Environmental Impact Assessment for Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project

Sponsor

Tuticorin Port Trust, Tuticorin

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute
Nehru Marg, Nagpur - 440 020
August 2004

Environmental Impact Assessment for
Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project

Sponsor Tuticorin Port Trust, Tuticorin

INDIA

Point Calemer

BAY OF BENGAL Palk Strait

INDIA
PALK BAY

Tamil Nadu
Mandapam Keelakkarai Valinokkam Terkmukkaiyur Mandapam Rameshwaram

Vembar Vaipar Tuticorin GULF OF MANNAR

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute
Nehru Marg, Nagpur - 440 020
August 2004

SRI

LANKA

Contents
Item No. Page

List of Figures List of Tables List of Plates List of Drawings 1. Introduction 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Preamble Earlier Studies Involving Creation of Canal Project Region Geomorphology of Study Region Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 1.5.1 1.5.2 1.5.3 1.5.4 Objectives of EIA Study Scope of the Study Plan of Work Components included in the Study 1.5.4.1 1.5.4.2 1.5.4.3 1.5.4.4 1.5.4.5 1.5.4.6 1.5.5 1.6 Coastal Waster Environment Marine Environment Land Environment Biological Environment Socio-Economic and Health Environment Ecological Risks

vi xi xv xvi 1.1-1. 25 1.1 1.3 1.7 1.9 1.14 1.15 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.17 1.17 1.18 1.18 1.19 1.19 1.20 1.20 1.20 1.20 1.21 1.21 1.21 1.22-1.24 1.25 2.1-2. 104 2.1

Environmental Management Plan

Techno-economic Viability 1.6.1 1.6.2 1.6.3 1.6.4 Traffic Potential Alignment of Canal Dredging and Disposal Areas Cost Estimates and Economic Viability

1.7

Permits and Approvals

Figures 1.1-1.3 Table 2.1 2. Proposed Project and Oceanographic Environmental Setting 2.1 Proposed Project

2.2

Oceanographic Status in Project area along Route Alignment

2.2

Item No.

Page

2.2.1

Waves 2.2.1.1 2.2.1.2 2.2.1.3 Wave Measurement Wave Refraction Wave Period

2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.7 2.12 2.13 2.22 2.23 2.25

2.2.2

Tides and Currents 2.2.2.1 2.2.2.2 Longshore Currents Currents Studies

2.2.3

Sediment Transport 2.2.3.1 2.2.3.2 Longshore Sediment Transport Spit Configuration

2.2.4 2.2.5

Geological Strata along Navigational Channel in Adams Bridge Area Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay Area 2.2.5.1 2.2.5.2 2.2.5.3 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey in Area Identified for Channel in Adam's Bridge Bathymetry Survey of Area of 4 km. X 4 km. Bathymetry and Seismic Survey along the Channel in Palk Bay Area

2.26 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.38 2.38 2.39 2.44-2.98 2.99-2.104 3.1-3.167 3.1 3.3 3.32 3.32 3.35 3.35 3.36

2.2.6 2.2.7 2.2.8 2.3

Selection of Route in Adam's Bridge Area Navigation Route in Palk Bay and Palk Strait Computation of Dredged Material

Environmental Setting in Project Area

Figures 2.1-2.51 Tables 2.1 - 2.6 3. Marine Environment 3.1 3.2 3.3 Physico-chemical Characteristics Biological Characteristics Biodiversity of Islands in Study Region 3.3.1 Mandapam Group 3.3.1.1 3.3.1.2 3.3.1.3 Shingle Island Krusadai Island Pullivasal and Poomarichan Island

3.3.1.4 3.3.1.5
Item No.

Manoli and Manoliputti Islands Musal Island

3.38 3.39
Page

3.3.2 3.3.3 3.3.4

Marine Organisms Observed around the Mandapam Group of Island Trend of Fish Catch in Mandapam Region Keezhakarai Group 3.3.4.1 3.3.4.2 3.3.4.3 3.3.4.4 Mulli Island Valai and Talairi Islands Appa Island Anaipar Island

3.40 3.42 3.42 3.43 3.44 3.45 3.46 3.47 3.48 3.49 3.49 3.50 3.51 3.52 3.53 3.53 3.54 3.55 3.56 3.56 3.56 3.57 3.59 3.61 3.61 3.62 3.64 3.64 3.65 3.66 3.69 3.70

3.3.5 3.3.6

Marine organisms recorded around Keezhakarai Group Islands Vembar Group 3.3.6.1 3.3.6.2 3.3.6.3 Nallathanni Island Pulivinichalli Island Upputhanni Island

3.3.7 3.3.8

Marine Organisms around Vember Group of Islands Tuticorin Group 3.5.8.1 3.3.8.2 3.5.8.3 Karaichalli Island Vilanguchalli Island Kasuwar Island

3.3.9 3.4

Marine Organisms

Palk Bay/Palk Strait 3.4.1 3.4.2 Marine Water Quality Biological Productivity 3.4.2.1 3.4.2.2 3.4.2.3 3.4.2.4 3.4.3 3.4.4 3.4.5 3.4.6 3.4.7 3.4.8 3.4.9 Primary Productivity Secondary Productivity Tertiary Productivity Benthos

Sponges and Corals Fishing in Palk Bay Marine Mammals Distribution of Palk Bay Reef Review of the Coral Reef Ecosystem of Palk Bay Present Status of Palk Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Adjoining Palk Strait

3.5 3.6

Gulf of Mannar Issues Related to Coral Reefs 3.6.1 3.6.2 Natural Stresses to Coral Reefs Impacts of Human Activity on Coral Reefs

3.72 3.73 3.74 3.75
Page

Item No.

3.6.2.1 3.6.2.2 3.6.2.3 3.6.2.4 3.6.2.5 3.6.2.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10

Sedimentation Runoff/Chemical Pollution/ Water Quality Sewage Temperature Stress and Bleaching Coral diseases Destructive fishing practices

3.76 3.77 3.78 3.79 3.80 3.80 3.82 3.83 3.85

Impacts in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar Conservation Future Direction 3.84 Strategies for Coral Reef Ecosystems in India

3.10.1 Analyzing the Short Comings in Coral Reef Conservation in India 3.85 3.10.2 Understand the Coral Reef Problems 3.85 3.10.3 Determine the True Economic Value of Coral Reefs in India 3.85 3.10.4 Coral Reef Conservation Education 3.87 3.10.5 Focus Management of Coral Reef around the Stakeholder 3.87 3.10.6 Incorporate More Coral Reefs in Marine Protected Areas 3.87 3.10.7 Control Managing Practices 3.88 3.10.8 Promote Sustainable Uses 3.89 3.10.9 Monitor the Effectiveness of Coral Reef Management in India 3.89 Figures 3.1-3.18 3.92-3.109 Tables 3.1-3.46 3.110-3.167 4. Land Environment 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Objectives Data Used Hardware and Software Used Selection of Study Sites Methodology Data Interpretation Identification of Dumping Sites for Dredged Materials 4.1 - 4.15 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.6 4.8 4.10-4.13 4.14-4.15

Plates 4.1-4.4 Tables 4.1-4.2

5.

Socio-economic Environment 5.1 5.2 5.3 Socio-economics of the Fishing Community Sample Survey Existing Status

5.1 - 5.19 5.1 5.3 5.6 5.13-5.19
Page

Tables 5.1 - 5.3
Item No.

6.

Assessment of Environmental Impacts 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 General Impact Networks Impacts due to Land Based Facilities Impacts due to Dredging 6.4.1 Dredged Material Disposal 6.4.1.1 6.4.1.2 6.5 6.6 6.7 Disposal on Land Disposal in Sea

6.1-6.77 6.1 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.7 6.7 6.8 6.12 6.12 6.15 6.16 6.18 6.18 6.18 6.19 6.19 6.23-6.58 6.59-6.76 7.1-7.9 7.1 7.1 7.1 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.5

Impacts due to Road and Rail Traffic Impacts on Productivity and Ecology in GOM/Palk Bay Impacts on Hydrodynamic Conditions 6.7.1 6.7.2 Tidal Current Distributions – Before and After Dredging The Salient Conclusions 6.7.2.1 6.7.2.2 Gulf of Mannar Palk Bay

6.8 6.9

Socio-economic Impact Analysis of Alternatives for Route Alignment

Figures 6.1-6.30 Tables 6.1 - 6.11 7. Environmental Management Plan 7.1 Construction Phase 7.1.1 7.1.2 7.2 Acquisition of Land for Onshore Facilities Dredging Activity

Operational Phase 7.2.1 7.2.2 7.2.3 Route Alignment Discharges from Ships Maintenance Dredging

7.3

Summary of Environmental Management Plan 7.3.1 7.3.2 Construction Phase Operational Phase

7.6 7.6 7.7

8.

Bibliography

8.1-8.7

List of Figures
Figure No. No. 1.1 1.2 1.3 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Title Page

Shipping Routes in East Coast of India The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay/Palk Strait Area The Study Area Measured Significant Wave Height Measured Maximum Wave Height Wave Refraction Between Tuticorin and Arimunai (NE Monsoon) Wave Refraction Between Tuticorin and Arimunai (SW Monsoon) Wave Refraction Between Tuticorin and Arimunai (SW Monsoon) Wave Refraction Between Arimunai and Vedaraniyam Variation of Currents Off Arimunai in SW Monsoon Components of Currents Near Surface off Arimunai (Stn. C1) during Southwest Monsoon Components of Currents near Bottom Off Arimunai (Stn. C1) during Southwest Monsoon Variation of Currents off Uthalai (GM)in SW Monsoon Components of Currents near Surface off Rameswaram Island South (Stn. C2) (GM) during Southwest Monsoon Components of Currents near Bottom off Rameswaram Island South (Stn. C2) (GM) during Southwest Monsoon Variation of Currents off Pamban Pass in SW Monsoon

1.22 1.23 1.24 2.44 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 (NE Monso

2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18

Components of Currents near Surface off Pamban Pass (Stn. C3) during Southwest Monsoon 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60

Variation of Currents off Tharuvai in SW Monsoon Components of Currents near Bottom off Tharuvai (Stn. C4) during Southwest Monsoon Variation of Currents off Arimunai in NE Monsoon Components of Currents near Surface off Arimunai (Stn. C1) during Northeast Monsoon

Figure No. No. 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32

Title

Page

Components of Currents near Bottom off Arimunai (Stn. C1) during Northeast Monsoon Variation of Currents Uthalai (GM) in NE Monsoon Components of Currents near Surface off Rameswaram Island South (Stn. C2) (GM) during Northeast Monsoon Components of Currents near Bottom off Rameswaram Island South (Stn. C2) (GM) during Northeast Monsoon Variation of Currents off Pamban Pass in NE Monsoon Components of Currents near Surface off Pamban Pass (Stn. C3) during Northeast Monsoon Variation of Currents off Tharuvai in NE Monsoon Components of Currents near Surface off Tharuvai (Stn. C4) during Northeast Monsoon Components of Currents near Bottom off Tharuvai (Stn. C4) during Northeast Monsoon Variation of Currents off Arimunai in FW Period Components of Currents near Surface off Arippumunai (Stn. C1) during Fair Weather Components of Currents near Bottom off Arrippumunai (Stn. C1) during Fair Weather Variation of Currents off Uthalai (GM) in FW Period Components of Currents Near Surface off Rameswaram Island South (Stn. C2) (GM) during Fair Weather

2.61 2.62 2.63 2.64 2.65 2.66 2.67 2.68 2.69 2.70 2.71 2.72 2.73 2.74

2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39

Components of Currents near Bottom off Rameswaram Island South (Stn. C2) (GM) during Fair Weather Variation of Currents off Pamban Pass in FW Period Components of Currents near Surface off Pamban Pass (Stn. C3) during Fair Weather Monthly Sediment Transport Rate Monthly Sediment Transport Rate Monthly Sediment Transport Rate Annual Net Sediment Transport Rate

2.75 2.76 2.77 2.78 2.79 2.80 2.81

Figure No. No. 2.40 2.41 2.42a 2.42b 2.42c 2.43a 2.43b 2.43c 2.44a 2.44b 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51

Title

Page

Annual Gross Sediment Transport Rate Location of Boreholes Grain Size Distribution at BH1 at Surface and 2.5 m Grain Size Distribution at BH1 at 5.0 m and 7.5 m Grain Size Distribution at BH1 at 9.0 m and 12 m Grain Size Distribution at BH2 at Surface and 2.5 m Grain Size Distribution at BH2 at 5 m and 6.5 m Grain Size Distribution at BH2 at 11 m Grain Size Distribution at BH3 at Surface and 0.7 m to 8.5 m Grain Size Distribution at BH3 at 8.5 m to 10 m and 10.5 to 12.7 m Bathymetry Map of Gulf of Mannar (1975) Bathymetry map of Tuticorin Coastal Region (1999) Location of Proposed Site Bathymetry Study Over 100 Line km Across the 20 km x 4 km line Area Showing Bathymetry More than 12 m and Hard Strata in Palk Bay Area Area Showing Bathymetry more than 10 m with Hard Strata at about 16 m depth in Palk Bay Area Bathymetry along the Proposed Channel

2.82 2.83 2.84 2.85 2.86 2.87 2.88 2.89 2.90 2.91 2.92 2.93 2.94 2.95 2.96 2.97 2.98

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7

Data Locations Variation in Salinity Variation in Salinity and Silicate Particle Size Distribution of Sediments (1-10 Sampling Stations) Trophic Relations of Marine in Study Area of Sethu Samudram Ship Canal Project Maximum Diversity Index values of Phytoplankton in 21 Islands of Gulf of Mannar Maximum Diversity Index values of Zooplanktons in 21 Islands of Gulf of Mannar

3.92 3.93 3.94 3.95 3.96 3.97 3.98

Figure No. No. 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 6 .1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10 6.11

Title

Page

Location of Corals in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Coral Reef and Seagrass Areas around the Islands of Gulf of Mannar Maximum Diversity Index values of Corals in 21 Islands of Gulf of Mannar Locations of Pearl Banks in the Gulf of Mannar Chank Habitats in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Habitats of Sea Cow (Dugong-dugong) in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Habitats of Sea Weed, Sea Grass and Holothuria in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Maximum Diversity Index values of Seagrass in 21 Islands of Gulf of Mannar Maximum Diversity Index values of Mangroves in 21 Islands of Gulf of Mannar Locations of Mangroves in Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Maximum Diversity Index values of Corals, Mangroves and Seagrass in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar Environmental Impact Network - Construction Phase Environmental Impact Network - Post-Construction/ Operation Phase Study Area for Route Alignment in Adam’s Bridge Area Borehole Data in Adam’s Bridge Area Bathymetry Along Line 1 Bathymetry Along Line 2 Bathymetry Along Line 3 Bathymetry Along Line 4 Bathymetry Along Line 5 Quantity Dredged Material along Various Tracks in Adam’s Bridge The Alignment of the Proposed Channel

3.99 3.100 3.101 3.102 3.103 3.104 3.105 3.106 3.107 3.108 3.109 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27 6.28 6.29 6.30 6.31 6.32 6.33

6.12

Bathymetry along the Proposed Channel

6.34

Figure No. No. 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 6.20 6.21 6.22 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27 6.28 6.29 6.30

Title

Page

Cross Section of Proposed Channel 3D Plume of Disposed Silt Near Field Far Field Central Line Dilution Geographical Domain Considered for Modelling Locations for Current Measurements Tidal Stream Observations Tidal Stream Observation Tidal Observations Proposed Ship Navigation Alignment Considered for Modelling Calibration Tide Heights Calibration Currents Spatial Current Predicted by the Model - Before Dredging Spatial Current Predicted by the Model - After Dredging Locations of Coral Reefs in the Modelling Domain (Adjoining Mandapam and Pambam Islands) Locations of Coral Reefs in the Modelling Domain (Dhanushkodi Portion of Pambam Island) Plan Showing Various Alignments of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project and the Group of Islands (Marine Parks) in Gulf of Mannar

