India: Hasmukh Hoslo Jiwa
The “National Conservation Action Plan of Dugong” is close to finalisation.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests of Government of India held a National Consultation to discuss issues related to dugongs and their habitats in India with all stakeholders in 2014.
Private financing is being sourced to develop a unit which involves the Fisheries Department, Forest Department, private scuba companies, NGOs and resorts to develop a community monitoring of dugongs and making sure fishermen are not casting their nets in known dugong migration routes in the Andaman Islands.
This huge combined effort will make the dugong a flagship species and eliminate any chance of it being hunted for meat.
The Fisheries Department will also train fishermen on how to release a dugong if it is entangled in the nets and will compensate the fishermen for the loss of the net.
The financing will provide boats dedicated for monitoring dugongs in the various areas and will be in connection with the Forest Department so we can also check for other endangered or illegal species being caught in nets.
Since, each individual knows about the activities of others in the islands, this community policing will be very active with stopping accidental or poaching activities in the area.
If this experimental project succeeds then it will be duplicated in the Gulf of Mannar and Gujarat, the other locations where dugongs are found in India.