income for fishermen, Mr Farooqui said India with a 7,500-km coastline conserving marine habitat and biodiversity represented a huge economic benefit.

Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biodiversity, which is referred to as COP 11, in Hyderabad, would not only showcase the country's experience, but would also exchange it with the participants from 192 countries to ensure that next generation inherited an earth with all its special features, the way the present generation inherited it from its forefathers.

“India will identify schemes where conservation and development converge. In rural employment guarantee scheme, jobs such as watershed management, soil conservation, water management would be covered,” he said.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity, said India would be at the forefront of biodiversity conservation globally over the next two years as the host country for the 11th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biodiversity.

He also hoped that India would ratify the Convention before the event in October.

Mr Dias said the biggest challenge in conserving biodiversity was involving all segments of social and industrial activity.

“Less than half-a-dozen countries have ratified the Convention. Wide participation is needed for the conservation goals set out for the decade to be met,” he explained.

He said the biodiversity conservation targets set at Nagoya in 2010 during the 10th Conference of Parties, aimed to tackle the causes of loss of biodiversity by involving government and society, besides promoting sustainable exploitation of natural resources, protecting ecosystems, making the benefits of biodiversity available to all.