With the sea-level rise and subsequent coastal erosion turning out to become a national phenomenon, the state Fisheries Department has decided to devise plans to protect its shoreline. The state government which is planning to think beyond the conventional rock revetment and rock groynes for protecting its coasts might switch to scientific approaches, including the creation of offshore breakwaters.
It is also learnt it will seek the assistance of Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Kochi-based Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) and Central Marine Fishery Research Institute (CMFRI) for coming out with a result-oriented strategy.
“As far as the state is concerned coastal erosion is a serious matter. It has been identified that 325 km of our coastline is vulnerable to erosion,” said Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma. “Though various steps were being taken to prevent the same it is time to think beyond rock revetment and rock groynes,” she said. According to the minister, though there were several state and Central agencies that were conducting research into the reasons behind sea rise and subsequent coastal erosion, the Fisheries Department is planning to consolidate their findings and to initiate steps in this regard.
At the same time, in a study conducted by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management on shoreline changes between 1975 and 2011, it has been highlighted that a shift in coastline towards coastal habitation due to sea erosion has been noticed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Further, India’s Second National Communication submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change projects the sea level might rise by 3.5 to 34.6 inches which may further result in saline coastal groundwater, endangering wetlands and inundating valuable land and coastal communities.
As per the report, the most vulnerable stretches along the western Indian coast are Khambat and Kutch in Gujarat, Mumbai and parts of the Konkan coast and south Kerala.
Meanwhile, National Fishworkers Forum general secretary T Peter said though coastal erosion remains a fact, the Union Cabinet might have turned a blind eye to the same as it approved the CRZ Notification 2018. According to him, the provisions that have been included in the notification might pave the way to further sell off our coastal land and water to corporate and business houses by removing restrictions on constructions and activities detrimental to coastal natural resources.
Earlier, Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Arjun Ram Meghwal while answering Shashi Tharoor in the Lok Sabha said the Centre is well aware various stretches along the coastline of Kerala are facing coastal erosion. The minister also said the Union Government supplements the efforts of the state by way of technical guidance and financial assistance.