Wednesday , March 21 2018
Home / Goa News Highlights / Zuari bay a marine goldmine, finds new study

Zuari bay a marine goldmine, finds new study

Panaji: Zuari bay is turning out to be the state’s fish biodiversity hotspot with a study by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Old Goa, yielding a 320-strong list of aquatic species, comprising 255 finfish and 65 shellfish species.ICAR’s project on ‘Coastal fish biodiversity and artificial fish habitats’ from October 2013 to September 2017 proved to be an exciting exercise for the fisheries scientists. They managed to catalogue 95 pelagic species that live near the ocean surface and 160 demersal species that prefer a seabed habitat. The 65 shellfish species, included 40 crustacean species and 25 molluscan species. “Zuari estuary is the most diverse coastal ecosystem in the state in terms of fish count and density. Its high productivity is mainly due to fresh water mixing with saline water and presence of mangrove fringes,” says fisheries scientist G B Sreekanth.With its broad yawning mouth and continuous influence of sea water, the Zuari estuary is 14km long and 6.5km wide and an average depth of two to 16 metre.Sand and gravel largely form the river bed layer, but rocky patches along the coast at Siridao, Cacra, Odxel, Bambolim, Nauxim and other villages offer a protected and sheltered habitat for breeding of marine and brackish water fishes. “During August to September, many species are in abundance here, says local fisherman Sanjay Pereira.
Fears of pollution are high due to riverside industrial activity, especially shipyards, rusting barges and effluents from households. Studies by scientists have found metallic content in some shellfish species. “Many fish species are found in lesser quantities, such as windowpane oysters, bamboo sharks and others,” Pereira said.The rocky outcrops keep the destructive trawlers at bay. “Only smaller gillnet and traditional fishery can be carried out in the estuary, which is sustainable for fish breeding and conservation,” says Sreekanth. Diving underwater with cameras and also checking the catch landed at various points helped the scientists estimate the fish biodiversity in the Zuari estuarine ecosystem. An average of 1,000-tonne catch – one-fourth of Goa’s brackish water catch – is hauled up annually at these medium-sized landing centres.“All the fish we get in the sea needs a different habitat for their breeding and colonization. Zuari bay is very important location as the large number of species are getting constant inflow of food,” says director of ICAR, Old Goa, E B Chakurkar ICAR has submitted the report to the Goa government and fisheries department. While the study on Zuari, which is a lifeline for fishermen, has further boosted research into the marine resource-rich area by National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) scientists, the data is considered vital for conservation.“The loss of precious fishery resources and their habitats due to pollution, coastal development and illegal fishing necessitates their replenishment through strategic conservation measures,” says Sreekanth. [TOI]

About admin

Check Also


‘Angry’ mining dependents won’t talk to Gadkari

Panjim: Accusing the State government of suppressing their voice by a forceful lathi charge, angry …