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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Programme held to explain conservation techniques

The Minister for Animal Husbandry, P. Geetha Jeevan, inaugurated a workshop on `Conservation of marine resources in Gulf of Mannar,' organised by the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT) in Tuticorin on 9th March.

The programme was organised to explain conservation techniques to members of eco development committees functioning in 67 coastal villages in the district.

J.K. Patterson Edward, director, Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute, affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, said that destructive fishing techniques and over exploitation had reduced live coral cover in the region in the last decade.

"Already, reefs over 32 sqkm were degraded," he said.

Similarly, pearl oyster beds and sea cucumbers had been reduced over the last few years, owing to indiscriminate harvesting.

Though awareness among the coastal community had gone up in the past five years, they are yet to give importance to "sustainable harvest."

"A survey conducted along Tuticorin coast in 2001 said that only 29 per cent men and three per cent women know about the importance of corals on fishery production," he said.

However, during a similar survey in 2004, it was found that 80 per cent men and 20 per cent women had gained knowledge on corals.

Ms. Jeevan released a manual, a booklet and a compact disc, which contained details about the status of marine resources in the Mannar region.

The materials tell the readers about endangered creatures, the hunting of which is now prohibited under Wildlife Protection Act.

The Minister also distributed fishing nets to 25 villagers from Pazhayakayal and disbursed revolving fund assistance to the tune of Rs. 2.6 lakh to 13 self-help groups.

The Collector, R. Palaniyandi, and senior forest officials V.K. Melkani, L. Nadhan, V. Naganathan and S. Shembagamoorthy were present.

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