The first of its kind to be held in India, the World Ocean Science Congress was opened today in Kochi, Kerala with Governor P. Sathasivam deploring the irrational exploitation of ocean life in pursuit of economic gains.
The governor said oceans are under threat and endanger the human existence in turn if the commercial exploitation of ocean life, especially huge fishing networks continue fishing in deep waters unabated.
He reminded that the ocean sector has been facing the collapse of major fisheries, displacement of the fishing communities, disappearance of mangroves, erosion of maritime econology and culture.
The World Ocean Science Congress (WOSC), organised jointly by the Swadeshi Science Movement-Kerala, WOSC Consortium, and the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), will focus on dangers and threats to maritime culture and coastal life. Keral has one of the longest coastlines in India and its culture reflects dependance on maritime resources, especially fisheries.
Referring to the Indian Ocean, the governor said it is highly productive ocean but little understood. Effective management of the Indian Ocean is “a challenging task due to lack of regional cooperation, population pressures on coastal belts, and socio-economic constraints,” he said.
Kerala Minister for Fisheries K. Babu said the recent deep sea fishing policy will pose challenge to the fishermen in Kerala and sought the Centre to revisit the report and ensure the livelihood and security of fishermen in the country.
Oceans are the rich source for both living and non-living but fishing in ocean needs effective management system. According to the Food And Agriculture Orgnanization (FAO) of the UN, 18% of fishing in Indian ocean is illegal.
Socioeconomic constraints, lack of regional cooperation and an open access fishery with no trade restrictions compound the problem of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, which will be focused during the ocean congress.