6.35 6.36 6.37 6.38 6.39 6.40 6.41 6.42 6.46 6.50 6.51 6.52 6.53 6.54 6.55 6.56 6.57 6.58

List of Tables
Table No. No. 1.1 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Title Page

Texture, Mineralogy and Elemental Composition of Sediments in Palk Strait Monthly Variation of Breaking Wave Height (m) Monthly Variation of Wave Period (s) Predominant Wave Characteristics Buoy Data Off Vembar from Wave Rider Monthly Variation of Longshore Current (m/s) Longshore Sediment Transport Rate List of Islands in the Gulf of Mannar Particulars of Sampling Locations along the Proposed Canal Alignment Physico-chemical Quality of Marine Water Marine Water Quality (Inorganic, Nutrient and Heavy Metals) Sediment Quality Gross Primary Productivity Number of Species Recorded in the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve during Different Periods Status Report of Biota of Gulf of Mannar Distribution of Phytoplankton in Gulf of Mannar (Number of Species Recorded During October '98, August '99) Maximum Diversity Index Values of Phytoplankton in 21 Islands of Gulf of Mannar Enumeration and Diversity of Phytoplankton List of Phytoplankton Recorded Distribution of Zooplankton in Gulf of Mannar (Number of Species Recorded During October '98, August '99) Shannon Weaver Diversity Indice of Zooplankton Recorded at various Coastal Waters in India Enumeration and Diversity of Zooplankton

1.25 2.99 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 3.110 3.111 3.112 3.113 3.115 3.116 3.117 3.124 3.125 3.126 3.127 3.128 3.129 3.130

3.15

List of Zoolplankton at Different Locations

3.131

Table No. No. 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36

Title

Page

Maximum diversity index values of Zooplankton Distribution of Benthic Organisms in Gulf of Mannar Enumeration and Diversity of Macrobenthos List of Macrobenthos Recorded Density and Biomass of Meiofauna in Sediment Samples Distribution Pattern of Corals, Live Corals (Percentage) and Seagrases Maximum diversity index values of Corals List of Fishlanding Centres within Sethusamudram Ship Canal Zone Shannon Weaver Diversity Index (H' value) for the Ornamental Fishes Recorded Around each Island in the Gulf of Mannar Commercially Important Species Contributing to Fishery in Major Fishing Gears used in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Marine Fish landings in the Gulf of Mannar during 1992-96 (In Tonnes) Composition of Different Groups in Marine Fish Landings in the Gulf of Mannar (Catch in Tonnes) Composition of Trawl Catches in the Gulf of Mannar Composition of the Trawl Catches at Pamban, Rameswaram and Tuticorin Pearl Oyster Paars in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Distribution of Seagrass in the Islands of Gulf of Mannar Maximum diversity index values of Seagrass Maximum diversity index values of Mangroves Mangrove Species in Coasts of Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar Distribution of Mangrove Vegetation in the Islands of Gulf of Mannar 3.155 3.156 3.145 3.146 3.147 3.149 3.150 3.151 3.152 3.141 3.143 3.133 3.134 3.135 3.138 3.139

in 21 island

in 21 island

the Gulf of

in 21 island in 21 island

Table No. No. 3.37 3.38 3.39

Title

Page

Annual Primary Productivity (Gross) in Certain Marine Environments as Grams Carbon per square meter Sea Surface Coral Fauna around the Mandapam Group of Islands Summary of Underwater Observations on Shelter and Food of Various Coral Reef Associated Fauna in the Mandapam Group of Islands Marine Water Quality in Palk Bay (Latitude 9O44’)

3.157 3.158

3.159 3.160

3.40 3.41 3.42 3.43 3.44 3.45 3.46 4.1 4.2 5.1 5.2 5.3 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7

Distribution of Zooplankton in Palk Bay near the Proposed Channel 3.161 Distribution of Decapods in Palk Bay Distribution of Desmospongiae and Corals in Palk Bay Distribution (kg/hr) of Various Fishery Resources along Palk Bay SE Coast of India during 1985-90 Abundance of Demersal Finfish Resources (kg/hr) in SE Coast of India EEZ Perches Abundance in kg along S.E. Coast (Palk Bay) Land use/Land cover Status in Pamban Island, Based on the Satellite data of May, 2002 Land use/Land cover Classification System Summary of Coastal Villages/Towns in the Study Area Details of Coastal Towns/Villages in the Study Area (Palk Bay) Details of Coastal Towns Villages in the Study Area Bathymetry along Line: 1 Bathymetry along Line: 2 Bathymetry along Line: 3 Bathymetry along Line: 4 Bathymetry along Line: 5 Dredging Requirement for 10 m Depth (9.15 m draught) and 300 m Width Channel Dredging Requirement of 12 m Depth (10.7 m draught) and 300 m Width Channel 3.162 3.163 3.165 3.166 3.167 4.14 4.15 5.13 5.14 5.18 6.59 6.60 6.61 6.62 6.63 6.64 6.65

6.8

The Quantity of Dredged Material for 14 m Deep 500 Wide Channel 6.66

Table No. No. 6.9 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15

Title

Page

Expected Number of Transits through Sethusamudram Channel Inputs to Model for Dredged Material Disposal (12 m deep channel) Maximum and Minimum Tidal Current (Speed) at Locations in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-I - Before Dredging Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-II - Before Dredging Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-III - Before Dredging Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-IV - Before Dredging

6.67 6.68 6.69 6.70 6.72 6.74 6.76

List of Plates
Plate No. No. Title Page

4.1

Merged FCC (IRS 1D PAN Sharpened LISS III) depicting Pamban Island Merged Imagery (LISS III + PAN) depicting Western Surrounds of Sethusamudram Ship (Navigational) Canal route in Indian Water Land Use/Land Cover Status in Pamban Island based on IRS 1D (LISS III + PAN), May, 2002 Merged Data (PAN + LISS III) depicting degraded land, selected for dumping dredged material in Pamban Island

4.10

4.2

4.11 4.12

4.3

4.4

4.13

List of Drawings
Drawing No. 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 Title General Bathymetry in Palk Bay Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - South of Adam’s Bridge Line 1 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - South of Adam’s Bridge Line 2 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - South of Adam’s Bridge Line 3 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - South of Adam’s Bridge Line 4 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - South of Adam’s Bridge Line 5 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - North of Adam’s Bridge Line 1 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - North of Adam’s Bridge Line 2 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - North of Adam’s Bridge Line 3 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - North of Adam’s Bridge Line 4 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey - North of Adam’s Bridge Line 5 Bathymetry Survey in Palk Bay along Proposed Channel Alignment

1. Introduction
1.1 Preamble
Shipping plays a vital role in the development of the Indian Economy as the country has been gifted with a peninsular coastline of about 6,000 km, which is studded with 12 major and over 150 intermediary and minor ports. It also has a strategic location as one of the world's main sea routes and thus has a history of maritime trade with countries across the globe. It is, however, unfortunate that despite having such a coastline India does not have, within her own territorial waters, a continuous navigable sea route around the peninsula from the Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay and vice-versa due to the presence of shallow (about 3 m) sand-stone reef called 'Adam's Bridge' at Pamban near Rameswaram between the south-eastern coast of India and Talaimann on the western coast of Sri Lanka. Consequently, the entire coastal traffic from the east coast of the country to the west and vice-versa has to go around Sri Lanka entailing an additional distance of more than 254-424 nautical miles and 21-36 hours of sailing time. The shipping routes and savings are shown in Fig. 1.1. The Gulf of Mannar, an inlet to the Indian Ocean between south-eastern India and western Sri Lanka, is bounded on the north-east by the island of Rameswaram, Adam's Bridge and Mannar. The Gulf is about 130-275 km wide and 160 km in length. The Palk Bay on the north of Gulf of Mannar is about

64-137 km wide and 137 km long and includes many islands of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Adam's Bridge is a chain of shoals, nearly seven in all, located between India and Sri Lanka separating Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. It is about 30 km long and the sea across this portion is shallow with a depth of about

3-3.5 m only during high tides. Various committees that have deliberated the subject have observed that a shorter route through the Palk Bay is an important necessity to save time and foreign exchange spent on import of fuel for Indian ships, also the country can stand to gain revenue in foreign currency due to toll collections from International ships.

The creation of a channel called "Sethusamudram Ship Channel ", now under consideration of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, envisages construction of channel in stages and of varying lengths to suit different drafts ranging from 9.15 m to 12.8 m through dredging / excavation across the Adam's Bridge. It is proposed to study different alignments for the proposed channel in the light of representations from the public, the fisherman, the pilgrims and above all its techno-economic viability. The channel will originate from Tuticorin Harbour, extend north-east upto south of Pamban island, cut through Adams Bridge and proceed parallel to medial line of fishing between Sri Lanka and India before joining the Bay of Bengal channel. The width of channel will vary between 200 and 500 m and will require dredging to arrive at desired depth in the Adams Bridge and Palk Bay area. In GOM navigation depths will be used hence no dredging is required. The area engulfing the Adam’s Bridge known as ‘Sethusamudram’ has been derived from the Kings of Jaffna who were called 'Sethukavalar,' meaning protectors of Adam's Bridge and the Southern sea that surrounds the region. The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay/Palk Strait separated by Adam's Bridge are shown in Fig. 1.2. The proposed channel on commissioning will bring plenty of prosperity and industrial growth in the Indian hinterland lying along the proposed ship channel and the very presence of the short route would increase the turn-arounds of the coastal and international vessels. There are many other benefits which are difficult to quantify like (a) surge in the development of coastal trade,

(b) development of Industries in Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin Districts, (c) amelioration of distress due to droughts visiting annually Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin Districts. • The project will further enable direct movement of Indian naval fleet between the east and west coast of the country instead of going around Sri Lanka. • The project opens up minor ports all along Tamil Nadu coastline upto the major port of Tuticorin and further west upto Colachal. The Tuticorin Port Trust, the nodal agency identified by the Ministry of Shipping for the implementation of the proposal has retained in July 2002 the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur to conduct

Environmental Impact Assessment studies followed by the Techno-Economic Viability for the proposed "Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project".

1.2

Earlier Studies Involving Creation of Canal
One of the pioneering efforts undertaken to study the construction of the

canal was the Commander Taylor's proposal of 1860. Although a series of proposals on the subject were forwarded thereafter during the British regime in the country, due consideration could never be given to the proposal and the Sethusamudram Ship Canal remained a dream for the Indian maritime community. After Independence, the Government of India continued to pursue the idea of constructing the Sethusamudram Ship Canal and among the many committees constituted for studying the feasibility of the project, the 'Ramaswamy Mudaliar Committee' constituted in 1955, was the first. In addition to studying the feasibility of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal project, the committee also studied the increase in potentiality of the port of Tuticorin, if it were to be developed into a deep-sea port alongwith the canal. Although Tuticorin port was in existence for a long time, it did not have berthing facilities for ships and those had to be attended at the anchorage, which was about 5 to 6 miles off the coast. The committee was of the view that the two projects namely the Sethusamudram Ship Canal and Tuticorin Harbour were closely inter-related and should be taken up and executed as part of the same project. After evaluating the costs and benefits, the project was found to be feasible and viable and the committee, therefore, proposed an initial capital outlay of Rs. 998 lakhs for the integrated Sethusamudram-cum-Tuticorin Port Scheme. Thereafter, series of studies were undertaken for the project, and many of those recommended for increase in draught from the original 26 ft. proposed by the Ramaswamy Mudaliar Committee. These studies also led to revision of the Project cost, as also to the expected savings in navigable distance resulting from the canal which ranged from 260 to 425 kilometres. Finally, the Tuticorin Harbour project was sanctioned in 1963 and the Government of India continued to study the various aspects of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project. Over a last century, several proposals were formulated by various committees to create a continuous navigable route all around the peninsula within the

territorial waters of India. The latest study of the project was undertaken by the Lakshminarayanan Committee constituted by the Ministry of Shipping and Transport (Port wing) in 1981. The Committee, after a critical review of the earlier proposals, some of which envisaged the canal project by cutting across the main land, investigated another alignment known as the 'K' alignment across the Rameswaram island near Kodandaramasamy temple, and established the technical feasibility and economic viability of the alignment. This alignment was also in keeping with the representations of the public, the fishermen and the pilgrims of Ramanathapuram area who preferred the island being cut east of Rameswaram town. The Committee fixed the alignment across the land and along the northern and southern approaches in the sea, conducted drilling operations in sea and on land, collected tidal, current, wind and other meteorological data, and submitted to the Government of India in 1983 a project feasibility report with an estimated project cost of Rs. 282 crores including foreign exchange component of Rs. 3 crores. As per economic analysis by the Committee, the project would have generated surplus from twentieth year of its operations building up cumulative surplus of Rs. 453 crores at the end of twenty fifth year. However, no follow-up action on this report was initiated due to financial constraints. In its pursuit to make the Sethusamudram Ship Canal project a reality the Government of Tamilnadu in 1996 got, through Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services (PTCS) Limited, the Lakshaminarayanan Committee proposal updated for its economic viability with a view to seeking approval from Government of India for the project. Fresh particulars of cost and traffic were collected and incorporated in the report so as to reflect conditions as of 1996. Apart from the construction of proposed canal, which constituted the major component of project, creation of number of other infrastructural facilities as listed below were envisaged : • • Construction of a "lock" Construction of rubble mound type breakwaters on either sides of the canal • Navigational aids - Lighted beacons/buoys - Racons

- Satellite based differential global system - Improvements to Pamban light house • Flotilla - Harbour tugs - Pilot, mooring, survey-cum-lighting launches - Despatch vessels • Shore facilities • Two service jetties Slipways Buoy yard Repair workshop

Staff and administration buildings The canal proposed had two legs, one near the Point Calimere called

the Bay of Bengal Channel and another across the narrow Danushkody Peninsula near Kodandaramasamy Temple. The Bay of Bengal Channel traverses the Palk Bay wherein the sea-bed is mostly soft to hard clayey-sand in nature and not corals or rock. The channel proposed was 19.3 km away from Point Calimere and Kanakesan Thurai where the coast consists of only clayey-sand. The second leg of the canal 802 m long would have crossed the narrow Danushkody Peninsula through the land portion. The entire coast of Danushkody Peninsula on the North and the South is all sandy. In the North Approach Channel, soft sand-stone was met with below 12 m depth and cutting this sand-stone was not necessary even in the ultimate stage of the canal. The canal would have, however, cut the road connecting Rameswaram and Danushkody. This road is being used by the Rameswaram fisherman to go to Danushkody for daily fishing as there is no habitation at Danushkody. The project envisaged a high-level or a swinging bridge at the crossing point to enable the traffic to go through. Tracer studies conducted at two places along the 'K' alignment established that the pattern of movement of sea-bed silt would almost be in the same direction as that of the proposed canal, and that the chances of siltation would be very minimal. The cost estimates for the proposed canal project were worked out by PTCS Ltd. based on the same quantities of dredging as in the 1983 report but with updated rates for the year 1996. The costs of dredging for various segments of channel for

three different drafts viz. 30, 31 and 35 feet were worked out alongwith cost estimates for other components of the project including those of navigational aids and floating crafts. The construction period for 31 feet draft was estimated as four years with a capital expenditure of Rs. 760 crores. The operation and maintenance cost was estimated by PTCS Ltd. at Rs. 4.52 crores per year. An economic appraisal of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal project, taking into account cost estimates and cost benefits of the proposal, were made by PTCS Ltd. Based on Net Present Value (NPV) method of appraisal, an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 10 to 17% on the project investment was arrived at. Considering the then interest rate of 9% per annum of government lending to ports on the capital employed the project would have generated surplus from the 16 or 17th year of its operation, and thereafter the benefits to the canal company would have been 47 crores in the first year, and this would have increased to

100-120 crores every year. The traffic potential through the canal at various draughts projected by both the studies for 2000 AD were as follows : 31~32' draught Above 32' draught Upto 30' draught 1983 Committee 2,100 2,200 2,300 1996 Report 3,791 3,875 4,211 Later a report was prepared by NEERI in 1998 comprising the examination of environmental status of the project region based on information available on hydrography, marine water quality and ecological resources etc. An environmental impact study was recommended by NEERI as essential for fuller description and appreciation of the natural processes occurring in the region to delineate the environmental consequences including the ecological risks associated due to the ship canal and suggest measures for minimisation and mitigation of potential adverse impacts. The study for initial environmental examination of proposed canal also recommended that the canal route should pass through Adams Bridge area circumventing the Pamban Island instead of cutting through it. A detour was suggested from earlier alignment. Keeping in view the location biosphere reserves, it was suggested that an environmental viable alignment of route be selected in GOM so that proper distance from Biosphere reserves can be maintained and the available

navigational route can be selected based on both environmental and technical viability. The EIA studies recommended in IEE report of NEERI was therefore subjected to proper scoping so that all the environmental concerns due to this project can be addressed and resolved through this report. The technical viability would depend on quantity of dredging required in the vicinity of Adams Bridge area keeping in view the draft required to operate the channel. This study report addresses environmental, technical and commercial viability of the proposed ship canal project.

