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July 26, 2023 08:12 pm | Updated July 27, 2023 02:39 am IST – VISAKHAPATNAM
The pantropical spotted dolphin sighted during the survey by the Visakhapatnam Zonal Base of the FSI. | Photo Credit: BY ARRANGEMENT
There are a good number of dolphins and a few whales on the East Coast of India, if the sample marine mammal stock assessment survey, conducted by the Visakhapatnam Zonal Base of the Fisheries Survey of India (FSI), is any indication.
The survey had commenced in July 2021, and would continue up to June 2024.
In all, 2,703 dolphins and four whales were sighted during the survey conducted from Latitude 14° North to 21° North and Longitude 82° East to 89° East in the upper East Coast of India along the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), covering Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal (12 to 200 nautical miles).
The larger marine mammal sighting survey was conducted by various FSI zonal bases on the East and West coasts, and the one in Port Blair, using the FSI fleet, all along the Indian EEZ, under the guidance of R. Jeyabhaskaran, Director-General, FSI, Mumbai.
The Risso’s dolphin spotted during the survey by the Visakhapatnam Zonal Base of the FSI. | Photo Credit: BY ARRANGEMENT
A total of 10,443 marine mammals, which included 10,416 dolphins of 16 species and 27 whales of four species, were sighted in the survey.
The survey was conducted as part of the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), which had been launched on September 10, 2020, with the objective of bringing in the ‘Blue Revolution’ through sustainable development of the fisheries sector for five years from 2020 to 2025, with a total outlay of ₹20,050 crore.
The research programme titled, ‘Marine Mammal Stock Assessment in India (MMSAI)‘, was enabling India to export seafood to the United States, which helped the nation earn valuable foreign exchange to the tune of US $2,632.08 million during 2022-23.
The US Department of Commerce was insisting on other countries to comply with the provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) for export of fish and fish products to the U.S.
“The survey aims at assessing the marine mammals along the Indian coast, and the methods to mitigate bycatch in the Indian fishing sector. Water samples are collected after every 50 nautical miles, and the water temperature and other parameters are recorded to determine the quality of water in the area. The three-year project, which started during 2021-22, has to completed by June 2024,” D. Bhami Reddy, Head of Office, FSI Visakhapatnam Zonal Base, told The Hindu.
“For the first time in India, a total of 150 Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) were sighted at 105 nautical miles south-east of Paradeep on October 25, 2021. We have spotted a large number of dolphins off Krishnapatnam, but they are in a few numbers off Visakhapatnam coast,” said G.V.A. Prasad, Junior Fisheries Scientist, FSI, Visakhapatnam Zone, who was the cruise leader.
Andhra Pradesh
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