Goa Biodiversity Board to ask NIO for a detailed study

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Panaji, Jun 12 (UNI) The Goa State Biodiversity Board has decided to employ the services of the city-based prestigious National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), to undertake a detailed study and identify bio-diversity sensitive habitats along the coast, including estuaries and riverines.

The Board, which met here today under the chairmanship of state environment minister Aliexo Sequiera, also decided to engage another competent agency to identify ''biodiversity hotspots'' such as bird sanctuaries, forests and coral reefs at the earliest.

The government would declare the places identified as sensitive areas for protection under the Biological Diverity Act and Rules forthwith, Mr Sequiera told mediapersons here.

The Board took serious note of the representation made by Chicalim Villagers Action Committee, which sought protection of the Chicalim Bay under the Act from the proposed ship building institute -cum-shipyard project for which Goa Costal Zone Management Authority had recently given no objection certificate.

The Chicalim Bay, the committee said, has rich marine bio-diversity, including critically endangered mollusc ''Mendios'' commonly known as ''Windowpane oyster (Placenta Placenta), besides ''fiddler crabs'', indicating the ''khazan land'' feature of the area.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has included the oyster as a protected species under the schedule IV of the amended Wildlife Protction Act, 1972.

The Committee, he said, also urged the Board to direct the Chicalim village panchayat to comply with the Biological Diversity Act, besides constituting a bio-diversity management committee forthwith for protecting the Bay.

UNI BM SSS LS BD2107

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