Coastal districts of the State, including Ernakulam, will witness an awareness campaign for conserving marine biodiversity on May 22.

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board has come up with a programme for organising the campaign in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kasaragod and Kannur districts. The United Nations had declared May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase the understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues and Marine Biodiversity has been selected as the theme for 2012. People from all walks of life including fishermen, students, stakeholders, and experts in this area will join the campaign, said K.P. Laladhas, member secretary of the board.

Highlights

The Biodiversity Management Committees of the coastal local bodies will be actively involved in the campaign. Information on declining marine biodiversity, threats faced by the marine ecosystem, sustainable livelihood and conservation measures will be highlighted, he said.

The Kerala campaign will be led by the district coordinators of the board in association with experts in conservation, ecology and environment. The programme is funded by the National Biodiversity Authority.

M.K. Prasad, noted environmentalist, said that little was known among the masses on marine biodiversity and the laws governing them. There was also a need to highlight the impact of human activities like overexploitation of marine resources and the disappearance of some of the economically important fish species, he said.

The board should also focus on implementing the strategy and action plan for the protection of biodiversity. Meeting of researchers and experts should be convened to create awareness and implement programmes, Prof. Prasad said.

Special relevance

The campaign has special relevance in districts like Ernakulam where some the threatened species of marine mammals, including dolphins and sharks, are at times netted and sold in some fish markets of coastal areas. Though Forest officials had earlier made some attempts to create awareness for conserving marine biodiversity, the campaign failed to take off.

May 22 is International Day for Biological Diversity.

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