Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins off Mumbai Coast

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To be able to observe dolphins from one’s balcony or from shore is a possibility for most of us in Mumbai. There must have been a time when Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) roamed this coastal stretch in large numbers. Today they are scattered in small pockets, one of which is the bay off Raj Bhavan, Malabar Hill. Other locations in Bombay, where these dolphins are seen is Worli, off Chowpatty in South Mumbai, Marine Drive, Sassoon Docks, and … Read More

Whale and Dolphin Surprises in Goa

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A group of us ventured out to sea off the coast of Goa on a fishing trawler for a full-day survey of pelagic birds. These birds spend most of their lives out at sea, living a solitary life, and visit certain islands only during breeding season. We started our explorations in Goan waters in 2017, but our last two trips, on 14th and 21st October, 2018 were exciting and memorable for a completely different reason.

We usually start off by … Read More

Poached Gangetic Dolphin, Malda, West Bengal

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This image of a poached Gangetic Dolphin was photographed yesterday in Bhabanathtola, Bhutni village, Malda district, West Bengal. The man was was probably carrying it from Hiranandapur towards Mathurapur.

The Forest Dept. and the police are visiting area today (30-Dec-2017). DFO Koushik Sarkar said, “We are taking the matter seriously and have also informed the police.”

Read TOI Kolkata report.

In Bengal the dolphin is called the Shushuk and is just another fish-like creature for them, and is consumed locally … Read More

Goa’s Marine Mammals in Danger

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Skipping the Important Details — What About Mormugao’s Marine Mammals?

The coast of Goa has a rich variety of coastal and marine habitats which, besides supporting a lot of biodiversity, also sustains the tourism industry that forms the state’s economic backbone. All of this is now on the verge of destruction, with the latest developments proposed by the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), in association with Jindal SWPL, Adani and Vedanta.

This plan, to expand the port and develop a large … Read More

Sighting of a Super Pod of Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphins off Chennai Coast

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On 6th August 2016, while on a pelagic birdwatching trip off the coast of Chennai, we stumbled upon a huge pod of dolphins approximately about 22 kms from the coast. Initially we thought it could be a group of different species as we saw a lot of movement, and breaching dolphins jumping high up in the air at a distance. They kept moving fast with one or the other individual breaching every now and then. There were calves and adults, … Read More

Empty Sea Syndrome

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Overfishing and unsustainable practices are causing fish to disappear from the world’s oceans at unprecedented rates. Pooja Rathod and Tiasa Adhya interact with fishermen in Malvan along the Maharashtra coast to learn about the impact of trawlers and the exploitation of dwindling marine resources.

“Pannas… don hazaar saahashe… paan she sattar!” The bidding calls started at Rs. 50 and reached Rs. 5,000. The monsoon month of July notwithstanding, trade was brisk inside the fish auction market in Malvan, a small Read More

Anatomy of Shark Fisheries in Gujarat, India

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Gujarat is gifted with a beautiful 1600 km coastline, the longest in India, and a wide continental shelf, making its waters nutrient rich and diverse in marine fauna. It tops the charts in fish production, and has the highest quantities of sharks harvested in India (CMFRI, 2013). Existing catch-related data collected over the years indicated dwindling shark harvests. While at ground level, efforts to increase fish catch were intensified, it was important to study shark fisheries and local fishing trends … Read More

A First-hand Account of Incidental Dolphin Entrapment in a Fishing Net

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“Dolphin!” the driver of the fishing boat said to me excitedly, as he shook me awake from my slumber in the cabin. It was pitch dark outside. I looked at the time – it was ten past one in the morning. We were far from shore, almost eighty kilometres off the middle of the Karnataka coast, and on the crystal clear, inky blue waters of the continental shelf, just over two-hundred feet deep at our location.

Out on these seemingly … Read More

Studying India’s Marine Mammals — An Interview with Dipani Sutaria

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In a wide-ranging email interview with CI’s Shekar Dattatri, independent Indian ecologist, Dipani Sutaria, gives us a glimpse into her quest to study marine mammals. Based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Dipani is affiliated to James Cook University, Australia, from where she completed her PhD on Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lagoon in eastern India. She is a member of the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group. Her current research activities cover human-animal interactions, marine and aquatic mammals, animal behavior, urban biodiversity assessments, and Read More

Something Fishy — Emptying India’s Seas

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Marine organisms are frequently seen as resources that can be used or extracted seemingly limitlessly. They certainly do not come to mind as wildlife, which are in need of as much protection as terrestrial creatures, if not more. Mindless fishing or harvesting, combined with unsustainable methods, have wreaked havoc on marine systems. Seafood encompasses any sea life that is fit for consumption by humans, and additionally marine organisms are used as ‘resources’ in a variety of ways – as pets, … Read More

Marine Alert!

