With the increasing threat of rising sea surface temperatures and the danger of coral reefs in various ecologically vulnerable places along the Indian coastline being wiped off, Maharashtra has decided to identify sites for restoration of coral across 35 hectares along the coastline of the state.
On Wednesday, the Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell signed an agreement with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research National Institute of Oceanography to carry out a baseline study to identify potential sites for coral restoration of corals along the Maharashtra coast.
This study is being carried out under the Government of India United Nations Development Programme -Green Climate Fund project titled ‘Enhancing Climate Resilience of India’s Coastal Community. ’
“The one-year project will identify and record stressed coral zones, as well highlight the causes that are stressing the ecosystem and to strive to reduce stressors. It will also look for sites for coral restoration in sub-tidal regions as well as prospective donor sites for restoration purpose,” said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forests.
Dr Ruchi Pant, chief climate change, Resilience, Biodiversity and Chemical Management, United Nations Development Programme, said Maharashtra would serve as a case study for similar efforts in other parts of the country.
Corals are carnivorous marine invertebrates that attach themselves to rocky intertidal zones or the ocean bottom and devour zooplanktons in addition to algae that live within them. They enjoy the same degree of protection as tigers and elephants under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Rising water temperatures, as a result of global warming, are causing corals to whiten or bleach, eventually causing reefs to disintegrate.