1.3

Project Region
The Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar together sprawling over an area of

10,500 sq.km (8O35’N to 9O25’N latitude and 78O8’E to 79O30’E longitude) in which the ship channel is proposed to be constructed are biologically rich and rated as the highly productive seas of the world and their biodiversity is considered globally significant. In the Gulf of Mannar, there are 21 islands covering an area of 623 ha which have been declared as National Marine Parks by the Tamilnadu Forest Department and the MoEF, Government of India. The islands are distributed in 4 groups namely Mandapam, Keezhakarai, Vembar and Tuticorin group. The islands have luxurient growth of mangroves in their shores and swampy regions. The coral reef of fringing and patch type are present around the 21 islands from Rameshwaram to Tuticorin covering a distance of 140 km. However, a major part of the reef is fringing type arising from shallow sea floor of not more than 5 m in depth. About 3600 species of flora and fauna have been recorded in this area. Fringing type of reef is present in Palk Bay. The hydrography data shows that there are two circulations of water masses in the region, the clockwise circulation of south-west monsoon and the counter clockwise circulation of north-east monsoon. The reported current velocities in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar are as mild as 0.2 - 0.4 m/sec except on few days during south-west monsoon when it rises upto 0.7 m/sec. The directions of currents follow the directions of predominant winds. The presence of corals along the proposed ship channel alignment is negligible however occurrence of major groups of biological resources like sea fan, sponges, pearl oysters, chanks and holothuroids at various locations have been reported. All the three groups of prochordata organisms, considered as the connecting

link between invertebrates and vertebrates, viz., hemichordata, cephalochordata and urochordata have been recorded mostly around the islands of the Gulf of Mannar. There are 87 fish landing stations between the south of Point Calimere and Pamban in the Palk Bay, and 40 stations in the Gulf of Mannar between Pamban and Tuticorin. Out of over 600 varieties of fishes recorded in this area, 72 are commercially important. During 1992-2001, the fish production has increased gradually from 55,300 tonnes in 1992 to 2,05,700 tonnes in 2001. Non-conventional fishing in the region is represented by pearl, chank, sea weeds, ornamental shells and holothurians. Rare and endangered species of sea turtle, dolphin, sea cow and whale are recorded in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. The sea cow inhabitates the shallow shore regions where grasses occur, while other endangered animals mostly prefer deep sea. Several species of green algae, brown algae, red algae, blue-green algae and sea grasses are recorded in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. A few of the islands are reported to possess patches of mangroves predominated by Avicennia sp. and Rhizophora sp. Most of the habitats of the sensitive biota, viz., corals, pearl oysters, chanks, dugong, holothuroids and marine algae are along the coast and around the islands. Along the coast in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay there are 138 villages and towns spread over 5 districts.

1.4

Geomorphology of Study Region
The study region stretches between Tuticorin and Dhanushkoti including its

coastal and offshore water in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay area between Pumban and Point Calimere. The coastline near Tuticorin is extensively used due to the presence of major port. Beach is very flat and narrow between Tuticorin and Sippikulam. Offshore islands viz; Pandyan Tivu, Van Tivu, kasuvari Tivu, Vilangu Shuli Tivu and Kariya Shuli tivu are present within 5 km distance from the coast line along this segment and offer protection from wave action. The backshore of this costal segment largely consists of salt pans. The Viappar river joins Gulf of Mannar near Sippikulam. An extensive coastal low land is seen between Sippikulam and Vembar (Loveson, 1994).

The coastal segment between Sippikulam and Naripaiyur is open without any offshore islands or submerged coral banks and is exposed to direct action of waves both during southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon. The coastline near Kannirajapuram is found with large extent of beach rocks with pear luster (Loveson, 1994). Wide and flat sandy beach with numerous small dunes are seen between Naripaiyur and Mukkaiyur . The formation of sand island off Tuticorin indicates this region as sediment sinks with progressive accumulation of sand. The large beach storage of sand between Manppad and Tiruchendur, Vembar and Valinokkam and Rameswaram Island is an indication of depositional features of littoral sediments. Gundar river joins the sea near Mukkaiyur. The presence of offshore islands are once again noticed from Mukkaiyur till Mandapam. There are 16 islands noticed along this coastal segment viz., Uppu Tivu, Shalli Tivu, Nalla Tanni Tivu, Anaipar Tivu, Palliyarmunai Tivu, Puvarasanpatti Tivu, Appa Tivu, Talairi Tivu, Valai Tivu, Muli Tivu, Musal Tivu, Manali Tivu, Pumorichan Tivu, Kursadi Tivu, Kovi Tivu, and Shingle Tivu. The beaches between Mukkaiyur and Valinokkam are very wide with elevated dunes. Extensively developed beach is seen at Kilamundal. Flat rocky shorelines are noticed near Valinokkam (Loveson, 1994). Extensive spread of rocky shore with hard sand stone platform is seen off Valinokkam. There is a Bay formation immediately on the northern side of Valinokkam. No beach is present especially during high tide Kilakarai. A narrow and flat beach is noticed near Sethukarai with the abundance of algae along the coastline. Loveson and Rajamanickam (1987, 1989) have identified a spit growth near Pariyapattinam. They described well-developed hooked nature spit extending southeast and connecting the main land in southwest direction. This formation of spit extending southeast and connecting the main land in southwest direction indicated seaward progradation of the coast between Tuticorin and Mandapam. Wave cut cliff is seen at places like Valinokkam, Sethukarai and Mandapam. Very low and narrow sandy beach is noticed between Kalimangundu and Vedalai (loveson, 1994). Sea is found to be very calm in this region. Wave cut platform is once again noticed along the coast of Vedalai. A patch of rocks is observed along the coast between Mandapam camp and Mandapam tip. Agrawal (1988) observed that the area

between Mandapam tip and Pamban Island is attributed to a sand spit later emerging as a high water land. The coastline between Mukkaiyur and Mandapam is totally protected from northeast monsoon waves. Chandrasekar et al. (1993) indicated reversal trend in the direction of sediment transport between Mandapam and Cape Comorin due to change in the coastal configuration, deposition as the formation of numerous spits along this coast that too, in a region where fluvial activities are negligible. The presence of three offshore islands viz., Pumorichan Tivu, Kursadi Tivu, Shingle Tivu are noticed off Rameswaram Island in Gulf of Mannar. The stretch of shoreline around Rameswaram Island exhibits distinct variation (Loveson, 1994). The central zone of the northern part of Rameswaram is made up of undulatory sandy bodies with a relief upto 21 m above Mean Sea Level (MSL). This area is partially covered with huge dunes. Northern part of Rameswaram Island is occupied by raised coral plain. Characteristically, this zone is flat with dead corals and numerous minor circular depressions. These depressions are liable to get filled with water during rainy season and is entirely devoid of vegetation. Huge sand dues of medium grain and white sands are found in the central part of the island. Dune patterns are well developed by the active Aeolian processes, resulting in the migration of dunes with frequent changes in their shapes and patterns from time to time but generally trends due east to west. The sand sheet covers the southwestern zone of the island. Within this unit, on the western part, localized sand mound of about 19 m height is noted (Loveson, 1994). The beach zones in this area are broader with wide inter tidal zones. The tail portion of Rameswaram occupying the southeastern part of the island has coral swampy plain, which is considered to be of recent in age. This vast flat and low-lying plain, which is considered to be of recent in age. This vast flat and low lying plain is essentially composed of thin sheet of silt and clay materials in which coral fragments are impregnated. Invariably, this zone is often inundated by seawater during high tides, monsoons and storm seasons. At east, a long sand spit of about 20 km length is formed up to Arimunai and it tends to grow longer and wider. The width of this sand spit which is about 2 km near Uthalai, reduced to Arimunai and it tends to grow longer and wider. The width of this sand spit which is about 2 km near Uthalai, reduced to 1250 m at Mukkuperiyar, 750 at Dhanushkodi and 150 m at just east of Arimunai and coverages on tip at Arimunai. The beach berm is found to be highly elevated along the sand spit

bordering Gulf of Mannar, but very low and flat along the side bordering Palk Bay. There is a marked depression in the sand spit level between Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar between Dhanushkodi and Arimunai. Due to such level difference, the water overflows during spring tide particularly from Bay carrying the fine sediment to the backshore regions. Most of the time, the water is stagnant and remains along the trough of the spit. This low lying region is fully occupied by water column during the monsoon season. The coastal process between Arimunai (India) and Talaimannar (Sri Lanka), i.e. along Adman’s Bridge is quite complex which predominantly control the exchange of sediment between Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay. Adam’s Bridge is formation of submerged sand shoals and there are around 17 islands present with bushes and plants. The average length of these islands vary between 0.8 km to 3 km. This is exposed to complex current pattern with the presence of quicksand. The currents near Adam’s Bridge and Pamban Pass are found to be more seasonal. Submerged sand shoals are seen shifting south of Arimunai and remain quasi-steady. The nearshore on the northern side of the Rameswaram Island is found to be very shallow causing the northeast monsoon waves to break far offshore. The coastal stretch between Mandapam and Ariyaman in Palk Bay shows the presence of wide beach with elevated dunes. Loveson et.al. (1990) classified the coastal zone of Palk Bay into 3 groups; (i) uplands/highlands with scantly vegetation, comprised of Cuddalore sandstone formations, (ii) along the lower elevations sedimented Cuddalore sand stones, and (iii) coastal lands mainly of microdeltas, swamps, and beach ridges based on the geomorphological features. A large amount of sediments from those pediments are removed constantly by rainfall and minor rivers. Because the pediments are placed over the substratum which is appreciably sloping towards the sea, the erosion is found to be intensive along the coastal islands. The eroded sediments brought to the littoral zone are dumped in Palk Bay. As Palk Bay is shallow and protected from the high waves and currents, the materials brought by these minor rivers is deposited in the mouth of each river/stream, leading to the formation of micro-deltas in due course, encouraging the formation of new shorelines.

Palk Bay is very shallow and is largely occupied by sand banks and shoals (Agrawal, 1988). Abundant growth of corals, oysters, sponges, and other sea bottom communities flourish in the relatively calm waters of Gulf of Mannar.

Sea level variations along the Tamilnadu coast were studied by Loveson et.al., (1990) using satellite imageries and photographs. About 300 sediment samples were collected along the central Tamilnadu coast by Chandrasekhar and Rajaminckham (1993) and suggested to possibility of the supply from ultrabasic, pegmatitic and granitic source of material to the depositional basic. River Influx and Sedimentation in Palk Bay/Palk Strait Vaigai River basin is located between latitude 9O15’ and 10O25’N and longitude 77O15’ to 79O covering an aerial extent of 8600 sq. km. in the Madurai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu, India. The river Uaigai, originates at an altitude of 2200 m above mean sea level in the western ghats, drains through the plains and confluences with the Bay of Bengal near Attangarai of Ramanathapuram district. The basin is bounded by western ghats, in the west, Palni hills in the north, a stretch of mountain ranges comprising Varushanad and Andipatti hills in the south and the Bay of Bengal in the east. Vellar estuary also comes under Palk Bay (lat. 11029'N ; long. 79046'E). Sediment in estuarine region are rich in organic carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen and finally finds its way into Palk Bay. The nutrient rich water (due to settling of unified feed particle) discharges periodically from the shrimp farms however did not show influence on nutrients content of sediment in estuary. Sea Bed Characteristics Geomorphology of the area exhibits tidal flats, estuaries and marsh zones as well as linear stabilized older younger sand dunes. Beach dunes run parallel to the sea. Geologically, thick section of Quaternary alluvium overlies the Archean charnockite rocks and these are in turn overlain by the Holocene tidal flat deposits. The detailed lithological observation of cores reveals that the sediments have been depositing in phases and that there has been pulsating supply of fine sediments onto the tidal flats and estuaries. Sediment in the cores show very heterogeneous mixture of quartz sand, biogenic carbonate and clay. Geomorphologic observations

reveal that the coarse sand in the tidal zones reflect ample sediment supply during the Northeast monsoons. A number of different types of topographical features are found in the study area, such as continental shelves, deep sea basins, troughs, trenches and continental slopes. Sediments are moderately well stored and slightly well skewed. Kurtosis value of 0.3 shows less sorting in grain size distribution. Clay is absent and sediments are made of detritus. Different grain size sediment show variable levels of heavy metal (Fe, Mn, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd & Hg) concentration (Table 1.1).

1.5

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
The pre-construction phase would involve land acquisition, resettlement

and rehabilitation of affected population as also compensation hence impacts due to such activities are required to be assessed. During the construction phase there will be considerable increase in rail and road traffic to and from the island for transportation of men, material, machinery and equipment. Also, the land access, now available to the local fisher folks, to Dhanushkody area for traditional fishing may be hindered unless alternative arrangements are made. The potential sites for dredging and disposal of dredged material are to be decided as also shipping operations will have to be regulated so as to cause minimum disturbance to the normal fishing activities. During the operation phase of the channel, the potential sources of marine pollution are spillage of oil and grease, marine litter, jetsam and floatsam including plastic bags, discarded articles of human use from the sea-borne vessels hence impacts due to such wastes are to be assessed. The channel may facilitate the movement of fishes and other biota from the Bay of Bengal to the Indian Ocean and vice versa. By this way, the entry of oceanic and alien species into the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar, as also the disposal of endemic species outside the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar may occur. The project is expected to provide employment opportunities and avenues of additional income through establishment of small ancillary industries. The project will also trigger development of coastal trade between the ports south and north of Rameswaram, consequently reducing the load and congestion on railways and

roadways. The project will help in saving considerable foreign exchange through reduction in oil import bill, and generate revenue income from dues levied on ships transiting the canal which will add to the national economy.

1.5.1 Objectives of EIA Study
The objectives of the study is to carry out assessment of environmental impacts, its quantification and for delineating environmental management plan for Sethusamudram Ship Channel project to enable the Ministry of Shipping to obtain environmental clearances from concerned local, state and central Government authorities. The environmental assessments are to be carried out in keeping with the applicable guidelines and notifications of the regulatory agencies as also the International transboundary concerns. The rapid environmental impact assessment study report was prepared incorporating primary data collected for the region and also available secondary data, environmental impact statement based on identification, prediction and evaluation of impacts, ranking of

environmentally viable alternatives and environmental management plan for the acceptable route. The comprehensive EIA report was prepared later based on the primary data collection for region.The area for Environmental Impact Assessment Study is shown in Fig. 1.3.

