|Town/Region||Gulf of Mannar|
|Date||2 Dec 2004|
Sea snakes are common bycatch in fishing operations along the Indian coast. In spite of this, basic information on species and their ecology is lacking. The Gulf of Mannar (Southeast Indian coast) is one of the only two marine biospheres reserves along the coast of mainland India. It is located at the confluence of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The area has an immense ecological significance, in that it supports coral reefs and a high diversity of other marine life forms. Unfortunately, it also happens to be a region subjected to heavy fishing pressure wherein trawling is amongst the most destructive. Besides targeted commercial catch, sea snakes are also captured and often die either in the trawl nets or are killed by fishermen once onboard.
This study aims to obtain baseline information on sea snakes of this region and disseminate the same through lectures and posters targeted at fishing communities, NGO ‘s and government departments which have a decisive role to play in their conservation. The study will involve collecting dead sea snakes captured on commercial fishing trawlers from designated fish landing sites along the coast, in order to obtain information on sea snake species richness and also understand certain aspects of their ecology. Besides this, the study will also involve accompanying trawlers, which will provide an insight into understanding the sea snake species distribution along the coast, spatio-temporal variations in their diversity and most importantly the factors responsible for their mortality during the trawl process.