Plea to remove ‘ghost nets’ from Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday ordered notice to the Centre and the State in a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to the authorities concerned to collect and dispose of ‘ghost nets’ (fishing nets lost or abandoned at sea) from the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice M.M. Sundresh ordered notice in the public interest litigation petition filed by K. Pushpavanam of Madurai. The petitioner complained that the ghost nets were responsible for trapping and killing millions of marine animals every year.

Relying on a news report, he said that at least six lakh to eight lakh tonnes of fishing nets were lost or thrown into the sea every year and these fishing nets alone accounted for 10% of the globe’s plastic pollution. He pointed out that if this continued, by 2050 the world’s ocean would have more plastic than fish.

As a result of plastic pollution, the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve was at the brink of extinction and destructive fishing practices were contributing to this. Only if plastic and ghost nets were removed from the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, marine flora and fauna could be saved, he said.

The Government of Kerala had adopted an initiative called ‘Suchitwa Sagaram,’ a clean sea mission. A similar initiative could be introduced in Tamil Nadu to make the sea and the coast plastic free. Programmes must be conducted to create an awareness among the fishermen on the ill effects of the ghost nets, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 7:52:53 PM |

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