1.5.2 Scope of the Study
The scope of the comprehensive EIA study is summarised as follows : i. Assessment of the present status of coastal water, marine, land, biological and socio-economic components of environment including parameters of human interest along the proposed ship canal route ii. Identification of potential impacts on various environmental components due to activities envisaged during pre-construction, construction and postconstruction/ operational phases of the proposal iii. Prediction of impacts on the various environmental components using appropriate mathematical/simulation models iv. Preparation of environmental impact statement based on the identification, prediction and evaluation of impacts v. Preparation of detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) duly bringing out the likely impacts of the project, mitigation, protection and enhancement

measures including impacts due to the disposal of dredged materials, consideration of alternatives, etc. vi. Short-listing of viable routes for the proposed shipping canal based on technical requirements, and delineation of acceptable canal route for shipping based on environmental considerations vii. Delineation of Environmental Management Plan (EMP) outlining preventive and control strategies for minimising adverse impacts for various stages of the proposed project including the costs and time schedules for its implementation viii. Formulation of environmental quality monitoring programme for various phases of the project to be pursued as per the requirements of statutory authorities

1.5.3 Plan of Work
• Collation/ collection of primary and secondary data on benthic flora/ fauna, meiobenthos, bacrobenthos • Collation/collection of primary and secondary data on phytoplankton, zooplankton in water column • • • • Assessment of general physico-chemical quality of water Assessment of sediment quality and its texture Fishery potential of the region Collation of secondary data on bathymetry, sediment transport, water current and directions, wave height, tidal variation, dispersion coefficients and other hydrographic parameters • Collection of information about marine parks and ecologically sensitive species •

Qualitative and quantitative assessment of waste loads likely to accrue from proposed activities in the hinterland all along the canal

Assessment of change in hydrographic pattern in the region during and after implementation of dredging activities vis-à-vis impact on coastal ecosystems

Assessment of impacts on food chain productivity, growth of benthos and vegetation, phytoplankton densities predatory fish and birds in the coastal waters

Assessment of impacts on ecological health due to hydrodynamic and water quality changes

1.5.4 Components included in the Study
1.5.4.1 Coastal Water Environment • Study of coastal water environment with respect to its physico-chemical and biological characteristics • Assessment of mangrove forests/vegetation in the coastal and intertidal zones • Determination of primary and secondary productivity in the coastal region • Prediction of impacts of discharges during dredging on marine water quality • Evaluation of impacts due to shipping activities in keeping with the CRZ regulations 1.5.4.2 Marine Environment • Establishing abiotic and biotic characteristics of water and sediment component of marine environment

Delineation of hydrodynamic conditions (tide, current, wind and waves) including the pattern of movement of sea-bed material in the project region

Assessment of impacts of dredging, transportation and disposal of dredged materials like interference with fishing, increased turbidity and disturbance to the flora and fauna

Identification of likely impacts on the islands/region along the shipping canal

Prediction of impacts of the project on other natural marine processes

1.5.4.3 Land Environment • Study of existing landuse pattern, vegetation and forestry along the coastline of the region • Assessment of impacts on landuse pattern of main land and islands with respect to agriculture and forestry due to proposed project 1.5.4.4 Biological Environment • Identify the sensitive receptors and ecological systems within the study region • Collection of information about flora and fauna and determination of species diversity, density, abundance etc. • Collection of available information on both terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species in the study region • Assessment of potential impacts on aquatic flora and fauna due to effluent discharges • • Prediction of stress on biological environment in the study region Estimation of anticipated impacts on fisheries and other useful aquatic flora and fauna • Delineation of measures for abatement/reduction of biological stress

1.5.4.5 Socio-economic and Health Environment

Collection of baseline data related to socio-economic profile of the study region with reference to : • Human settlements, occupational pattern, employment and income in the region • Infrastructure resource base, viz. Medical, education, water resources, power supply • Economic resource base, viz. Agriculture, industries, forest, trade and commerce • Health status, viz. morbidity pattern with reference to prominent and endemic diseases • Cultural and aesthetic attributes in the study region including places of historical/ archeological, religious, recreational importance Estimation of disruption in social life due to relocation of human settlements and assessment of rehabilitation requirement Assessment of impacts on places of historical/ archeological importance and aesthetic impairment Assessment of economic benefits to community and environment due to the proposed activities 1.5.4.6 Ecological Risks • Quantification of ecological risks and delineation of ecological risk mitigation measures • Study and survey of environmentally sensitive sites viz. spawning and breeding grounds and coral reefs • Analysis of information with regard to environmental impact (direct, synergistic and cumulative) and associated nagivational and landward activities in and around the project region • Quantification of ecological risks with recourse to appropriate ecosystem models

1.5.5 Environmental Management Plan

Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is to be drawn for the preconstruction, construction and operational phases after identifying, predicting and evaluating the impacts on each component of the environment with a view to maximising the benefits from the proposed project. The EMP to be prepared would mainly cover mitigation measures at dredging sites, transportation route (of dredged spoil), and dumping site. EMP would essentially consist of details of work proposed under mitigation measures, implementation schedule of such measures, fund and manpower requirements.

1.6

Techno-economic Viability
The future traffic potential is to be studied over short, medium and long term

1.6.1 Traffic Potential
time horizons in terms of volumes of cargoes in tonnage like container, dry, liquid, bulk, also number, size and category of ships and other types of vessels taking into due consideration the future economic growth.

1.6.2 Alignment of Channel
Alignment of the channel is to identified with reference to environmental factors, navigational aspects, morphological aspects, seabed movements/

sedimentation likely to be induced by the cross currents in the canal after its creation and during operation.

1.6.3 Dredging and Disposal Areas
The disposal areas (within Indian territory) of the dredged materials are to be spelt out to satisfy the statutory requirements of State/ Central Govt. Deptts./Ministry of Environment & Forests and other concerned Archeological Deptt., Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board, Tamilnadu Maritime Board etc. so as to ensure that the dumping of dredged materials will not adversely affect the environment. Study the transboundary effects such as flooding and effects of fishery potential etc. on the Sri Lankan side due to the disposal of dredged materials. Also, the quantum of maintenance dredging per annum, its periodicity, disposal areas etc. are to be assessed.

1.6.4 Cost Estimates and Economic Viability
This would include the project cost estimates towards preliminary surveys and site investigations; dredging costs, transportation and dumping of dredged material at the chosen sea/land locations. The economic analysis for a selected route will also be carried out.

1.7

Permits and Approvals
Permits and approvals from the following mentioned agencies / organisations

are envisaged : • • • • • • • • • • Tamilnadu State Pollution Control Board Tamilnadu State Forest & Environment Department Tamilnadu Maritime Board State Wildlife Warden Chief Conservator of Forests Ministry of Environment & Forests Ministry of Defence / Indian Navy Archeological Department Ministry of External Affairs Sri Lankan Government

Fig. 1.2 : The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay/Palk Strait Area

Fig. 1.3 : The Study Area

Table 1.1 Texture, Mineralogy and Elemental Composition of Sediments in Palk Strait
Statistical Parameters of Sediments (units in φ) Area Palk strait Mean 2.4 Dispersion 0.4 Skewness -0.07 Kurtosis 0.3 Median 2.3

Percentage of Various Minerals in Sediments Area Palk strait Quartz 64 Feldspar 4 Carbonates 32 Clays --

Chemical Composition of Bed Sediments Area Fe % 0.38 0.35 Mn ppm 110 90 Cr ppm Cu ppm 8 BDL-70 Pb ppm 8-40 10 Zn ppm 34 BDL-40 Cd ppm 1-2 BDL Hg ppb 107 BDL Org carb % 0.09 0.3-0.4

Palk strait / Palk Bay Gulf of Mannar

122 BDL-10

2. Proposed Project and
Oceanographic Environmental Setting
2.1 Proposed Project
The project envisages a ship navigation channel across Adam’s bridge connecting Gulf of Mannar with Palk Bay and further Palk Bay with Bay of Bengal with dredging of navigational channel in Palk strait. The project enables the direct movement of ship between the east & west coast of the country instead of going via Srilanka. The route will originate from Tuticorin harbor, extend N-E up to south of Pamban island using available navigation depths which is more than 20 m, cut through Adam’s Bridge where a channel will be required to be dredged with depth suiting the draft requirement and proceed parallel to medial line for fishing rights in Palk Bay through available navigation depth, pass through a channel to be created in Palk strait by dredging and join Bay of Bengal. The construction of ship channel will be done to suit different drafts 9.15m, 10.7m & 12.8m by dredging & Excavation in Adam’s Bridge area and Palk strait. • − −

Tentative specification of Navigational channel are : First phase Third phase : 9.15-m draft. 300m width : 12.8 m draft 500 m width

Second phase : 10.7 m draft 300m width

• − − −

Phase wise development First phase : control two way traffic

Second phase : control two way traffic Third phase : two way traffic

The project besides creating a channel envisages deployment of Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) to be located on Rameshwaram Island and at pt. Calimere to control navigation. Provision will be made for necessary navigational aids which include lighted Fairway Buoys, channel marked, Buoys, Recons, flotilla etc.

NEERI has undertaken studies for assessing environmental status of the region and have engaged services of National Ship Design Research Center (NSDRC), Visakhapattanam for oceanographic & hydrographic surveys besides drilling operations along proposed alignment, to collect borehole data. Services of National Hydrographic Office (NHO) Dehradun were engaged to conduct bathymetry and bottom profile studies in Palk Bay Strait area.

2.2

Oceanographic Status in Project area along Route Alignment
The stability of the study area along the alignment is influenced by number of

environmental factors, primarily due to geological, biological, meteorological and oceanographical parameters, which distinctly vary from one sector of the coast to another. The most influencing factors in coastal waters are the tides, waves and currents, and they interact each other to produce an energy input, which shapes and modifies the shore. Any attempt to study these problems require a thorough understanding of the factors and processes involved in the coastal geomorphological system, the pattern of sediment transport in the littoral zone, the volume of exchange of littoral drift from one region to another, the monthly and seasonal variation, and the intermittent oceanographic factors acting on the system. 2.2.1 Waves The winds blowing over the ocean surface has the direct effect on wave generation as it is related to wind speed, extent of fetch and wind duration. Pilot (1953) gives a detailed account of the southern part of the Bay of Bengal. The oceanographic pattern along the Indian coast is mainly governed by the monsoons. The southwest monsoon influences this pattern from June to September. The average speed of the wind during southwest monsoon period is about 35 km per hour frequently rising up to 45-55 km per hour. The average speed of the wind during northeast monsoon (October to January) prevails around

20 km per hour. Tropical storms known as cyclones frequently occur in the Bay of Bengal during October to January. In eastern coast, the wave activity is significant both during southwest and northeast monsoons.

2.2.1.1 Wave Measurement The observations on wave measurement show that significant wave height varied from 0.46 to 1.12 m in March, 0.33 to 1.18 m in April, 0.46 to 1.74 m in May, 0.71 to 1.78 m in June, 0.68 to 1.6 m in July, 0.68 to 1.49 in August, 0.64 to 1.76 m in September, 0.54 to 1.35 m in October, 0.40 to 1.13 m in November, 0.40 to 1.12 m in December, 0.35 to 1.03 m in January and 0.35 to 1.23 m in February. Measured significant wave height is given in Fig. 2.1 The maximum wave height varied from 0.67 to 1.78 m in March, 0.44 to 1.73 m in April, 0.66 to 2.81 m in May, 0.98 to 2.72 m in June, 0.91 to 2.45 m in July, 0.89 to 2.48 in August, 0.89 to 2.96 m in September, 0.66 to 2.94 m in October, 0.59 to 1.60m in November, 0.48 to 1.73 m in December, 0.47 to 1.68 m in January and 0.45 to 1.79 m in Febraury. Wave heights are relatively higher during southwest monsoon. Measured maximum wave height is depicted in Fig. 2.2. Monthly variation of breaking wave height (m) is depicted in Table. 2.1 The wave direction (with respect to north) mostly prevailed 140O to 230O in southwest monsoon (June to September), 85O to 150O during northeast monsoon (October to January), and 90O – 200O during fair weather period (February to May). The wave direction is highly variable in January and May. The zero crossing wave period predominantly varied 3-8 s in December to April, 4-10 s in May and 4-9 s during rest of the year. The wave heights recorded in west and east coast offshore area of India are compared. In west coast the wave heights off Mumbai are in between 2.0-6.0 m in southwest monsoon, 2.0-3.0 in north east monsoon, and 1.0-2.5 m in fair weather period. Off Goa the wave heights are between 0.8-5.1 m in southwest monsoon. Off Mangalore wave heights are around 3.2 m in southwest monsoon and 0.8 m in fair weather period. Off Trivandrum the wave heights are 2-4.3 m in southwest monsoon and 1-2.0 m in fair weather period. Off Cochin the wave heights are between 0.9-2.0 in southwest monsoon. In east coast off Chennai the wave heights are 2.5 m in southwest monsoon and 1 m in northeast monsoon. Off Visakhapatnam coast these heights are between 0.8-3.9 m in southwest monsoon 0.6-2.9 m in northeast monsoon and 0.5-3.8 m in fair weather period. Off Orissa the wave heights are between 1.0-2.5

m in southwest monsoon and 0.8-2.5 m in northeast monsoon, and around 1-2.2 m in fair weather period. The wave climate reported in the literature indicates that the wave activity in the study region remains relatively low compared to the rest of Indian coast. 2.2.1.2 Wave Refraction Tuticorin to Arimunai Wave refraction during the southwest monsoon shows appreciable divergence of wave orthogonal near Adams Bridge, Arimunai, and south of Sippikulam. Wave activity was found to be extremely reduced between Mandapam and north of Valinokkam due to the presence of offshore islands, which causes waves to break offshore. Wave energy concentration was observed at Mukkuperiyar, Valinokkam, Mukkaiyur and Vember. The region between Sippikulam and Tuticorin is again protected from southwestern waves due to the presence of islands. The presence of offshore islands is observed to protect the coastal stretch from Mandapam to Valinokkam, and Veppalodai to Tuticorin from northeasterly waves. Wave refraction between Tuticorin and Arimunai during NE Monsoon and SW Monsoon is shown in Figs. 2.3-2.5 respectively. Arimunai to Vedarnyam This segment of the coastline lies in Palk Bay and waves propagating from south (during southwest monsoon and fair weather period) do not enter in this region. Studies are indicating that even during the northeast monsoon, waves are found not entering the bay and get attenuated across the shoals of middle banks and south banks between Vedaranyam (India) and Matakal (Sri Lanka). Part of wave energy with less magnitude enters the bay through Pedro Channel and reach the coast between Puduvalasai and Gopalpatnam. Wave refraction between Arimunai and Vedaranyam during NE Monsoon is shown in Fig. 2.6 respectively.

2.2.1.3 Wave Period During southwest monsoon, the wave period predominantly persisted 9 –10 s between Vembar and Keelamunadal, and 6 – 8 s between Uthalai and Dhanushkodi. During the northeast monsoon, it predominantly persisted 5 –10 s between Vembar and Keelamundal, and 5 –8 s between Uthalai and Dhanushkodi east. In fair weather period, it remained 6 –10 s along Vembar to Keelamundal, and 9 –10 s along Uthalai to Dhanushkodi. The study shows that the waves approaching the coastline consist of both seas and swells. Monthly variation of wave period is depicted in Table 2.2. Predominent wave character buoy data off Vembar from wave rider is given in Table 2.3. 2.2.2 Tides and Currents The tides in this region are semidiurnal. The various important tide heights with respect to chart datum near Pamban pass are as follows. Mean Higher High Water Springs Mean High Water Neaps Mean Sea Level Mean Low Water Neaps Mean Low Water Springs = = = = = 0.70 m 0.48 m 0.41 m 0.32 m 0.06 m

It shows that the average spring tidal range is about 0.64 m and the neap tidal range is about 0.16 m. The tidal range is relatively low compared to the northern part of the Indian coast, which inturn would restrict the influence of tidal currents. 2.2.2.1 Longshore Currents The longshore current speed remained weak (<0.1 m/s) throughout the year between Keelamundal and Vedalai and along the northern coast of Rameswaram from Arimunai to Ariyaman. Consequently, it was relatively moderate (>0.1 m/s) throughout the year between Sippikulam and Naripaiyur and along the southern coast of Rameswaram i.e. from Uthalai to Mukkuperiyar. The spit between Dhanuskodi and Arimunai in Gulf of Mannar experienced relatively stronger currents during fair weather period (March to May) and remained weak during southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon periods (June to February). It indicates that the stronger currents prevailing in the adjacent coasts during

southwest/northeast monsoons becoming weaker between Dhanushkodi and Arimunai. This phenomenon of sudden weakening of littoral currents causes the littoral drift to deposit and form series of sand shoals near Arimunai. Such prolonged deposition of littoral drift over many years can be attributed to formation of numerous islands and shallow shoals across the strait between Arimunai (India) and Talaimannar (Sri Lanka) called Adam’s Bridge. The Uthalai coast facing Gulf of Mannar experienced stronger longshore currents (0.2 – 0.5 m/s) throughout the year, followed by a segment of the coast between Vembar and Naripayur (0.2 – 0.4 m/s) with exposure to relatively high wave energy environment. The prevalence of weak longshore currents between Keelamundal and Vedalai is causing deposition of littoral drift on either side, as evidenced by the occurrence of many offshore islands and submerged shoals. Although the Pamban Pass, connecting Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar break the continuity of longshore current between the mainland and Rameswaram Island, the magnitude of the current on either side of Pamban Pass is found to be very weak. This reduces the volume of littoral sediments approaching the Pamban Pass which inturn reduces the quantity of sediment passing through Pamban Pass from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay. The longshore current direction prevailed northerly during southwest monsoon and fair weather period, and southerly during northeast monsoon between Sippikulam and Uthallai. The entire coast of Rameswaram facing Gulf of Mannar, experienced the current in westerly direction throughout the year, except in June and July. This phenomenon of northerly currents along the mainland and westerly current along Rameswaram create a zone, wherein, most of the littoral drift will get deposited. Only a fractional proportion is expected to move from this region by tide induced currents towards the Adams Bridge. This would reduce the volume of littoral sediment reaching the Adam’s Bridge and intrun. The quantity of sediment entering Palk Bay from Gulf of Mannar. These sediments deposited at

shoals is supplied back to the littoral system for the mainland, when the longshore currents move towards south during the ensuing northeast monsoon.

