Climate change taking a toll on marine life: Bay of Bengal Programme

Some fish stocks are showing a declining trend in the Indian Ocean, calling for urgent intervention to support sustainably improving the fisheries.
Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | Pexels)
Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | Pexels)

CHENNAI:  The Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organisation (BOBP-IGO) has sought greater research cooperation among the member countries as climate change is taking a toll on the marine life in the Bay of Bengal.

Due to a combination of factors including climate change, rising river basins, and inadequate management the rich diversity of fish stocks in the Bay of Bengal are now being overexploited or collapsed, said Dr P Krishnan, Director of BOBP. He was presenting the status report of the region at the global conclave on mainstreaming climate change into international fisheries governance in Mahabalipuram.

The Indian Ocean is warming faster than other oceans, and this is disrupting the migratory routes and spawning grounds of the Hilsa fish, which is one of the important commercial fisheries in the region, the report said. Some fish stocks are showing a declining trend in the region, calling for urgent intervention to support sustainably improving the fisheries.

There is a special need for a climate science network among the countries, Dr Krishnan said, adding that due to a lack of capacity and funding, implementing large-scale programmes has become difficult. “The countries of the Bay of Bengal must work together to protect their shared fisheries resources.

They need to invest in research and development, improve management practices, and adopt sustainable fishing methods to protect the livelihoods of millions of people in the region,” he said. Detailing the way forward, he said that introducing financial mitigation measures, adopting green fishing, and building healthy stocks are the major plans of the BOBP.

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