Marine Ecosystems Chat dated 18 November 2005
( Arpit Deomurari, who was to moderate the chat was unwell and could not come)
Susan Welcome to IWC chat on "Marine Ecosystems"
cking Hi susan, This is commander unnithan
Susan Hi commander
cking what is the subject speciality?
Susan I am glad you made it to the chat room and we look forward to hear from you
Susan The subject is Marine Ecosystems
cking I wanted to know has any one studied the underwater signature of the sethusamudram (SS) canal area?
cking Means, any one has any idea how it looks like?
Susan Last month we chatted about coral reefs, then someone suggested let us talk about Marine Ecosystems this month.
Susan Can you tell us about Sethu
Susan There are news reports which are confusing about the canal affecting and not affecting the eco system
cking Ok, good. My problem was, when we were discussing about the SS project, the authorities made a sweeping statement that there is no damage to the ecosystem prevailing down there. I wanted to verify this statement with ref
to what they might have said.
cking It was as if some one had taken a photo of the area and got satisfied. To the best of my belief, no one had done any survey along the proposed route of about 126 km, but just beating around the bush.
Susan Please do. We are keen to know the real situation.
cking In fact I was working in that area for about 2-3 years not for scientific work, but patrolling against the insurgents and was making use of boats, helicopters and ships. I did personally observe colonies underwater and
now the auth says that there are nothing along. How does one reconcile?
Susan We have high tech facilities for underwater photography so why not send the photos ( from BNHS) to the authorities to disprove them?
Susan It is always good to know what we are losing- than pretending that we are not losing anything.
cking They do agree that dredging will destroy ecosystems. They have found out that after dredging in Tuti harbour, the colonies of coral multiplied! This statement is recorded.
Susan Welcome gumdal
gumdal what is this about?
cking Sorry, I didn’t say that I photographed the area. I observed from the ships and helicopters !
cking If I had the facility, I would have gone straight to the CEC and gave them a stay order !
Susan But it is possible to have photo records
Susan Gumdal we are talking about Sethu Samudram canal
cking BNHS tried to rope in some of the agencies, but the quotes are very high and hence we left it at that.
Susan I guess the Mannar area is probably accessible only to the navy for photography?
cking It is possible. There is an equip called side scan sonal, which will give an underwater mapping along the proposed alignment of the canal. We insisted. But u know how the things are moving at the other end-- so I think
cking correction to my last. It is sonar and not sonal.
cking Unfortunately, if the Navy is doing it, it will become secret info not available for public debate.
gumdal Only we 3 to chat?
Susan If the Canal HAS to be built , well at least we must know the real damage it is causing so that some measures to minimize the damage can be adopted.
cking You remember the case of a boat found mapping the underwater off Kochi about 5 years back where a state minister was also involved. Underwater data is classified, unless taken for a purpose with the approval of the G of
Susan Gumdal, where are you from?
gumdal from karnataka
gumdal I am yet amateur to this field hope learning something from you people
Susan I am from Gurgaon and Comm. Unnithan from Mumbai
cking The whole world, including the shipping companies ( in camera) says that the canal is not economically viable. Only the mandarins of the corridors of power says otherwise.
Susan Yes I have been reading about the economic unviability
cking The destruction of 10 km area was accepted by them. Then they showed the so called model of Tuticorin harbour and carried the day.
Susan In fact we carried an article on SethuSamudram in our ezine.
cking They were magnanimous enough to take 3 repeat 3 bore hole samples for this length of 10 km, where as it would have been every 500 meters apart minimum.
Susan Does the word Marine Eco system cover wetlands too? Comm. Unnithan
cking Yes Ii have seen it. I have a collection of the entire SS project publications under the sun.
cking I do not think that the eco system cover the wet lands, for which I think the Ramsar sites covers.
gumdal OK bye, i am not understanding anything.
cking Eco system, in its real meaning can ( loosly be said) about a railway station also. Is it not? In that connection eco system can be for wet lands as well.
Susan I believe Mannar has got some endangered mammals too. The ships with sonar waves can spell their doom.
cking As no one else is there, i will dwell upon the pet subject.
Susan Yes, go on We are a voice in the wilderness- but let us hope it will be heard
cking Mannar has Dugong (end) and the canal will cut the path of the olive ridely turtles migratory route.
cking The turtles take the route from the northern SL to Coromandal coast and the ships of the canal may disturb them.
cking They claim that the canal will be about 20 km away from the nearest island and hence safe!
Susan The U.S Navy was sued recently for their sonar waves affecting whales and dolphins.
cking The Govt themselves have done some mistake. 1982 Fisheries act very categorically prohibits exploitation of any thing from the sea other than edible fish.
cking But if you go to Rameswaram, the number of species available for trade is endless.
cking At the same time, govt allows collection of sea weed as an alternate food (by another ministry- of course)
cking All these are confusing signals and the end result is the depletion of the near-shore eco systems
cking US Navy- I didn’t read. Was it so. Can you explain?
Susan Commander, if you can send me some digital pics of the illegal trade we will publish them on the website. BNHS is doing a wonderful job but we need many many more sane voices to to reach the public
Susan We have among our members people from govt depts too- Lack of awareness is the root cause for wrong decisions-
cking I must confess that I do posess some in kind itself. Sea horses dried, sea fans, shells, corals, Conches-- so I myself is a culprit. ( Dont tell any one--pl.
Susan About the US Navy we have published an article analysing the cause for damage in our ezine of July I think. I can send you the article.
cking During my tours I have come across some real hard working people in those area— who do their utmost to resist the mafia, who is bent upon destruction of the yield from sea.
cking But, Dr, how could you prove that it is affecting the animals?
Susan Sonar waves affect the eardrums of animals who bleed to death of pierced eardrums
Susan Conservationist groups found that post-mortem of hundreds of whales, beached in the Bahamas , showed signs of bleeding within the inner ear and the groups have raised protests against the US navy.
cking Where is Mr. Gundal?
Susan Hi Jana
Susan Jana where are you from?
Susan Commander, you have given us some first hand info about Sethu Samudram
Susan Hello, anyone there?