Although the longshore current was extremely weak along the sand spit facing Palk Bay, it tends to be easterly during southwest monsoon/fair weather period and westerly during northeast monsoon. Similarly, at Ariyaman, the longshore current direction was southerly during southwest monsoon/fair weather period and northerly during northeast monsoon, indicating just opposite to the phenomenon observed in Gulf of Mannar. Such processes once again indicate the accumulation of littoral drift on either side of Rameswaram Island during southwest monsoon and removal during northeast monsoon, making this region as a sediment storage reservoir. Monthly variation of longshore current (m/s) is given in Table 2.4. 2.2.2.2 Currents Studies Continuous measurements on tidal current speed and direction were carried out for three seasons at 4 locations viz., i) stn. C1 - off Arimunai-Adam’s Bridge, ii) stn. C2 - off Uthalai (Gulf of Mannar), iii) stn. C3 - Pamban Pass, and iv) stn. C4 - off Tharuvai (Palk Bay). The measured currents were resolved into parallel and perpendicular components with respect to the coastline. The variation of current speed and direction and the resolved components are presented in Figs. 2.7 to 2.35. Southwest monsoon (June to September) Near Arimunai (stn. C1) the average current speed occurred around 0.2 m/s with the maximum and minimum speed of 0.3 m/s and 0.05 m/s respectively both at surface and bottom (Fig. 2.7). The variation of current direction had not followed the tidal phase. It showed consistent northwesterly flow over one tidal cycle and changed to southeasterly flow for the subsequent tidal cycle. It indicates that current shifted its flow direction for alternate tidal cycles rather than flood and ebb tidal phases. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that for larger tidal range, the flow was in westerly direction and for small range in easterly direction. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates that the flow consistently existed from Gulf of Mannar into Palk Bay. The northwesterly and southeasterly currents over different tidal cycles were found to be equally predominant.The component of currents near surface and bottom off Ariminai during southwest monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.8 and Fig. 2.9 respectively. At Uthalai (stn. C2) in Gulf of Mannar, the average current prevailed around 0.1 m/s with the maximum and minimum of 0.2 m/s and 0.05 m/s respectively (Fig.

2.10). Similar to stn. C1, the bottom current was seen responding to tides flowing east over one tidal cycle and west during the subsequent tidal cycle. The direction of flow was predominant in southeasterly direction for larger tidal range and northwesterly direction for small tidal range. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow shifted in southeast and northwest both at surface and bottom. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates that the flow shifts towards northeast and southwest both at surface and remains consistently northeast at bottom. The component of currents near surface and bottom off Rameswaram during southwest monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.11 and Fig. 2.12 respectively. The variation of currents at surface measured near Pamban Pass (stn. C3) is shown in Fig. 2.13. The current speed was found to be strong showing an average of 0.5 m/s, with the maximum of 1 m/s and minimum of 0.1 m/s. Current direction remained consistently northeast flowing from Gulf of Mannar into Palk Bay. Variation of current speed shows that the magnitude of the current speed was more during flood and less during ebb tide indicating the influence of tides over the seasonal unidirectional flow. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow is into Palk Bay with high speed during flood tide and low speed during ebb tide. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates that the flow is across the Pamban Pass towards Rameswaram Island. The component of currents near surface off Pamban Pass during southwest monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.14. At Tharuvai (stn. C4), the average current speed of 0.2 m/s with the maximum of 0.3 m/s and minimum of 0.1 m/s were observed both at surface and bottom (Fig. 2.15). The flow was unidirectional towards southeast but the current speed varied with tidal phase. Current speed was high during flood tide and low during ebb tide indicating the strong influence of seasonal circulation current towards northeast during southwest monsoon period. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow was towards southeast at surface and bottom. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates the flow was towards northeast both at surface and bottom. The component of currents near bottom off Tharuvai during southwest monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.16. The measurement shows that during southwest monsoon when the tidal range is large, the opposite direction of flow prevail between Adam’s Bridge (stn. C1) and Uthalai (stn. C2) would cause the water mass to flow from Gulf of Mannar to Palk

Bay. This flow would transport sediments into Palk Bay from Gulf of Mannar. On the other hand, when the range is small, the divergence of flow occurring near Adams’s Bridge (stn. C1) and Uthalai (stn. C2) would initiate a flow from Palk Bay into Gulf of Mannar through Adam’s Bridge. Thus the sediment exchange taken place into Palk Bay during large tidal range day would return back to Gulf of Mannar. Northeast Monsoon (October to January) Near Arimunai (stn. C1), current was generally weak showing an average of 0.1 m/s, with the maximum of 0.2 m/s and minimum of 0.05 m/s (Fig. 2.17). The flow direction remained unidirectional towards west both at surface and bottom. The current speed increased during flood tide and reduced during ebb tide. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow was consistently towards northwest at surface and bottom. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates the flow prevailed northeast at surface and southwest at bottom. The component of currents near surface and bottom off Arimunai during northeast monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.18 and Fig. 2.19 respectively. The variation of currents at Uthalai (stn. C2), showed an average current speed of 0.08 m/s, with the maximum of 0.15 m/s and a minimum of 0.04 m/s (Fig. 2.20). The bottom flow was nearly unidirectional towards southeast. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow was oscillating in southeast and northwest at surface and remaining consistently southeast at bottom. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates that the flow was towards northeast both at surface and bottom. The component of currents

near surface and bottom off Rameswaram during northeast monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.21 and Fig. 2.22 respectively. The currents at Pamban Pass (stn. C3) prevailed strong with the average of 1 m/s, maximum of 1.4 m/s and minimum of 0.5 m/s (Fig. 2.23). Currents remained consistently unidirectional around 2250. The change in tidal phase caused the variation in current speed showing stronger currents during ebb tide and reduction in current speed during flood tide. It indicates that the flood tide propagates from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay and vice versa. The shore parallel component indicates that the flow was consistently from Palk Bay into Gulf of Mannar during ebb tide and flood tide. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates the flow was across the Pamban

Pass from Rameswaram to Mandapam. The component of currents near surface off Pamban Pass during northeast monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.24 respectively. The current was found to be weak off Tharuvai at Palk Bay (stn. C4) showing the average speed of 0.1 m/s, maximum of 0.13 m/s and minimum of 0.04 m/s (Fig. 2.25). Similar to stn. C3, the current flow was unidirectional towards 250O, but the speed was high during ebb tide and low during flood tide. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow was towards northwest both at surface and bottom. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates that the flow was towards southwest both at surface and bottom. The component of currents near surface and bottom off Tharivai during northeast monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.26 and Fig. 2.27 respectively. The observation during northeast monsoon indicates that the current flow was more influenced by seasonal flow than by tides. Stronger currents were observed during ebb tides flowing from Palk Bay into Gulf of Mannar through Pamban Pass. The currents were generally weak in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay (stns. C2 and C4). Significant flow from Palk Bay to Gulf of Mannar was observed through Adam’s Bridge also. Such current pattern during northeast monsoon can transport and exchange the sediments from Palk Bay into Gulf of Mannar. Fair weather (February to May) The variation of currents near Arimunai (stn. C1) at surface and bottom are shown in Fig. 2.28. The current was generally weak showing average of 0.1 m/s, with the maximum of 0.2 m/s and minimum of 0.05 m/s. The current flow was found to be unidirectional towards northwest both at surface and bottom. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow was towards northwest both at surface and at bottom. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates the flow was changed its direction in northeast and southwest both at surface and bottom. The component of currents near surface and bottom off Arimunai during fair weather is depicted in Fig. 2.29 and Fig. 2.30 respectively. At Gulf of Mannar (stn. C2), the current was weak with average of 0.1 m/s, maximum of 0.2 m/s and minimum of 0.04 m/s (Fig. 2.31). The flow remained unidirectional consistently towards 305O, but the current speed varied randomly between 0.04 and 0.12 m/s. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow was towards northwest both at surface and bottom. The shore perpendicular

component of currents indicates the flow changed the direction from northeast to southwest both at surface bottom. The component of currents near surface and bottom off Rameswaram during fair weather is depicted in Fig. 2.32 and Fig. 2.33 respectively. The flow through the Pamban Pass (stn. C3) was quite distinct, showing the average speed of 0.3 m/s, maximum of 0.6 m/s and minimum of 0.04 m/s. The varition of currents off Pamban Pass at surface and bottom are shown in Fig. 2.34.Current flow was noticed towards 45°, i.e., into Palk Bay during flood tide and towards 225°, i.e., into Gulf of Mannar during ebb tide. The shore parallel component of currents indicates that the flow was into Palk Bay during flood tide and into Gulf of Mannar during ebb tide. The shore perpendicular component of currents indicates the flow was changing its direction across the Pamban Pass between Mandapam and Rameswaram. The component of currents near surface off Pamban Pass during southwest monsoon is depicted in Fig. 2.35. During fair weather period, the change in current direction was observed over the tidal phases at Pamban Pass. The study shows that the current flows mostly parallel to the coast. The general circulation of current in northwesterly direction dominates the tide induced current. This would help the sediments to move by tide induced currents from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay prevailing through Pamban Pass and to some extent through Adam’s Bridge.

2.2.3

Sediment Transport In Indian coast, various investigations pertaining to different fields of

oceanography were carried out by a number of research workers. Sediment transport along the east coast of India was initiated by Lafond and Prasada Rao (1954) and subsequently by many other investigators. The formation of sand islands off Tuticorin region indicates this region acts as a sediment sink with progressive accumulation of sand. The large beach storage of sand between Manppad and Tiruchendur, Vembar and Valinokkam and Rameswaram Island indicates the depositional features of littoral sediments. The geographical formation of Tamilnadu coast plays a vital role maintaining the stability of the Indian shoreline. It determines the extent of sources and sinks for the littoral drift moving around the Indian peninsular tip across the east and west coasts of India. Based on the characteristics of the sediment processes and the various influencing parameters, the Tamilnadu coastline can be classified into 6 segments viz., i) open coast in Bay of Bengal – Pulicat to Pondicherry, ii) partly protected coast in Bay of Bengal – Pondicherry to Vedaraniyam, iii) protected coast in Palk Bay – Vedaraniyam to Dhanushkodi, iv) protected coast in Gulf of Mannar – Dhanushkodi to Tuticorin, v) partly protected coast in Indian Ocean – Tuticorin to Ovari and vi) open coast in Indian Ocean – Ovari to Thengaipattinam. The typical formation of Tamilnadu coast comprises of long sandy beaches on the northern part. The stretch between Pondicherry and Vedaraniyam has been experiencing a recession of coastline since historical period. The coastlines between Vedaraniyam and Rameswaram in Palk Bay and between Rameswaram and Tuticorin in Gulf of Mannar are substantially protected from monsoon waves due to the proximity of Srilanka Island. Palk Bay is very shallow and is largely occupied by sandbanks and submerged shoals. Rameswaram Island, the geological formation of coral atoll with huge sand cover between India and Srilanka plays a vital role on the processes of exchange of littoral drift between east coast and west coast. It separates the sea in the north by Palk Bay and south by Gulf of Mannar. The wave sheltering effect due to Sri Lanka Island, the large siltation in Palk Bay, the presence of numerous offshore islands in Gulf of Mannar, the growing sand spit along Dhanushkodi and the shallow reef

(Adam’s Bridge) between Arimunai (India) and Thalaimannar (Sri Lanka) largely modify the sediment movement. It is strongly evident that the coastal processes taking place around the Rameswaram Island and the exchange of the littoral drift between Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay significantly determine the supply of sediments to the rest of the east coast and in turn the stability of the region. 2.2.3.1 Longshore Sediment Transport The longshore sediment rate varies with season for different location in the study area. The detais of observation stations is given below and their longshore sediment transport rate is given in Table 2.5 and shown in Fig. 2.36 to Fig. 2.40. Sippikulam The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.06-0.84 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.05-2.14 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.03-0.09 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 5.0 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport was 1.4 x 103 m3/year towards south. Vember The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.35-3.84 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.53-20.28 x 103 m3/ month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and 0.02-1.9 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 34.0 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 9.6 x 103 m3/year towards south. Kannirajapuram The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 3.7-23.94 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 1.98-23.37 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.02-2.21 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 97 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 25.6 x 103 m3/year towards north. Naripaiyur The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 2.3-29.29 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.06-14.46 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.02-2.47 x 103

m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 66 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 22.6 x 10 3 m3/year towards south. Keelamundal The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.01-0.9 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.55-17.46 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.14-5.73 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 36 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 3.1 x 103 m3/year towards south. Valinokkam The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.01-0.06 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.01-1.06 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.01-1.76 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 3.0 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 3.0 x 103 m3/year towards north. Kalimangundu The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.01-0.68 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.01-0.03 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.01-0.11 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 1 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 0.5 x 103 m3/year towards north.

Vedalai The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.02-0.88 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.01 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.01-0.05 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 1 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 1 x 103 m3/year towards north. Kondugal

The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.88-14.96x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.12-1.22 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.02-1.85 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 25 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 10.2 x 103 m3/year towards north. Uthalai West The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 6.88-48.7 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.25-4.61 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 2.28-27.0 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 140x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 72.6 x 103 m3/year towards north. Uthalai East The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 9.12-44.97 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.18-19.64 x 103 m3/month in
3

northeast
3

monsoon

(October

to

January)

and

between

1.76-24.84 x 10 m /month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 190x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 48.9x103 m3/year towards north.

