Friday January 24, 2020

CMFRI, ISRO Join Hands to Protect Coastal Wetlands

“Wetlands are highly prospective for some selective aquaculture ventures which will help the local people earn economical gains” he added

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In an effort to build resilience against the impact of climate change on wetlands, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have teamed up to map, validate and protect smaller wetlands in the coastal region and restore them through coastal livelihood programmes.

This is the first time that a fisheries institute is collaborating with the ISRO to develop a comprehensive climate resilient framework for fisheries and wetlands.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the CMFRI and the Space Applications Centre (SAC) of the ISRO to develop a mobile app and a centralised web portal with complete database of wetlands in the country which were smaller than 2.25 hectares.

Such smaller wetlands cover an area of more than 5 lakh hectares across the country, with Kerala alone having as many as 2,592 such wetlands.

According to the MoU, the two institutes will identify and demarcate the wetlands and restore the degraded ones through suitable livelihood options such as coastal aquaculture.

The mobile app will be used for real-time monitoring of the wetlands and giving advisories to the stakeholders and the coastal people.

climate, global warming, celsisu, oceansac
A fisherman stands on his boat as he fishes at the Tisma lagoon wetland park, also designated as Ramsar Site 1141 in the Convention on Wetlands, in Tisma, Nicaragua. VOA

The collaborative move is part of a national framework for fisheries and wetlands recently developed by the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), a project of the CMFRI.

The NICRA project aims to find ways and means to mitigate the impact of climate change on marine fisheries and coastal region. According to the MoU, the National Wetland Atlas, already developed by the SAC, will be updated with real-time data of physical, chemical and biological parameters of the wetlands to be provided by the CMFRI.

P.U. Zacharia, who is attached to the NICRA project, said the real-time data of the demarcated coastal wetlands would greatly help in developing a conservation plan for the degraded wetlands in the region, besides utilising these resources for livelihood prospects in the area such as shrimp and crab farming.

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“Smaller wetlands across the country are in a highly neglected state owing to multiple reasons. Climate variability induced rainfall drastically changes the physio-chemical characteristics of such wetlands, which was evidently seen during the devastating floods in Kerala last year.

“The collaborative initiative will help develop a comprehensive wetland information system which could facilitate the village-level wetland advisories to the local people by scientific communities,” Zacharia said.

“Wetlands are highly prospective for some selective aquaculture ventures which will help the local people earn economical gains” he added. (IANS)

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ISRO Sets up Regional Academic Centre for Space in Karnataka

Both the academic and research institutions will also collaborate in setting up optical telescope facilities under the Netra project for space object tracking, studying space weather, asteroids and near earth objects

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set up a regional academic centre for space at the National Institute of Technology (NITK) at Surathkal in Karnataka’s southwest Dakshina Kannada district, an official said on Saturday.

“The centre at NIT-K will conduct joint research and development in space technology applications to meet the needs of our space programmes,” space agency’s director for capacity building P.V. Venkitakrishnan said in a statement here.

The state-run ISRO will provide Rs 2 crore grant annually to NIT for the R&D projects and promotional activities through the year.

The space agency and the engineering institute signed an agreement on the industry-academic collaboration on Friday at Surathkal, about 380km from Bengaluru.

“The centre, fourth in the country, will also facilitate promoting space technology in the southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and be an ambassador for capacity-building, awareness and research and development (R&D), said Venkitakrishnan on the occasion.

A joint policy and management committee will guide the centre in optimal utilisation of the research potential, infrastructure, expertise and experience of the space agency and the autonomous institute.

“The committee will plan activities like research programmes of common interest and reviewing their projects periodically,” said the director.

ISRO’s visiting scientists and experts in space technology and NIT faculty members and researchers will direct the centre’s activities, including projects.

ISRO
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan, left, and Junior Indian Minister for Department of Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh address a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

“Students of under-graduation (B.Tech) and post-graduation (M.Tech) will be involved in one-year short-term research projects and 2-4 year long-term projects in advance space programmes,” said NIT K. Umamashewara Rao.

The intellectual property rights (patent) generated in the projects will be jointly owned by ISRO and NITK.

The other three such centres are Malaviya National Institute of Technology at Jaipur in Rajasthan, Gauhati University in Assam’s state capital and Kurukshetra University at Thanesar in Haryana.

In a related development, the city-based space agency also tied up with the state-run Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for cooperating to develop space situational awareness.

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“The agreement envisages utilisation of IIA’s expertise in astrophysics and astronomy for developing advanced technologies for inter-planetary space explorations,” said the space agency’s scientific secretary R. Umamaheswaran.

Both the academic and research institutions will also collaborate in setting up optical telescope facilities under the Netra project for space object tracking, studying space weather, asteroids and near earth objects.

“Collaboration will help us progress in various fields of astrophysics and astronomy,” said IIA Director Annapurni Subramaniam on the occasion. (IANS)