THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Eminent marine biologist Dr N Balakrishnan Nair, who had a distinguished career spanning four decades as scientist, teacher and mentor of institutions, and who was the first to recommend the monsoon trawling ban to conserve fishery resources, has died.
He was 83. He was staying at Vazhuthacaud, Thiruvananthapuram.
A Padmasree awardee, Balakrishnan Nair had been bedridden for the past five years.
The end came at 12.20 p.m.
at his residence `Swathi’ on Wednesday.
He is survived by wife Gomati, son Dr B.Chandra Mohan and daughter Dr G.
Aparna Krishna Mohan.
The cremation will be held later.
A marine biologist who specialised in littoral ecology, fishery biology and conservation and management of living aquatic resources, his contributions in these fields have been widely acknowledged.
He is considered as the top authority in bio-deterioration of cellulose in aquatic environments.
Kerala first imposed a ban on monsoon trawling based on a report by a committee headed by Balakrishnan Nair.
Large-scale trawling had led to the depletion of marine resources prompting the government to appoint the committee.
While the ban triggered protests from the fishing community, recent studies have vindicated Balakrishnan Nair’s recommendation.
Subsequently, coastal states including Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat also adopted the ban as a conservation strategy.
He was also one of the first scientists in the country to conduct detailed studies on fish diseases, their nature, incidence and control measures to prevent massive outbreaks.
Other significant contributions include studies on the ecology of wetlands.
He also laid the foundation for conserving and managing mangroves and seaweeds.
The official positions which he had held include chairman, State Committee on Science, Technology and Environment; dean, Faculty of Science, Kerala University, and Professor Emeritus, Kerala University.
An author of over 400 original research publications, he has also been honoured with fellowships of various scientific bodies.
Among the many awards and honours which he had won include the Padmasree in 1984 and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize.