Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that Marine Biodiversity is an important natural resource whose conservation is as important as that of the Forests. Speaking on the Gulf of Mannar fishing issue, the minister said that fishermen from both countries should look at the sustainability of these valuable marine resources to avoid over-fishing.
He pointed out the need for regional cooperation on marine issues and said that India funded the establishment of SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (CZMC) to achieve the objective of managing coastal resources for their sustainable use. The minister made these comments at a conference held in New Delhi to mark World Environment Day on June 5.
The region includes some of the most extensive mangrove areas in the Indian Ocean, and some of the world's least disturbed coral reefs. These coastal ecosystems have been subjected to increasing exploitation, particularly over the last 20 years. CZMC has also arranged a Study Tour in collaboration with the Coast Conservation Department of Sri Lanka in April.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Fisheries- Rajitha Senaratne said that, his ministry aims at new mechanisms and methods to stop trawling in the Northern seas. A one-month period started from May 15, is considered as the fish breeding period, and fishermen, traditionally, avoid fishing in this part of the ocean. So the ministry aims at placing some barriers at strategic locations to stop destructive fishing methods. This year’s Ocean’s Day too was celebrated last week on June 8, and the minister’s message emphasised the ministry’s commitment to ensure the sustainable use of our aquatic resources.