Staff Reporter

Focus will be on biosphere reserve and marine national park Focus will be on biosphere reserve and marine national park

  • Wildlife Institute of India is preparing the plan
  • It will be out before end of this fiscal

    Tuticorin: V. K. Malkani, Chief Conservator of Forests, said the State Government will come out with a comprehensive `management plan' before the end of the fiscal to conserve and enhance the marine resources in the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) Biosphere Reserve and the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

    Speaking to The Hindu here on Thursday, he said the plan document, being prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun after conducting a SWOT analysis, would incorporate methods for conservation as well as judicious use of the marine resources available in the GoM.

    These steps were essential to save various indigenous marine species from extinction.

    New monitoring protocol

    He said the plan document would also include a new monitoring protocol to review the implementation of the Wildlife Protection Act and further, it would highlight the techniques that should be adopted to restore the damaged coral reef ecosystem, if any.

    The draft plan would come up before a high-level advisory committee headed by the Chief Wild Life Warden for contemplation in December.

    The WII would come up with a final plan document in January, incorporating the views expressed during the discussions, and the report would be forwarded to the Government for implementation.

    Seaweed promotion

    Mr. Malkani said the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT) had set plans to extend credit to three select women self-help groups to promote cultivation of `indigenous' seaweed species along the GoM coast, during this fiscal.

    A group each from Keezhakarai, Eruvadi and Mandapam villages, situated between Tuticorin and Rameswaram, would be selected for the project.

    "We decided to promote the cultivation of indigenous varieties since the Government had recently stated that exotic seaweeds could be cultivated only north of Palk Bay and south of Tuticorin coast in the GoM, not anywhere in the areas lying between it," he added.

    According to him, the promotion of scientific seaweed cultivation would help the coastal community to earn a decent livelihood, which otherwise was dependent on indiscriminate collection of seaweeds from the GoM marine park and from areas engulfing 21 coral reef islands, causing damage to the reef eco system.