Intro: The ‘World Science Ocean Congress & Expo—2015’ discussed the concern over India’s fish wealth which is declining alarmingly due to extensive juvenile fishing and unregulated trawling in the Indian Ocean region.
The four-day World Ocean Science Congress & Expo—2015 (WOSC), jointly organised by Swadeshi Science Movement and Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) was held at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kochi from February 5 to 8. The Congress witnessed the presence of various scientists, oceanographers and marine experts from across the world. About 450 technical papers were presented, in 13 sessions, by 86 Indian and 14 foreign institutions.
The Congress was inaugurated by Honourable Governor of Kerala Justice P Sathasivam in the presence of Kerala Minister of Fisheries, Harbour & Excise K Babu. Dominic Presentation MLA S Sharma, KUFOS Vice-Chancellor and WOSC 2015 Chairman Dr B Madhusoodana Kurup, National Fisheries Development Board Chief Executive Dr M V Rao, WOSC 2015 Secretary General Dr VN Sanjeevan, Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory Director Dr S Anantha Narayanan and Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services Director Dr Satish Shenoy were the other speakers.
Secretary General of Vijnan Bharati A Jayakumar said, “The members of the WOSC consortium will sit together to evolve a comprehensive policy document based on the recommendations drawn over the concern of fishing community and will submit it to the Prime Minister.”
One of the main recommendations was the formation of a separate ministry to bring all agencies and institutions working in the field of ocean and fisheries research under one roof.
Governor in his inaugural address, stated that reckless consumption of sea foods and their imprudent commercialisation are detrimental to the organic diversities of Indian seas and the very existence of the mankind.
Fishermen and fisherwomen meets were organised as part of the Congress. They turned platforms for the fishing community to raise their concerns before the scientific community.
Jayakumar expressed his concern for the fishing communities and the need for the State government to resolve the issues faced by them, the challenges and risks involved in their work and to safeguard their interests and to notify the Central government regarding the same.
The fisherwomen meet highlighted the issues of malnutrition among the female children in the coastal districts of Kerala and sought the intervention of the government agencies to address the same.
Naval officers, who attended the Congress, stressed the importance of including coastal security in the curriculum in schools and colleges. Scientists of various research agencies had deep deliberations on the research activities undertaken by the respective agencies in ocean exploration and renewable energy.
Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Science (MoES) said that his ministry is developing a high-end equipment to harness and exploit the deposits of gas hydrates in Indian Ocean. He was addressing the conference in connection with the WOSC. He added that gas hydrates would be a sustained source of energy for the whole country.
A gadget was displayed in the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services’ (INCOIS) stall which can help to learn more about the movements and the habitat of the fish with the help of GPS and satellite. It is a fish-tag named PSAT (Prop-up Satellite Archival Tag date)
The marine experts, during the Ocean Summit and Round Table Discussions, pointed out that India’s fish wealth was declining alarmingly due to extensive juvenile fishing and unregulated trawling in the Indian Ocean region.
—T Satisan from Kochi