Kole wetlands

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Context:

The Thrissur Kole Wetlands Count, conducted on February 2, 2019, in connection with World Wetland Day across the Kole wetlands of central Kerala, recorded 82 aquatic species.

About the survey:

  • Some of the most common species encountered during the survey include the orange chromide (known as pallathi in Malayalam), the dwarf pufferfish, Malabar leaf fish, and pearl spot or karimeen. 
  • The teams also came across six non-native fish species, raising concerns on the sustainability of the fishery and aquaculture practices being followed in the Kole and vicinity. 
  • The presence of six species of non-native fish in the Kole is of significant concern as these have the potential to compete with, and outnumber native species. 
  • Particularly alarming is the frequent catches of the Amazonian sucker catfish from various parts of the Kole.

Kole Wetlands

  • Kole Wetlands is a Ramsar site, a wetland of international importance, designed under the Ramsar Convention lying in Thrissur District in Kerala, India. 
  • The Kole wetlands located in Kerala’s Thrissur and Mallapuram districts spans about 13,500 hectares, merging with Vembanand, India’s largest lake, thus nurturing one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in South Asia. 
  • The Kole ecosystem supports the third largest population of waterfowl in India during winter. 
  • It is also an important stopover in the Central Asian-Indian Flyway, which is the migratory route of birds that fly south from Siberia in the winter months.

Concerns:

  • In Kole, rice cultivation and fishing are the traditional economic activities, both of which are under threat due to the increasing population. 
  • Spreading out from cities like Thrissur, the pressure of population has resulted in vast swathes being converted into housing sites here. 
  • The fields have also been subdivided and fragmented umpteen times, hence hindering rice cultivation. 
  • Fishing too has suffered, with a nexus of a profit-driven, capital-intensive system that is driving away the traditional fishing communities in the area.

Ramsar Convention:

  • Ramsar is a city in Iran. In 1971, an international treaty for conservation and sustainable use of wetlands was signed at Ramsar.
  • The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
  • At the time of joining the Convention, each Contracting Party undertakes to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in theList of Wetlands of International Importance.
  • The inclusion of a “Ramsar Site” in the List embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained.
  • The 2nd of February each year is World Wetlands Day, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971.
  • The Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS) is a searchable database which provides information on each Ramsar Site.
  • The Ramsar Convention works closely with six other organisations known as International Organization Partners (IOPs).They are:

1) Birdlife International.

2) International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

3) International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

4) Wetlands International.

5) WWF International.

6) Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

Also Read: Wetlands – Significance, Problems and Conservation

 

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