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Maharashtra: Researchers spot blue whales after hundred years

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A group of researchers claimed to have spotted a mother-calf pair of blue whales, between March and May, 3 km away from the Sindhudurg coast in Maharashtra after nearly 100 years. Bryde’s whales were also seen by the researchers during the same period.

The findings were conducted by the Cetacean Population Study team, positioned at the Sindhudurg coast since the beginning of this year under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project on Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity, which was brought into action by Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell.

Ketki Jog, a member of Cetacean Population Study team said, “The blue whale sighting was that of a mother-calf pair. They were seen near Kunkeshwar, 2.7km offshore, at a depth of 16m.”

According to N Vasudevan, Chief Conservator of Forest, Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell, the last reported sighting of blue whale, the world’s largest animal, was in 1914.

Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) earlier claimed that another sighting of the mammal was observed in 2010 along the coast of Mangalore.

The team also reportedly spotted a small pod of four Bryde’s whales four times: April 11, 16, 30 and May 6, from the coast, at an average water depth of 15 metres.

Vasudevan added, “The sighting of the largest mammal just 3 km away from the Sindhudurg shore calls for immediate study as to why such a large species is moving close to land.”

The Mangrove Cell suggested that from now onwards, they will regularly conduct the whale watching activities from Sindhudurg coast. “Without disturbing the habitat of the whales, these spots can become a tourist attraction if such mammals are spotted often,” Vasudevan said.

CMFRI researchers also informed that these huge species can be seen across the Indian Ocean, southern parts of Sri Lanka coast and have often been found migrating to Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

“Mammals like the blue whale often frequent the coasts of India. However, the issue is that there has been no documentation of the same. Authorities should invest more such studies to protect the endangered species,” said E Vivekanandan, consultant and scientist in CMFRI, Chennai.

According to another research conducted by Cetacean Population Study team under the UNDP project, 687 dolphins were also seen near the coast out of which 153 individual dolphins were identified because of distinct features such as their fin.

Sightings of close to 40 Finless Porpoise were also recorded across the Sindhudurg coast during the two phases of the study this year.

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Oxygen Loss from Oceans Dangerous for Aquatic Species: IUCN Report

Ocean oxygen loss threatens aquatic species

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The deoxygenation in oceans is proved to be threatening for aquatic species. Pixabay

BY VISHAL GULATI

The loss of oxygen from the world’s oceans is increasingly threatening fish species and disrupting ecosystems, a new IUCN report warned.

Ocean oxygen loss, driven by climate change and nutrient pollution, is a growing menace to fisheries and species such as tuna, marlin and sharks, said the report, presented at the ongoing UN climate change conference (COP25) in this Spanish capital on Saturday.

“With this report, the scale of damage climate change is wreaking upon the ocean comes into stark focus. As the warming ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is thrown into disarray,” IUCN Acting Director General Grethel Aguilar said.

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The oxygen loss from oceans is a growing menace to fisheries and other aquatic species. Pixabay

“The potentially dire effects on fisheries and vulnerable coastal communities mean that the decisions made at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference are even more crucial. To curb ocean oxygen loss alongside the other disastrous impacts of climate change, world leaders must commit to immediate and substantial emission cuts.”

The review report, “Ocean deoxygenation: Everyone’s problem”, is the largest peer-reviewed study so far into the causes, impacts and possible solutions to ocean deoxygenation.

Ocean regions with low oxygen concentrations are expanding, with around 700 sites worldwide now affected by low oxygen conditions — up from only 45 in the 1960s.

In the same period, the volume of anoxic waters — areas completely depleted of oxygen — in the global ocean has quadrupled, according to the report.

“We are now seeing increasingly low levels of dissolved oxygen across large areas of the open ocean. This is perhaps the ultimate wake-up call from the uncontrolled experiment humanity is unleashing on the world’s ocean as carbon emissions continue to increase,” said Dan Laffoley, Senior Advisor Marine Science and Conservation in IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme and a co-editor of the report.

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Oxygen depletion in oceans is menacing marine ecosystems. Pixabay

“Ocean oxygen depletion is menacing marine ecosystems already under stress from ocean warming and acidification. To stop the worrying expansion of oxygen-poor areas, we need to decisively curb greenhouse gas emissions as well as nutrient pollution from agriculture and other sources.”

Deoxygenation is starting to alter the balance of marine life, favouring low-oxygen tolerant species (e.g. microbes, jellyfish and some squid) at the expense of low-oxygen sensitive ones (many marine species, including most fish).

Some of the oceans’ most productive biomes, which support one fifth of the world’s wild marine fish harvest, are formed by ocean currents carrying nutrient-rich but oxygen-poor water to coasts that line the eastern edges of the world’s ocean basins.

Species groups such as tuna, marlin and sharks are particularly sensitive to low oxygen because of their large size and energy demands.

Also Read- Climate Activists Unite and Support Greta Thunberg Against Her Climate Change Fight

These species are starting to be driven into increasingly shallow surface layers of oxygen-rich water, making them more vulnerable to overfishing. (IANS)