Taking up conservation of marine ecosystems and biodiversity on a priority basis, the Kerala Forest Department organized a one-day workshop on “Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation Initiatives in Kerala” on Saturday at its headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram.
Senior officers from the Forest Department including Shri P.K. Kesavan, IFS (PCCF and Head of Forest Force (HoFF)), Shri Surendra Kumar, IFS (PCCF (WL) and CWW), and Shri V. Gopinathan, IFS (PCCF and HoFF, Retd.) were present during the workshop, attended by the department staff. An initiative of Shri Surendra Kumar, IFS (PCCF (WL) and CWW), the workshop was organized by Smt. Padma Mahanti, IFS (CCF (E&TW)) and her team.
Representative stakeholders, scientists/researchers, journalists, and NGO representatives from various agencies and institutes attended the workshop. Shri. N. Vasudevan, IFS (Addl. PCCF (Mangrove), Maharashtra Forest Department), Dr. R. Ramesh, Director, and Dr. Deepak Samuel from National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Dr. A. Bijukumar, Dean (Faculty of Science), University of Kerala, Shri. Ashok Kumar, Wildlife Warden of Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, and Dr. Sajan John, Marine Program Head from Wildlife Trust of India delivered a presentation on various issues pertaining to coastal and marine biodiversity.
Panel discussion being chaired by Shri Surendra Kumar (Chief Wildlife Warden, Kerala Forest Department) along with Shri N. Vasudevan, IFS (APCCF (Mangrove), Maharashtra Forest Department) (on extreme right) and other resource personnel.
A team from WCS-India comprising Dr. Vardhan Patankar (Head of Marine Program) and Ms. Paromita Ray (Program Associate) also participated as resource persons in the workshop. During the workshop, Dr. Vardhan Patankar highlighted the importance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as tools to sustain and conserve marine biodiversity off the Kerala coast. Ms. Paromita Ray talked about the growing incidences of illegal trade in marine species particularly in shark fins, gill plates of rays, sea horses and sea cucumbers.
Dr. Vardhan Patankar (Program Head of Marine Program, WCS-India) presenting a talk on the role of Marine Protected Areas as tools for sustenance of marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and local communities.
A panel discussion was also conducted wherein various issues pertaining to marine conservation along Kerala’s coast were discussed to enable building the roadmap for coastal & marine biodiversity conservation and to discuss issues of the declaration of new Marine Protected Areas in the state.
Ms. Paromita Ray (Program Associate, WCS-India) making a presentation on illegal trade in marine species
The Kerala Forest Department has taken up conservation of marine ecosystems and biodiversity on a priority basis and the workshop was part of this initiative.