Summary of Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission No. IO50-03-0060PresentationPoster

ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACTS ON THE BIODIVERSITY OF CHILIKA LAKE, A BRACKISH WATER COASTAL LAGOON ON INDIAN EAST COAST

Biraja Kumar Sahu*1, Premalata Pati1, R. C. Panigrahy1

1 Berhampur University, India

ABSTRACT :

Anthropogenic impacts on Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia (Lat. 19░28′-19░54′N and Long. 85░05′-85░38′E) on the east coast of India are discussed. This lake is a complex coastal wetland that represents combination of fresh, brackish and marine waters and forms a prominent biodiversity hotspot along the Indian east coast. Its Nalaban Island area serves as wintering ground for thousands of avian guests, and the central and outer channel areas supports for congregation of Irrawaddy dolphins. The lake provides an array of goods and services to the local community, and more than two lakh fisherfolk families and tour operators obtain their livelihood from it. Although the lake is experiencing environmental changes since its origin, large scale degradations had occurred in recent decades due to anthropogenic interventions and it was designated as a ┐Ramsar site┐ in 1981. Siltation, chocking of the mouth, salinity reduction, weed infestation, gheri culture, overfishing, chemical pollution and solid wastes including plastic litters have emerged as key factors behind the degradation and loss of biodiversity. To ameliorate the above problems, a new mouth was dredged open on 23rd September, 2000 that facilitated water exchange between the lake and adjacent Sea, and this hydrological intervention indeed has improved the water quality, reduced weed infestation, favoured the flushing out of silt load and recruitment of fish and shellfish stock. However anthropogenic influences like overfishing, destructive fishing methods, gheri culture, unplanned tourism, domestic waste disposal, conflict in fisheries are still continuing affecting the biodiversity and its resources.