"When it comes to marine ecosystems, the reality is that conventional measures of declaring protected areas are not successful. We must look at newer approaches for conservation. While there is a lot of ambiguity over the conservation reserves in the Wildlife
Protection Act, 1972, it may be the way forward," Apte said. Conservation reserves allow for greater participation from local communities, he added.
Extending the project to Andaman and Nicobar, where there are many more species, will throw up challenges. Lakshadweep had only two species of giant clams, whereas Andaman and Nicobar have five species, Apte said.
"The greater challenge in Andaman and Nicobar is that there are more stakeholders. Unlike the homogenised human habitation in Lakshadweep, communities in Andaman and Nicobar are numerous and varied,"he said.
The project received a shot in the arm after the UK-based Whitley Fund for Nature recently announced a grant of Â£70,000 (about Rs 64 lakh) for the initiative.
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