Poaching in Andaman and Nicobar coasts: insights

Abstract

Tropical marine Islands are home to rich and highly endemic biodiversity because of their geographical seclusion. The geographical isolation supports the biodiversity against anthropogenic activities despite being vulnerable to natural disasters. Marine Islands hosts invaluable marine resources such as coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and its associated fisheries which play an important role in livelihood of the coastal communities through tourism and fishing. It is important to judiciously protect and manage these islands to conserve the rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity it hosts. Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI), India is a strategically located linear chain of 572 tropical Islands located in Bay of Bengal in close proximity to South East Asian (SEA) countries such as Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. This proximity attracts poachers from SEA countries for harvesting living marine resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of ANI posing significant threat to marine biodiversity and coastal security. Prudent approaches are required to address the issue of poaching by involving various stakeholders and a science-policy interface at regional level. Implementation of efficient and reliable monitoring-reporting systems could be worthy to address the issue of poaching. Mobile apps help lines, fishermen groups, aerial vehicles, Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) system and other satellite based tools can effectively deter poaching and illegal fishing. The importance of community participation and the ways through which the modern tools and community participation could compliment in curbing the incidences of poaching were discussed. Necessary precautionary approaches are essential at this point in ANI as it was understood through the review that poachers have gone down in recent years and this period could be effectively utilized towards planning and efficient management of such incidences in future. The status of poaching and its associated activities over these years and the possibilities on implementation of suitable monitoring and reporting systems in collaboration with stakeholders were discussed.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wholeheartedly thank and sincerely acknowledge the assistance rendered by The Directorate of Fisheries, Andaman and Nicobar Administration for providing the necessary data on fish landings, poachers and fish catches apprehended from poachers in past years. The authors also thank the Director, ICAR-CIARI for his encouragement in this work.

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Kiruba-Sankar, R., Lohith Kumar, K., Saravanan, K. et al. Poaching in Andaman and Nicobar coasts: insights. J Coast Conserv 23, 95–109 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11852-018-0640-y

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Keywords

  • Poachers
  • Sea cucumbers
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Stakeholders