Mukkuperiyar West The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 5.16-44.96x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.26-6.02 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 2.64-20.83 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 120x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 5.6 x 103 m3/year towards north. Mukkuperiyar East The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 1.78-28.65x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.02-17.98 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 1.98-20.10 x 103

m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 110x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 79 x 10 north. Dhanushkodi West The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 2.31-17.05x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.04-5.16 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 1.32-28.35 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 83 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 22.1 x 103 m3/year towards north. Dhanushkodi Mid The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 1.76-14.0 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.02-0.90 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 8.59-29.35 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 96.0x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 32.0 x 103 m3/year towards north.
3

m3/year towards

Dhanushkodi East The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 1.20-19.28x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.06-13.75 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 2.43-31.73 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 125x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 80.0x10 north. Arimunai West The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 1.05-27.77x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.07-0.44 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 1.06-8.99 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 65.0x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 43.7x103 m3/year towards north. Arimunai East The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.90-35.97x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.01-2.18 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.53-8.99 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 73.0x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 36.4x10 north. Mukkuperiyar West (Palk Bay) The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.02-0.12x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.02-1.90 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.02-0.34 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 3.0x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 2.7x103 m3/year towards north.
3 3

m3/year towards

m3/year towards

Uthalai West (Palk Bay) The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.02-0.11x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.02-1.70 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.02-2.65 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 5.0 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 4.6 x 103 m3/year towards north. Villuvandithirtham The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.01-0.03x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.02-1.47 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.01-0.05 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 2.0x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 1.6x10 north. Light House The longshore sediment transport rate was 0.01 x 103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.01-0.02 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.01-0.07 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 1.0 x 103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 0.1 X 103 m3/year towards north. Ariyaman The longshore sediment transport rate varied between 0.01-0.06x103 m3/month in southwest monsoon (June to September), between 0.02-5.29 x 103 m3/month in northeast monsoon (October to January) and between 0.01-0.07 x 103 m3/month in fair weather period (February to May). The annual gross transport rate was 23.0x103 m3/year. The annual net transport rate was 23.0x10 north. During southwest monsoon, the longshore sediment transport was considerable (>10 X 103 m3/month) along the spit facing Gulf of Mannar and negligible on Palk Bay side. Very close to the tip i.e., near Arimunai, the longshore transport direction dominated in easterly direction indicating the movement from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay through Adam’s Bridge.
3 3

m3/year towards

m3/year towards

In northeast monsoon, the values of longshore transport rate was relatively low along the spit facing Gulf of Mannar and negligible in Palk Bay. It is noticed that the long shore sediment transport rate was considerable (>10 X 103 m3/month) in January between Uthalai and Mukkuperiyar. The sediment transport direction was consistently towards west in Gulf of Mannar and east in Palk Bay. In fair weather period, the longshore sediment transport was low along the spit facing Gulf of Mannar and also Palk Bay. The transport direction was observed to be westerly near the tip facing Gulf of Mannar. It shows that in February, April and May the sediment drifts from Palk Bay to Gulf of Mannar and the net quantity is found to be 8000m3, 6000 m3, 20000 m3 respectively. Consequently, in March, June, July, August and September, it drifts from Gulf of Mannar towards Palk Bay and the respective quantities are 8000 m3, 35000 m3, 10000 m3, 4000 m3 and 1000 m3 respectively. There was no significant movement of sediment observed during October to January. It means that during southwest monsoon, the sediments move from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay and during fair weather period from Palk Bay to Gulf of Mannar. No noticeable exchange due to wave induced longshore transport takes place in northeast monsoon. It is noticed that over a period of one year, a net volume of 24000 m3 sediments as a wave induced longshore transport move from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay around Adam’s Bridge. The study indicates that, in general, the entire study region between Tuticorin and Ariyaman including the Rameswaram Island experiences very low sediment transport rate compared to the rest of Indian east coast. The east coast between Chennai and Paradeep experiences a gross transport rate of more than 1x10 0.1x106 m3/year, which shows only 10 percent of the rest of the Indian east coast. The sediment transport rate is practically negligible throughout the year, particularly between Valinokkam and Kondugal in Gulf of Mannar, and between Arimunai and Ariyaman in Palk Bay. The geomorphological formation of inner part of Gulf of Mannar and the presence of many offshore islands are the main reasons for wave attenuation and reduction in sediment transport. The coastal segment between Tuticorin and Valinokkam experienced relatively higher sediment transport rate during northeast monsoon, but remained calm
6

m3/year. On the otherhand, along the study region, it remained always less than

during the rest of the year. However, the small stretch between Vember and Naripaiyur experienced relatively higher sediment transport rate also during southwest monsoon. The only coastline between Uthalai and Arimunai experienced relatively higher sediment transport rate both during southwest monsoon and fair weather period, with relatively low sediment transport during northeast monsoon. The direction of sediment transport during southwest monsoon remained easterly between Tuticorin and Arimunai except near Kondugal and Dhanushkodi, where it was in opposite direction, i.e. towards west. Due to the reversal of sediment transport direction near Kondugal, the easterly transport gets deposited in the vicinity of Pamban Pass, Kursadi Tivu, Kovi Tivu and Shingle Tivu. Once again the easterly transport along Vedalai terminates near Dhanushkodi which would cause the formation of shoals in the vicinity off Arimunai. Such formation of submerged shoals was observed south off Arimunai during the study period. The prevalence of easterly transport at Arimunai might cause part of the sediments deposited as shoals to migrate towards Adam’s Bridge and enter into Palk Bay. This processes of sediment migration were noticed close to Adam’s Bridge. Hence a small proportion of littoral drift deposited during southwest monsoon close to Pamban Pass and Arimunai has the tendency to enter Palk Bay. During the northeast monsoon, the sediment transport rate was very low moving in southerly direction between Tuticorin and Valinokkam and it was negligible between Valinokkam and Mandapam. Between Kondugal and Arimunai, the transport was relatively low in westerly direction. It implies that there will be a deposition of littoral drift in the vicinity of Pamban Pass. Due to low littoral drift taking place during northeast monsoon, the quantity of sediments entering Gulf of Mannar from Palk Bay will be much lower than the quantity moving from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay during southwest monsoon.

During fair weather monsoon, the sediment transport rate along the entire study region except between Uthalai and Arimunai remains negligible. The sediment transport between Uthalai and Arimunai exists relatively low in westerly direction for which the source of sediment is expected from Palk Bay though Adam’s Bridge. Due to low sediment transport rate prevailing in the study region, which comprises of about 10 percent compared to the rest of Indian east coast, the volume of sediment exchange is expected to be low. During southwest monsoon, the sizeable portion of littoral drift from west coast passing around Kanyakumari is seen getting deposited before reaching Tuticorin. This deposited sediment is supplied back for the westerly transport during northeast monsoon. Such deposition is evidenced from the occurrence of large beach deposition is evidenced from the occurrence of large beach deposits and elevated dunes along Tiruchendur – Manapad region. Similarly, the southerly transport along the east coast during northeast monsoon gets deposited between Vedaranyam and Manmelkudi in Palk Bay, which is supplied back to the littoral drift cycle during southwest monsoon. Thus the study indicates that there is a break in the chain of littoral drift at Tuticorin on the south and Vedaranyam is relatively low and there exits limited quantity of exchange through Pamban Pass and Adam’s Bridge. It signifies that the region around Adam’s Bridge forms as significant sink for the littoral drift. The prolonged accumulation may lead to the emergence of new islands. In case of occurrence of cyclones in Gulf of Mannar, such prolonged deposition of sediments move north and enter in Palk Bay through Pamban Pass and Adam’s Bridge. Once the sediments enter Palk Bay, the environment favours immediate deposition. Hence the occurrence of cyclones in Gulf of Mannar and the associated high northerly waves might exchange more sediments from the southern part of Peninsular India to northern part of east coast. Similarly any cyclones moving in Palk Bay, would generate large southerly waves and transport sizeable amount of deposited sediments into Gulf of Mannar. In the event of absence of cyclones, the deposition will increase causing the enlargement of sand

spit and shoaling across Adam’s Bridge, but the order of sediment exchange will be limited.

2.2.3.2 Spit Configuration The numerical modelling study for the region around Rameswaram indicates that due to tidal currents, in southwest monsoon (june-september), the sediment transport is 6000 m3 and 30000 m3 through pamban pass and Arimunai respectively moving from Gulf of Mannar to palk Bay. The same phenomenon continued in fair weather period (February- May) indicating 3000 m3 and 16500 m3 through pambam Pass and Arimunai respectively moving from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay. On the other hand ,during northeast monsoon( October-january), about 15000 m3 and 21000 m3 of sediments are being transported through Pamban Pass and Arimuani respectively from Palk Bay to Gulf of Mannar. It shows that in an annual cycle, a net exchange of 6000 m3 of sediment is found to move from Palk Bay Pass to Gulf of mannar through Pamban Pass and 25,500 m3 of sediment moves from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay through Arimunai. The modelling study indicated that the volume of sediment exchange due to tidal current (25, 500 m3 /year) is very close to the volume being transported through littoral drift in breaker zone (24000 m3/ year). Season Southwest monsoon (June to September) Fair weather (February to May) North-East monsoon (October to January) Net
(-) = Towards Palk Bay (+) = Towards Gulf of Mannar

Pamban pas (m3) -6000 - 3000 15000 6000 m3 /year

Adam’s Bridge (m3) -30000 - 16500 21000 -25500 m3 /year

The annual gross longshore sediment transport rate along the study region remained less than 0.1 x 106 m3 /year, which shows only 10 percent of the rest of the Indian east coast.

In February, April and May the wave induced littoral drift is taking place from Palk Bay to Gulf of Mannar and the net quantity is found to be 8000 m3, 6000 m3, 2000 m3, respectively. Consequently, in March, june July, August and September , it drifts from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay and the quantity is 8000 m3, 35000 m3, 10000 m3, 4000 m3, and 1000 m3, respectively. There was no significant movement of sediment between October and January. Over a period of one year, a net volume of 24000 m3, / year sediments moves from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay. Adam’s Bridge forms as noticeable sink for the littoral drift. The prolonged accumulation leads to the emergence of new islands. The modelling study indicates that over an annual cycle, the net volume of sediment exchange due to tidal current is 6000 m3, form Palk Bay to Gulf of Mannar through pamban pass and 25500 m3, from Gulf of Manar to Palk Bay through Arimunai. The satellite imageries show that the spit gets deflected towards palk Bay during southwest monsoon indicating erosion on Gulf of Mannar side and deposition on Palk Bay side. During northeast monsoon, the spit gets deposited on Gulf of Mannar side and eroded in Palk Bay side, but the over all length increased by 150 m towards Adam’s Bridge. The sand spit extended 455 m in seven years indicating an average growth of 65 m in a year. the width increased 200 m at 1 km distance from the tip. 2.2.4 Area NSDRC with the help of M/s Indomer Coastal Hydraulics Pvt. Ltd, has taken up jet probe drilling operations on the sea floor to identify the type of geological strata along the navigational canal. Scope i) to carry out wash boring at 3 locations at 2m , 3m and 5m water depths along the proposed navigational route, ii) to carry out drilling upto 12 m penetration into the sea floor or till reaching the hard strata whichever is minimum, iii) to collect wash boring sediment samples, and Geological Strata along Navigational Channel in Adams Bridge

iv)

to analyze the soil classifications of the collected sediment samples.

Methodology Drilling jet probe was constructed on board a vessel with 5 HP pumps driven by diesel generator. The outlet of 75-mm diameter pipe was connected to 30 m long hose. To the other end of the hose, a drilling jet, having a tapered mechanism varying from 75 mm to 40 mm diameter was attached. During the operation of pump at full capacity, the jet velocity remained about 10 m/s. The jet was capable of penetrating into sea floor up to a depth of 12 m in case of sandy bed. The jet drilling was carried out at 3 points in each location to confirm the type of strata. During the last attempt of jet drilling, divers collected sediment samples. These sediment samples were analyzed for grain size distribution using sieve shaker with sieves of different mesh sizes. The locations of the jet probes are shown in Fig.2.41. The details of the locations are given in the table below: Bore hole No. BH1 BH2 BH3 Co-ordinates Latitude Longitude Water depth Depth of drilling (m) (m) 1 2 5 12 12 12

09O08.364′N 79O27.675′E 09O08.811′N 79O27.868′E 09O10.109′N 79O28.008′E

BH1 : The sediments collected at different layers (S1-surface, S2-2.5m, S35.0m, S4-7.5m, S5-9.0m and S6-12.0m) at BH1. The composition of sediments shows that it consists of light brownish Grey loose medium sand from 0 to 7.5 m, medium sand with debris shells and shellsand from 7.5 to 12 m. The grain size distributions for sediment collected at different layers are shown in Figs. 2.42a, 2.42b and 2.42c. BH2 : The sediments collected at different layers at (S1-surface, S2-2.5m, S3-5.0m, S4-6.5m and S5-11.0m) BH2. The composition of sediments shows that it consists of grayish medium sand from 0 to 5 m, silty sandy from 5 to 6.5 m and medium sand with whitish shell sand from 6.5 to 11.0 m. The grain size distribution for sediment collected at different layers is shown in Fig. 2.43a through 2.43c. BH3 : The sediments collected at different layers (S1- surface, S2-0.7m to 8.5m, S3-8.5m to 10m and S4-10.5m to 12.7m) at BH3. The composition of sediments

shows that it consists of fine sand from 0 to 0.7m, silty medium sand with shell debris from 0.7 to 8.5m, little silty coarse sand from 8.5 to 10.5 m and silty medium sand from 10.5 to 12 m. The grain size distribution for sediment collected at different layers is shown in Figs. 2.44a through 2.44b. 2.2.5 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey In Gulf of

Mannar and Palk Bay Area Bathymetry Mapping Any changes in sea floor may be the result of sea-level variation or to a change in the elevation of land surface. Changes in absolute water-surface levels are worldwide due to the interconnectivity of the oceans and are termed eustatic changes. Changes in the absolute level of the land are localized. They may be due to tectonic adjustments or due to adjustments caused by their distribution of weight on the land surface. As and when sedimentation or ice build-up occurs, such changes are known as isostatic. A rise in the sea level or down warping of land would involve the opposite movements of sea and land. Synonymous with positive and negative changes are the forms of sea-level transgression and regression, although in many cases these terms also refer to the horizontal movement of the shoreline associated with vertical changes of sea level. Recent depth contour map of 1999 has been compared with bathymetry map of 1975; it reflects that the seafloor level has decreased along the coastal areas and around the islands in the study area. It may be either due to emergence of land or lowering of sea level (due to tectonism) and sediment deposit. In very few places, particularly at river mouths and in island areas, the sea floor level has increased, which may be due to erosion caused by anthropogenic activities. The average depth reduction of seafloor along the coast of the study area has been estimated as 0.51m over a period of 24 years. The average decrease and increase of depth around the islands in the study area have been calculated as 0.56m and 0.38m respectively. Assuming that the rate of change of depth of sea floor is uniform over a year, the rate of decrease of depth is estimated as 0.021m/year along the coast and 0.023 m/year around the island, and also the rate of increase of depth as 0.015 m/year around the island. The annual sediment deposit on Gulf of Mannar sea floor is about 0.001m/year (Basanta Kumar Jena 1997), or 0.024m for a period of 24 years. As found from the present study, the decrease of depth for the period of 24 years (1975 to 1999) is about 0.51m. Sedimentation accounts for about 0.024m in the

total of 0.5 from clearance depth. The remaining 0.486 m reduction in depth may be due to emerging of land or lowering of sea level (by tectonic activities). Based on the above data, the rate of emerging of land or lowering of sea level can be estimated as 0.02m/year. Bathymetry maps of Gulf of Mannar (1975) and Bathymetry Map of Tuticorin Coastal Region is given in Figs. 2.45-2.46 respectively. The general bathymetry in Palk Bay area is shown in Drawing 2.1. 2.2.5.1 Bathymetry and Shallow Seismic Survey in Area Identified for Channel in Adam’s Bridge An area of 4 km x 20 km showing bathymetry less than 12 m was identified for detailed bathymetry and seismic survey in Adam’s Bridge area based on admiralty chart. This location is shown in the Fig. 2.47. Bathymetry survey was carried out in May 2003 and February 2004 over 100 line km across the 20 km by 4 km area. (Fig. 2.48). Out of the total survey area of 4 km x 20 km marked for bathymetry and shallow seismic survey, micro bathymetry survey was also carried out in 4 km x 4 km as per the requirement. Bathymetry and shallow seismic survey (five lines) in 4 x 20 km section in Adam’s Bridge Area, beyond which safe navigation route is available on both sides of the Adam’s bridge, has been completed. The charts detailing bathymetry and geotech profile are shown in drawings listed as Drawing 2.2 to 2.11. The bathymetry survey of 4 km x 4 km. area also has been undertaken and completed during the second phase of the survey work. The bathymetry is shown in Drawing 2.12.

