Jeppiaar Fishing Harbour in Kanniyakumari to become hub for scientific research within a year

Sheela Rani, Director (Research), Sathyabama University, told TNIE the varsity’s Centre for Ocean Research is already a nodal agency recognised by MoES.
MoES Secretary M Ravichandran inaugurated the National Facility for Coastal and Marine Research in Sathyabama University on Friday
MoES Secretary M Ravichandran inaugurated the National Facility for Coastal and Marine Research in Sathyabama University on Friday Photo | Express

CHENNAI: Within a year, Jeppiaar Fishing Harbour Muttom Private Limited, the first private fishing harbour in the country, will be transformed into a research port and will act as a test bed for various scientific studies like biomonitoring and biodiversity profiling.

Following a request from the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology (SIST) Chancellor Mariazeena Johnson announced on Friday that within a year, the harbour in Kanniyakumari district will be developed into a research port complementing the ministry’s initiatives.

MoES Secretary M Ravichandran had proposed the idea, while inaugurating the National Facility for Coastal and Marine Research in Sathyabama University, which will focus on blue biotechnology. Sheela Rani, Director (Research), Sathyabama University, told TNIE the varsity’s Centre for Ocean Research is already a nodal agency recognised by MoES.

“We already have a field station at Muttom carrying out biofouling monitoring and research studies. Now, we will have a full-fledged research facility at the fishing harbour that will allow detailed assessment and impact of anthropogenic activities on marine ecosystems,” Rani said, on the sidelines of a two-day national workshop of blue biotechnology.

Inbakandan D, professor and head, Centre for Ocean Research, said, usually there is a lot of biofouling, accumulation of microorganisms, plants and algae, in port waters. This is due to movement of vessels.

“If they are native species, there is no threat. But, sometimes ships sailing from international waters bring along foreign organisms and pathogens that can be invasive. So, we have plans to conduct in-detail biomonitoring and profile the local biodiversity in the coastal waters so as to immediately detect any invasive species occurance.”

To a query, Ravichandran and NCCR Director MV Ramana Murthy said Jeppiaar fishing harbour is located strategically, having close access to both Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.

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