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According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, fish output in India doubled between 1990 and 2010. The populations of many marine species are threatened as a direct consequence of over-fishing to meet the increasing global demand (Myers et al., 2007). Many of these species have no local demand and are exported to China, USA, South-east asia etc. Two such species are shown in the image above – Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma) and Manta … Read More

Sail Tales — Spotting Terrestrial Birds at Sea

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In November 2013, our team from National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) set out on a ship R/V Roger Revelle hosted by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for 17 days covering around 6000km in the offshore waters of the Bay of Bengal Sea to document marine mammals. We came across 12 species of marine mammals including blue whales, killer whales and sperm whales. Apart from these we saw turtles, flying fish, butterflies, dragonflies and, unexpectedly, some terrestrial birds. The expedition … Read More

Limulus Oil Seller in Kolkata

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This picture was taken in May 2012 on the streets of Central Kolkata, West Bengal. I had been out doing street photography in my locality. Since I am very much concerned about conservation of nature and natural habitats, this shop caught my attention. I am a biology student and so I knew what these creatures were. These are live limulus or horseshoe crabs. Horseshoe crabs are rare marine fauna that have to be conserved. They are living fossils. A … Read More

Framing Ecologically Sound Policy on Linear Intrusions Affecting Wildlife Habitats

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In the 20th meeting of the Standing Committee of the NBWL held on 13 October 2010, it was discussed that linear intrusions were a serious issue and a sound policy needs to be framed consulting various experts. The Chairman requested the member of the Standing Committee from the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, to prepare a background paper that could be discussed at the next meeting to move towards the formulation of a policy on linear intrusions at the national level. … Read More

Orissa Imposes Seven-month Ban On Fishing Near Turtle Nesting Sites

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Orissa has imposed a 7-month fishing ban within 20 kms of the coastline in three districts where there are olive ridley turtle nesting sites. Turtles have started congregating for their annual mating and mass nesting ritual. The ban has been imposed near the beaches of Gahirmatha, Rushikulya and Devi. Patrolling will be intensified to enforce the ban strictly. Last year, there were two nesting events and a record 7.2 lakh turtles had nested on the beaches. However, despite many conservation … Read More

Report Indicates Five Sea Turtle Danger Zones Exist in the Waters of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

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A study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has identified 11 most endangered turtle species and has said that the five of the danger zones are in the exclusive economic zones of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Poaching and killing of wildlife is rampant on Indian shores. The Olive Ridley and the Hawksbill turtles nest on Indian shores and they face their most danger from becoming bycatches in fisheries as well as direct harvest of turtles and … Read More

National Centre for Marine Biodiversity Coming up in Gujarat

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A National Centre for Marine Biodiversity (NCMB) is coming up in Jamnagar, Gujarat. The centre will have the goal of safeguarding the biodiversity of coastal area. It is the first research institute set up in a public private partnership in the country. Jamnagar is close to India’s only Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch. The overall mission of the centre will be to support integrated management of coastal and marine biodiversity and ensure sustainable development and hazard management. … Read More

Coral Reefs Face Extinction Before the End of the Century

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Coral reefs around the world are facing extinction before the end of the century, due to increasing acidity in the ocean. A study which analyzed volcanic seeps that emit minerals and gases has shown that diversity and complexity of Coral Reefs drops as pH values fell from 8.1 to 7.8 and reef development stopped completely when the pH fell to below 7.7. The study of the seeps comes closest to simulating the effects of man made CO2 emissions. … Read More

Study to understand impact of Jaitapur Nuclear Project on Marine Ecology and Biodiversity

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The National Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has planned to undertake a study to understand the possible effects of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project on the marine ecology and biodiversity. The study will be conducted by five environmental organizations and headed by the BNHS director, A.R. Rahmani. The marine ecology around Jaitapur is considered vibrant. The study is expected to take a year and cost Rs. 5.86 crore. However, activists and experts are skeptical of the study as environment … Read More

Sixteen dolphins found washed ashore dead in Puducherry (Pondicherry)

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Sixteen long-nosed dolphins were found dead at three places on the Puducherry coast. This is the 20th incident in 16 months. Wildlife officials visited the spot and inspected the dead mammals. One carcass was sent to the Rajiv Gandhi College for Veterinary Sciences for detailed analysis. All the dead appeared to be members of a pod and it is suspected that this was a case of mass stranding. … Read More