Site survey Line Pattern Bathymetry and shallow seismic survey conducted in 4 kms x 20 kms area along the proposed ship canal longitudinal lines spaced at 1 km intervals. Lines run in 000O /180O direction. Echosounder, sub bottom profiler has run on all survey lines up to the safe navigation limit. • The Bathymetry and shallow seismic survey of 4 km x 10 km (five lines) on south side of Adam’s Bridge Bathymetry For study propose 5 imaginary lines separated by 1 km distance have been considered to explain bathymetry pattern across Adam’s Bridge covering 20 km length. Thus each line is 20 km long stretching north-south across the Adam’s Bridge as shown in Fig. 2.48. Line no. one is boundary of box facing Pamban island where line 5 is boundary towards medial line for fishing. a) Line No. 1 The bathymetry along the line no.1 reveals that the seabed from the North end of the survey line to the South end gradually increases with depths ranging from 0.8 m to 11.8m. The bathymetry is presented in Drawing 2.2. b) Line No. 2 The bathymetry along the second line reveals gradual fall in the seabed with depths varying between 1.4m at the North end and 12.7 m on the South end of the line. The bathymetry of this route is presented in Drawing 2.3. c) Line No.3 The bathymetry along the 3rd line reveals gradual fall in the seabed with depths varying between 2.4m at the North end and 11.7 m on the South end of the line. The bathymetry of this route is presented in Drawing 2.4. d) Line No.4 The bathymetry along the line no.4 reveals gradual fall in the seabed with depths varying between 2.9m at the North end and 11.8 m on the South end of the line.

The bathymetry of line no.4 is presented in Drawing 2.5. e) Line No. 5 The bathymetry of line no.5 is presented in Drawing 2.6. The bathymetry along the line no.5 reveals gradual fall in the seabed with depths varying between 3.8m at the North end and 7.9 m on the South end of the line. Shallow Stratigraphy a) Line No. 1 Information regarding shallow geological conditions is presented in Drawing 2.2. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially four units. The shallow seismic survey could not be carried out in less than 5m depth as it was not feasible to take the survey boat in that area due to depth limitation and presence of heavy breakers in the area. The note to that effect is shown in the geological profile panel on the chart Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the surveyed corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Maximum thickness of this unit along the proposed route is 0.5 m sub-seabed. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection configuration. The surface and internal reflectors show medium acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising very high density to high density sands.Thickness of this layer varies between 1 m to 3.5m. Underlying Unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with high acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as medium to low density sand. The thickness of this layer varies between 2m to 4m.

b)

Line No. 2 Information regarding shallow geological conditions on line no.2 is presented

in Drawing 2.3. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially four units. The shallow seismic survey could not be carried out in less than 5m depth as it was not feasible to take the survey boat in that area due to depth limitation and presence of heavy breakers in the area. The note to that effect is shown in the geological profile panel on the chart. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Maximum thickness of this unit along the proposed route is 0.3 m. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection conFiguration. The surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising completely to very high density sands. Thickness of this layer varies between 0.5m and 1.5m. Underlying Unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with medium acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising completely of very high density sands.Thickness of this unit varies from 1.0m to 2.5m. Underlying Unit C is Unit D which can be identified from records with low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising low density loose sands. Thickness of this unit varies from 0.5m to 2m c) Line No. 3 Information regarding shallow geological conditions of line no.3 is presented in Drawing 2.4. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially three units. The shallow seismic survey could not be carried out in less than 5m depths as it was not feasible to take the survey boat in that area due to depth limitation and

presence of heavy breakers in the area. The note to that effect is shown in the geological profile panel on the chart. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Thickeners of this unit along the line is 0.40 m sub seabed. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection configuration. The Surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising very high density sands. Thickness of this layer along the line is 0.5m to 3.5m. Underlying Unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with medium to low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising medium to low density loose sands. Thickness of this unit varies from 0.5m to 1.5m. d) Line No. 4 Information regarding shallow geological conditions is presented in Drawing 2.5. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially three units. The shallow seismic survey could not be carried out in less than 5m depths as it was not feasible to take the survey boat in that area due to depth limitation and presence of heavy breakers in the area. The note to that effect is shown in the geological profile panel on the chart. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. The maximum thickness of this unit along the line is 0.30 m. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection conFiguration. The surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as

comprising of high density sands. Thickness of this layer varies between 0.5 and 1.5 m. Underlying Unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with medium to low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising of medium to low density sands. The thickness of this unit along the line varies between 2.5 m to 3.5 m. Underlying Unit C is Unit D which can be identified from records with low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising of low density sands. The thickness of this unit along the line varies between 2 m to 3 m. e) Line No. 5 Information regarding shallow geological conditions is presented in Drawing 2.6. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially three units. The shallow seismic survey could not be carried out in less than 5m depth as it was not feasible to take the survey boat in that area due to depth limitation and presence of heavy breakers in the area. The note to that effect is shown in the geological profile panel on the chart Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Maximum thickness of this unit along the proposed route is 0.50 m. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection configuration. The surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising of very high density sands. Thickness of this layer varies between 0.5 and 4.5 metres. Underlying Unit B is Unit C, which can be identified from records with medium to low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising of medium density sands. The thickness of this unit along the line varies between 2m to 3m.

The Bathymetry and shallow seismic survey of 4 km x 10 km (five lines) on north side of Adam’s bridge a) Line No. 1

The bathymetry of the rout is presented in Drawing 2.7. The bathymetry along the line no.1 reveals that seabed from the north end of the survey line to the south end gradually falls with depths from 7.0 m to 1.4 m. b) Line No. 2

The bathymetry of the route is presented in Drawing 2.8. The bathymetry along the second line reveals gradual fall in the seabed with depths varying between 9.1 m at the North end and 2.1 m on the south end of the line. c) Line No. 3

The bathymetry of line no. 3 is presented in Drawing 2.9. The bathymetry along the 3rd line reveals gradual fall in the seabed with depths varying between 9.5m at the North end and 2.5 m on the South end of the line. d) Line No. 4

The bathymetry of line no.4 is presented in Drawing 2.10. The bathymetry along the line no. 4 reveals gradual fall in the seabed with depths varying between 10.1 m at the North end and 2.8 m on the South end of the line. e) Line No. 5

The bathymetry of line no. 5 is presented in Drawing 2.11. The bathymetry along the line no. 5 reveals graduals fall in the seabed with depths varying between 10.1 m at the North end and 2.8 m on the south end of the line. Shallow Stratigraphy a) Line No. 1

Information regarding shallow geological conditions is presented in Drawing 2.7. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially four units. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the surveyed corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Maximum thickness of this unit along the proposed route is 0.5 m sub-seabed.

Underlying unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection configuration. The surface and internal reflectors show medium acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising very high density to high density sands. Thickness of this layer varies between 1m to 4m. Underlying unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with high acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as medium to low density sand. The thickness of this layer varies between 1 m to 3 m. Underlying unit C is D which can be identified from records with low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as low density loose sand. The thickness of this layer varies between 1 m to 2m. b) Line No. 2

Information regarding shallow geological conditions online in Drawing 2.8. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially four units. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Maximum thickness of this unit along the proposed route is 0.5 m. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. this unit is characterised by chaotic reflection configuration. The surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising completely to very high density sands. Thickness of this layer varies between 1.5 m and 3m. At places bottom of this unit is not discenrnible from records.

Underlying Unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with medium acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising medium to low density sands. Thickness of this unit varies from 1 m to 3 m. Underlying Unit C is Unit D which can be identified from records with low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising low density loose sands. Thickness of this unit varies from 1 m to 2 m.

c)

Line No.3

Information regarding shallow geological conditions of line in Drawing 2.9. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially three units. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Thickness of this unit along the line 0.50 m sub seabed. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection conFiguration. The surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising very high density sands. Thickness of this layer along the line is 1 m to 3 m. Underlying Unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with medium to low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising medium to low density loose sands. Thickness of this unit varies from 3 m to 5 m. d) Line No.4

Information regarding shallow geological conditions is presented in Drawing 2.10. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially three units. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. The maximum thickness of this unit along the line is 0.50m. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection conFiguration. The surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising of high density sands. Thickness of this layer varies between 1 and 3 m. Underlying Unit B is Unit C which can be identified from records with medium to low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising of

medium to low density sands. The thickness of this unit along the line varies between 1 m to 3m. Underlying Unit C is D which can be identified from records with low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising of low density sands. The thickness of this along the line varies between 1m to 3m. e) Line No. 5

Information regarding shallow geological conditions is presented in Drawing 2.11. The shallow geological successions within the window examined by the digital data along this route can be differentiated into essentially three units. Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the survey corridor. The high acoustic transparency of this unit without any welldefined internal reflectors indicates that it is comprised of soft sediments. Maximum thickness of this unit along the proposed route is 0.50 m. Underlying Unit A is Unit B. This unit is characterised by chaotic reflection configuration. The surface and internal reflectors show high acoustic impedance to the seismic energy indicating more strength of material. This unit is interpreted as comprising of very high density sands. Thickness of this layer varies between 1 and 3.5 meters. The maximum thickness being around 1022250 northing. Underlying Unit B is Unit C, which can be identified from records with medium to low acoustic reflectivity from the surface. This unit is interpreted as comprising of medium density sands. The thickness of this unit along the line varies between 2 m to 3 m. Under lying unit C is unit D which can be identified from records with low acoustic reflectivity form the surface. The unit is interpreted as comprising of low density loose sand. The thickness of this unit is 1 m to 1.5 m. The bathymetry survey of the proposed five survey lines across the Adam’s Bridge reveals that the seabed has gradual slope from North towards south and also East to West with depths between 11.3 m at the North East corner of the survey area and 1.4 m at the south west corner of the survey area and 9.0m at North west corner to 4.4m at South East corner of the survey area. The seabed is thus seen deepening from southwest corner of the survey area to North East corner of the survey area.

Unit A is the uppermost of the sedimentary sequence and recorded all along the surveyed corridor and comprised of soft sediments. Unit B is interpreted as comprising completely to moderately with very high density sand to medium density sand. Underlying Unit B is Unit C which is interpreted as low density sand. No anomalies associated with any type of rock is evident from the records up to the penetration of about 6 to 7m. In view of very high density sands lying below a very thin layer of soft sediments in the entire area of survey the penetration of the seismic system has been restricted to that in the sand to a maximum depth of about six to seven meters, however, no rocky strata was observed in the entire survey area up to the depth of penetration. 2.2.5.2 Bathymetry Survey of Area of 4 km. X 4 km. The bathymetry survey of 4km. x 4km. area at 50m interval reveals that depths are gradually decreasing from South-West corner of the survey area to SouthEast corner of the survey area with maximum depth of 6.3m around the South-West corner to a minimum of 0.6m depth around South-East corner of the survey area in general with considerable depth variation in between. The depth contours drawn at 1 m interval in the survey area reveal that almost all contours run in approximately in North West-South East direction (Drawing 2.12). A shallow patch showing strip of exposed land area runs from North West corner of the survey area in approximately towards the South East corner of the survey area. This stretch of the area has all along heavy breakers breaking almost all the times from the South West as well as from the North East directions making it extremely difficult to negotiate the area. 2.2.5.3 Bathymetry and Seismic Survey along the Channel in Palk Bay Area Hydrographic survey along the proposed channel in Palk Bay area was undertaken by National Hydrographic Office (NHO) during January 25-February 18, 2004. The survey was carried out 250 m on either side of the line joining points indicated in Drawing 2.13 detailed below : C D 9O21′26″N 9O40′30″N 79O21′37″E 79O25′30″E

E F

9O58′20″N 10O11′30″N

79O33′30″E 80O12′30″E

In addition NHO covered points A and B adjoining Adams Bridge Area at 9O08′43″N, 79O2539″E and 09O13′42″N and 79O28′50″E in addition to data collected by NSDRC. The survey was undertaken using long range HF Sercel Differential Global Positioning System, Echo Sounder Atlas Deso 20 with duel frequency transducers of 210/33 k3H, Smart Acoustic Current meter, Geostar

SB-216 full spectrum sonar system to measure sediment thickness. The seabed of the complete area comprise sand and mud with few broken shells. The depth contours in the area are in agreement with those depicted on the existing navigation Chart 358 (Drawing 2.1). The area between point C to E (refer Drawing 2.13) has depth more than 12 m and thus no dredging will be required. However area north of point E and south of point C will require to be dredged to 12 m depth. Since the sea bed is mud and sand capital dredging would not be difficult proposal. Sub bottom profiler indicates that there is some hard strata under the soft sediment (Figs. 2.49-2.50). The tides in this area are variable. Both semidiurnal and diurnal tides were observed. The range of tide varied from 0.4 to 0.7 m at the spring. Current in the area is along N-S direction and speed varied from 0.1 m/sec to 1.0 m/sec. 2.2.6 Selection of Route in Adam’s Bridge Area The area for navigation route in Adam’s Bridge area was selected keeping in view the proximity to international Medial line for fishing as well as national park boundary. The purpose of selecting the stretch under study was to avoid / minimize impacts on marine national park. The selected area is approximately 10 km away from Arimunai tip and about 20 km away from Sringle island which is a part of national park. The bathymetry data collected in this stretch was used to identify possible alignment of route within the block. Zeroing down on to the option of 10.7 m draft and 300 m width of channel availability or creation of 12 m deep channel with minimum dredging requirement was considered as a critical parameter to arrive at alignment across the Adam’s Bridge. From the assessed bathymetry, line 2 was considered as route for navigation as dredging requirement will be minimum. This line is also at least 4 km

away from medial line. The details on quantity and quality of dredged spoil likely to be generated by dredging in this route is discussed under chapter on environmental impacts. 2.2.7 Navigation Route in Palk Bay and Palk Strait The ships after traveling through the channel in Adam’s Bridge area will tread through available navigation depth in Palk Bay. It could be seen that channel further needs to be created in Palk Strait area where the bathymetry varies from 7.0 m to 10.8 m. Based on the available chart the exercise for computing of dredging requirement to attain 12.0 m depth has been taken up and is explained in chapter on Environmental Impacts. The

selection of route is guided by minimum dredging requirement and distance from medial line. The proposed channel alignment with its bathymetry is shown in Fig. 2.51. 2.2.8 Computation of Dredged Material Based on bathymetry data, quantity of dredged spoil with 12 m depth and 300 m with for a proposed channel is about 38x106 m3 in Adam’s Bridge Area and is about 44x106 m3 for Palk strait area. Thus total capital dredging required for

continuous navigation channel of 12 m depth will be of the order of 82 million m3. The quality of dredged spoil in Adam’s Bridge area is mostly sand with small percentage of silt and clay. The quality of dredged spoil in Palk strait area also comprise clay and sand upto 12 m as per data collected by NHO Dehradun.

