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Reef Watch Karnataka Program

“By 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish in the ocean”

Reef Watch, an Indian NGO based in the Andaman Islands, has been working on marine conservation since 1993. One of their more recent projects focuses on conservation along the coast of Karnataka. Karnataka has a broad coastline of over 320 kilometers and is currently facing many coastal issues including improper land use, overexploitation of natural resources (fish, sand), effluents from industries located on or near the coast, plastic litter and loss of marine life.

You may have heard shot in the dark stories of a whale stranded on a beach in Southern India, yet these strandings happen more than we know and are quite harmful to marine megafauna populations, of which many are endangered. Reef Watch, with the help of the Karnataka Forest Department, aims to tackle these issues hand by hand to not only save coastal communities but also to help marine life thrive in an area that can be restored! Using a large scale, low cost and holistic approach, Reef Watch’s Karnataka program main objectives include:

    1. Conserving the vast number of marine megafauna that are often found stranded on the coast
    2. Conserving their environments, the coasts through clean ups and dune restoration

Image by ‘ReefWatch’

Reef Watch’s Karnataka program is leveraging collaboration with the Karnataka Government in order to attack the problem by combining three key players:

    1. Education institutes
    2. Innovators
    3. Coast communities

By educating communities on the importance of coastal conservation efforts and marine mammal networks (for when megafauna are stranded), the Karnataka coasts have an increased chance of being saved. Bringing these communities together will help change the way we interact with the ocean, make way for sustainable development and restore the Karnataka coastline for all members of the community.

Image by ‘ReefWatch’

Reef Watch currently has various programs dedicated to cleaning up the coasts. Donations have helped mobilize volunteers whether it’s related to rehabilitating turtles and buying tanks for them, funding garbage bags and gloves for garbage cleanups and more. If you’re ready to do your part in ocean conservation- consider donating to an organization that you know is using your money well.

Indian Sea Turtle conservation organisations

Image by ‘ReefWatch’

    • Laboratory for Aquatic Biology (LAB) project at Kukrail Center, Lucknow
    • Red-crowned Roofed Turtle Recovery Program in Chambal
    • River Conservation Center along the Terai Arc Landscape
    • Nature Discovery Center on Brahmaputra River
    • Northern River Terrapin Recovery Project in Sunderbans

Here are a few things you can do if you want to help sea turtle conservation.

Image by ‘ReefWatch’

    1. Refuse Single Use plastic. If each of us makes a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastic we use lesser life-threatening waste will end up in the oceans.
    2. Actively participate in beach clean ups in your neighbourhoods.
    3. If you come across a turtle laying eggs or a turtle nest, ensure you do not disturb it and let others around you know that too.e
    4. Be aware about issues concerning sea turtles and spread this amongst your friends and family.
    5. There are various volunteering positions available where i can donate time and funds to help these organisations continue their important turtle conservation work.
      (Some volunteer projects Playa Tortuga Conservation Project, The Watamu Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, The Ocean Leatherback Sea Turtle Project, The Island Conservation Program)

Special thanks to Umeed Mistry, Reef Watch, and WCS-India for allowing us to use there wonderful images for this site

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