Sancoale bay likely to get biodiversity heritage site status

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April 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm #6378

The Goa State Biodiversity Board (GSBB) is planning to declare Sancoale as a biodiversity heritage site.

A 12-member Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) of Chicalim village will be formed shortly to carry out a three-six month study obtaining information about the details of biological resources that need to be protected and preserved in the village.

The committee will comprise of knowledgeable or experienced people in the field of forestry/wildlife/agro-biodiversity among the villagers, nominated by the local body and aimed at promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including preservation of habitats, conservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivators, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals, micro-organisms and chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity.

It may be recalled that the state government had planned to set up a marina at Sancoale bay. However, it was strongly opposed by traditional fishermen from Mormugao taluka citing that it will affect their livelihood and also cause destruction of the eco-fragile area.

Speaking to this daily, member secretary of GSBB Pradip Sarmokadam said that there is no proper documentation and no BMC was formed earlier for a scientific study to declare Sancoale as a biodiversity heritage site. “Hence, by the end of this week, the BMC will be formed.”

“We had reinspected the site recently along with officials from the water resource department, public works department, agriculture, environment and town and country planning departments and they have now submitted their report listing out the endangered flora and fauna species. The report will be forwarded to the BMC to assist it in its study. After the completion of the BMC study, its report will then be placed before the state government-appointed committee for evaluation and scrutiny purpose,” said Sarmokadam.

The Chicalim Villagers’ Action Committee had last year proposed to the past GSBB members to provide biodiversity heritage status to the Sancoale bay. Subsequently, a biodiversity heritage committee was formed and an inspection was also carried out by the GSBB members along with six concerned government departments, to go ahead with the proposal. However, it faced a setback, as there was no BMC formed, which is mandatory under the biological diversity rules.

According to the guidelines for selection and management of the biodiversity heritage sites, it is mandatory on village level biodiversity heritage committee to form a 12-member Biodiversity Management Committee to conduct a study over a period of 3 to 6 months in consultation with the concerned community irrespective of occupation, gender or strata so that they can effectively document the local resources, animals including marine animals, habitats, threats and pressure to the biodiversity.

To a question whether the marina project will be virtually blocked once the site is declared a biodiversity heritage site, Sarmokadam said that it is premature to comment on such an issue without having any study in hand. “However, members of the community should not fear that once the village is declared protected, they will not be allowed to renovate or build new houses. It will not hamper their traditional activities and will also not freeze any development in the village,” said Sarmokadam.

Apart from opposition from the villagers, the marina project is facing major hurdles from the environment protection agencies too.

Source/Reference: Navhind Times, “Sancoale bay likely to get biodiversity heritage site status

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