2.3

Environmental Setting in Project Area
The sea coast stretching along the proposed canal project region is broken by

a few minor rivers like Agniar, Ambuliar, Vellar, Koluvanaru, Pambar, Manimukta nadi, Kottangarai aru and Vaigai draining vast areas of irrigated lands. In the Gulf of Mannar along the coast there are 21 islands (Table 2.6) which have been declared as National Marine Park by the Tamilnadu Forest Department and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

The Palk Bay (PB) and the Gulf of Mannar (GOM) are considered biologically rich and are rated among the highly productive seas of the world. The Gulf of Mannar harbours one of the richest biodiversity of living resources which have evolved in the past millennia. Primarily due to its semi enclosed nature, seclusion, shallowness, and having more or less stable temperature regimen, presence of multiple niches, recycling and enrichment of nutrients amply derived from land drainage by the rich variety of coastal, sedimentary, medowan, reef and paar biota, the Gulf of Mannar has acquired ecological uniqueness, biodiversity, pluralism alongwith endemism. It is a natural heritage, and is often called the 'Biologist's Paradise'. Through an executive communication from the Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamilnadu, the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve (GOMMBRE) has been notified in 1989. There is, however, no legislation as yet on the biosphere reserve either at the national or at the state level. The Gulf of Mannar is endowed with a combination of ecosystem including mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs, supporting over 3,600 species of plants and animals. Its biodiversity is considered globally significant. The Gulf of Mannar islands constitute a resting place for birds migrating to and from Sri Lanka. Approximately 168 types of birds use the islands in the Gulf as a resting place while migrating or as wintering and molting grounds. All five species of marine turtle nest in various locations in the Gulf of Mannar. Dolphins are more common here than in any other region in the Bay of Bengal. The endangered dugong uses many of the islands as browsing grounds. Marine life also includes many coloured coral fishes, eels, molluscs, and stomatopoda. Sea anemones, crabs, starfish, sea urchins and numerous other organisms are found in the Gulf of Mannar waters. There are no hills on any of the islands, most of which are less than three metres above the level of the high water springs. The islands are irregular in shape, with spits and partially enclosed bays. Sandy beaches are located on many of the islands and along the mainland coast. Fringing and patch coral reefs are located in the Gulf of Mannar. The eastern side of the islands has the greatest expanse of living coral reefs, because human exploitation of the reefs is concentrated on the northern and western sides. The vegetation on the islands is not uniformly spread and generally consists of thorny shrubs. Mangroves are located on Shingle, Krusadai, Pullivasl,

Poomarichan, Manoli and Manoliputti islands. Tree species such as palmyra, casuarina, coconut, and tamarind grow on Shingle, Krusadai, Hare and Nallathanni islands. Most of the islands have been significantly deforested. Some reforestation is also taking place. Located within the Biosphere Reserve, Krusadai island exemplifies the biological significance of the area. The island harbours three species of seagrasses endemic to the Gulf of Mannar. Representatives of every animal phyla known (except amphibians) occur on this island. The island harbours a unique, endemic organism called "balanoglossus" (Ptychodera fava), a living fossil which links vertebrates and invertebrates. Supporting the Gulf's biodiversity are its extensive and diverse assemblage of seagrass. Six of the world's twelve seagrass genera and eleven of the world's fifty species, occur in the Gulf. The Gulf harbours the highest concentration of seagrass species along India's 7,500 km of coastline. These seagrass beds are some of the largest remaining feeding grounds for the globally endangered dugong (Dugong dugon). The seagrass beds also provide feeding areas for all the five species of marine turtles, the Green (Chelonia mydas), the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta). Okive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea). Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate) and Leather backs (Dermochelys coriacea). Many species of crustaceans, molluscs, gastropods and fishes have been observed to inhabit the seagrass beds. The Gulf's seagrass communities are valuable habitats for commercially harvested species, particularly the green tiger prawn Penaeus semisulcatus, which is extensively harvested for the export market. Holothurian, an endemic echinoderm found in abundance in the Gulf of Mannar, is extensively exploited for export to Japan and other Southeast in the Gulf of Mannar, is extensively exploited for export to Japan and other Southeast Asian countries as a highly, priced food item for human consumption. The economically viable species of seaweeds such as Hypnea, Gelidiella, Gracilaria, Stoechosperum, Hydrochlathrus, Clathratus, Padina, Caulerpa are largely distributed in the Gulf of Mannar. In addition, ornamental shells, chanks, and pearl oysters are exploited in the Gulf. Sea fans and seaweeds are exported for industrial and decorative purposes.

The Gulf of Mannar harbours a total of 128 species of coral belonging to 37 genera. Coral reefs serve as the spawning grounds for fisheries, seagrass beds as nursery grounds, and mangroves and shelters form a unique component of lifesupport system of coastal biodiversity that relates to global benefits and local needs. Seventeen different mangrove species occur within the biosphere reserve area. The coastal mangrove Pemphis acidula is endemic to the Gulf of Mannar. Coastal mangroves are important nursery habitats and biodiversity reservoirs in coastal areas. Both the reserve area and the adjacent coastline have been degraded to some extent by overuse and pollution as evidenced by the declining catch/effort ratios in the fisheries, the absence of significant numbers of herbivorous fish on coral reef areas, low coral cover and widespread growth of green marine algae in coraline areas and absence of large vegetation on many parts of the islands. Some areas of the coast also show visible effects of pollution, most of it emanating from the mainland. In Palk Bay area, there are ecologically sensitive coastal areas harboring mangrove forests, marshlands etc. Point calimere a wild life and bird sanctuary is in coastal areas adjoining palk strait. This sanctuary is situated at southern end of Nagapattinam district at 100 17’ - 100 22’ N and 790 25’- 79052’ E. The sanctuary may be divided into three divisions: the point calimere forest; the GVS which includes the mangrove forests at Muthupet and the mangroves of TRF. It is the breeding ground or nursery for many species of marine fishes which are vital to the fisheries of the coast. It is a marine-coastal wetland with a wide diversity of habitats and ecological features, including: intertidal salt marshes, forested wetlands, mangroves and brackish to saline lagoons. The sanctuary has been designated as a Ramsar site in November 2002. • The GVS is one of the largest waterbodies and major wintering ground for water birds in southern India. The forests of point Calimere are also rich in both resident and migratory species of forest birds. A total of 257 species of birds have been recorded from the Sanctuary of which 119 are waterbirds and 138 forestbirds. • The wetland supports the vulnerable species spoonbill sandpiper ‘Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus’ and grey pelican ‘Pelecanus philippensis’ according to the IUCN Red List.

It supports about 30,000 flamingos, 200-300 endangered grey pelican, the endangered Asian dowitcher, the rare spoonbill sandpiper and tens of thousands of other waterbirds. A total of 119 waterbird species have been recorded from the area.

The wetland is the breeding ground or nursery for many species of marine fishes which are vital to the fisheries of the coast. GVS is the spawning and/or nursing ground for commercially important prawns, crabs and fishes. Eastern part of the GVS harbours 23 fish species, mainly mullets, whereas the Mullipalam Lagoon at Muthupet has a more direct influence of the sea and harbours more marine species of fish, some 20 species.

Fauna Some of the major waterbird species are the greater flamingo and the lesser flamingo, spot- billed pelican, spoonbilled sandpiper, Asian dowitcher, whitebellied seaeagle, brahminy kite and osprey. Landbirds include paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta, Rosy starling, Blyth reed warbler, crested serpent eagle and brown shrike. Fourteen species of mammals have been reported from the Sanctuary. The larger mammals are the blackbuck, spotted deer, wild boar and jackal. The flying fox resides in large groups on trees in the point Calimere forest and the mangrove forest at Muthupet. The blackbuck of point Calimere represents one of the three isolated populations of blackbuck existing in Tamil Nadu with the other populations in the Guindy National Park and near Satyamangalam. A sanctuary provides for local income and employment specially in areas of salt production, forest produce, firewood and fish products. About 35,000 fishermen and agriculturists live around the sanctuary.

3. Marine Environment
The data generated by NEERI in locations along the 60 km long alignment and further verified at select locations in vicinity of Gulf of Mannar, Adams bridge and Palk Bay besides secondary data from CMFRI, CECRI is used for describing the marine environment. The locations 1 to 4 in Palk Bay and 5 to 8 in Gulf of Mannar were selected in the vicinity of Adams bridge area which will be dredged to achieve required draft and 9 and 10 near Tuticorin Port area (Fig. 3.1). The details of the locations for which data on physico-chemical parameters, phytoplankton,

zooplankton and benthos was collected, are presented in Table 3.1. The depths at these locations are in the range of 3 m to 23 m, the maximum being in the Tuticorin port area and the minimum near the Adam's Bridge. Apart from primary data, secondary data was collected from various government departments like Department of Ocean Development, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Central Electro-chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Forest Department, Fisheries Department, Wildlife Department, NonGovernmental Organisation (NGO), Project Authority etc.

3.1

Physico-chemical Characteristics

Marine Water The samples were collected 20 cm below the water level to assess physicochemical quality of marine water. The physico-chemical characteristics of marine water at various locations along the route are presented in Tables 3.2 and 3.3. The pH of sea water is alkaline and ranges between 8.0 to 8.2. All living organisms are dependent upon oxygen in one form or another to maintain the metabolic processes that produce energy for growth and reproduction. Dissolved oxygen (DO) plays an important role in precipitation and dissolution of inorganic 5.7 mg/L. substances in water and it is in the range from 3.2 to

The concentration of heavy metals viz. iron, selenium, chromium, zinc, lead, cadmium, nickel, boron, manganese and copper in marine water samples are below detectable limits except for iron, boron and arsenic. The concentration of boron is in the range of 2.29 mg/L - 3.06 mg/L. High concentrations of arsenic (0.07-0.13 mg/L) are observed at locations near Tuticorin port area that may be attributed to arsenic used in making wood preservatives/ paints for ships. It is well known that diatoms and other organisms deplete silicate from the lighted zone of the sea, and that, on the death of the organisms, the silicate may either re-enter in solution or may reach the bottom. The silicate content in the marine water varies from 0.003 mg/L to 0.017 mg/L. No significant variation in salinity is observed in surface and bottom samples (Fig. 3.2). An inverse relationship between salinity and silicate is found to exist at some of the locations (Fig. 3.3). The nitrate concentration varies from 0.78 mg/L to 1.1. mg/L. Sediments The data on physico-chemical parameters and metals of the sediments is presented in Table 3.4. The sediments comprise loose black mud, fine clayey sand with dead shells, coarse white sand with dead shells, coarse sand slightly reddish with shell fragments and hard corralline bottom covered with coarse sand and shell pieces. Fig. 3.4. The organic carbon content of the sediment ranges from 0.06% to 0.09%. The total Kjeldahl nitrogen (N), total phosphorus (P2O5) and sulphates (SO4) are in the range of 0.02% to 0.11%, 0.02% to 0.84% and 0.06% to 0.75% respectively. Oil and grease are present at all locations in the sediments. Concentrations of heavy metals such as iron and arsenic are high in sediments. Cadmium and cobalt are also detected in sediments. Many animals that live buried in sediment are selective deposit feeders, lifting and sucking food particles out of the mud; and others feed unselectively on sediment deposits. These include different molluscs, sea cucumbers and many worms. Fine muds, easily suspended by bottom currents, are generally not a satisfactory substrate for filter feeders. Muds and clays, however, are well suited to organisms that feed unselectively by ingesting sediments because the smaller The particle sizes of sediments are depicted in

particles normally contain more organic matter. Such detritus supports bacteria and meiofauna that are food for deposit feeders. Excess organic material in the sediment may cause oxygen depletion in the near-bottom waters that is intolerable to most benthic animals. About 3% of organic matter in the sediment appears to be optimal for deposit-feeding bivalves. Predatory forms, such as brittle stars, are more abundant where organic carbon content is higher (Gross, 1982). In areas of red clay deposits, where sediment accumulation is slow and deposits contain less than 0.25% of organic carbon, filter feeders are conspicuous. Published data on abiotic characteristics of sediment from the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay is very limited. The fine black mud of Palk Bay collected a decade back from a site north of Adam's Bridge and on analysis it indicated to contain - silica 55.0%, carbonate of lime 3.5%, phosphate of lime 2.25%, ferric oxide 4.10%, alumina 15.80%, magnesia 2.75% and organic matter and water 16.60%. The mineral composition was of sand grains, quartz, tourmaline, felspar, zircon, corundum, kyanite, garnet, mica (biotite), rutile, and ilmenite. At some places patches of black grains containing magnetic iron were also observed by earlier workers (Salvadori, 1960, 1961).

3.2

Biological Characterstics

Primary Productivity Primary productivity in the sea is dependent on photosynthesis of green plants, principally of the phytoplankton, with possible minor contribution from very few species of photosynthetic bacteria. The energy necessary for the process, which gets accumulated as chemical energy in the organic matter, is derived from sun light. The level of primary productivity is associated with the concentration of nutrients. The data on primary productivity in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay is presented in Table 3.5. The gross primary productivity values varied from 143 to 472 gC/m3/day between the stations. The mean values of 205 and 223 mgC/m3/day for the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar respectively are comparable. Literature reveals that in the Gulf of Mannar off Mandapam there are two peaks of production - one in April-May and another in October. During a study period of two years, the primary productivity

was found to range from 77 mgC/m3/day in April with an average of 200 mgC/m3/day (Prasad and Nair 1963). Thus, the mean value of primary productivity in the Gulf of Mannar has not been altered significantly during a span of over two decades. It is further reported that in the near shore areas where the euphotic zone used to be about 6 m due to turbidity, the productivity was 1.2-1.5 gC/m2/day which is equal to the annual gross productivity of about 450 gC/m2. While further inside the sea where the euphotic zone is deeper (upto 15-40 m), the average daily productivity used to be 3-5 gC/m2 (Nair 1970). The average primary productivity values in central ocean basins and coastal zones of the world were estimated at 50 and 100 gC/m2/yr respectively (Ryther 1969). Thus, the shallow regions of the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay constitute one of the most productive regions of the world. This means it is clear that turbidity adversely affects primary productivity. Marine Organisms A complex food web is present in GOMMBRE due to high diversity of flora and fauna present in the area (Fig. 3.5). The details of marine organisms recorded in Gulf of Mannar during different periods are given in Table 3.6. The prawns Penaeus semisulcatus feed on a variety of food items viz., polychaetes, crustaceans, molluscs, diatoms, foraminiferans and radiolarians (Thomas, 1980). Four species of Foraminifera, namely Fissurina ventricosa, Nonion grateloupi, Nonionella auricula and Bolivina variabilis were found in the stomach contents of the prawn, Penaeus semisulcatus. (Ameer Hamsa, 1981). The two species of Chirocentrus i.e. C. nudus and C. dorab found in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar appear to be diurnal predators preying mostly on fishes (Luther, 1985). These are some of the examples of marine organisms present in food web in Gulf of Mannar. However, the biodiversity in Gulf of Mannar is now under severe threat due to destruction of sensitive ecosystems like corals and seagrass through indiscriminate and intensive trawling, coral mining, dynamite fishing, commercial fishing of specific fauna such as sea fans, chanks, sea cucumber, sea horse and endangered species like dugongs and turtles. The similar cases are of gargonids in the Gulf of Mannar and the sacred chanks and the pearl oyster Pinctada fucata along south-east coast, the sping lobsters Panulirus sp. and deep sea lobsters off

south-east coast (Dehadrai et al., 1994). A survey of 20 islands in Gulf of Mannar during 1977-81 revealed the extensive destruction of fauna and flora by human interference and require immediate action for flora and fauna (Mahadevan & Nayar, 1983). These activities have depleted the resources and reduce the biological wealth of this region. The status of the biota of Gulf of Mannar is depicted in Table 3.7. Phytoplankton : Phytoplankton are mostly unicellular organisms which are either solitary or colonial. These autotrophs synthesise organic material from inorganic substances in the presence of sunlight through the process of photosynthesis. Consequently, the depth of light penetration decides the volume of sea water in which photosynthesis can occur. Phytoplankton provide food to herbivores and hence form a major link in the food chain. In turbid waters of many coastal areas, the compensation depth is exiguous and the phytoplankton contribution to primary productivity is minimal. Conversely, in deep clear waters, the compensation depth is considerable and the contribution of the phytoplankton to primary productivity is significant. 126 species of Phytoplankton were reported (Table 3.8). Diatoms Dinoflagellates Blue-green algae Green algae Others : : : : : 97 species (33 genera) 16 species (6 genera) 7 species (5 genera) 3 species (3 genera) 3 species (3 genera)

The population density varied from 34000 to 86000 cells/liter.

Maximum Diversity Index values of phytoplankton for 19 islands are shown in Table 3.9 and Fig. 3.6. The values ranged from 2.708 to 3.583 showing moderate diversity of phytoplankton in study area. The blooming of Trichodesmium a blue-green alga has been observed in the Palk Bay and in the northern portion of the Gulf of Mannar (Tables 3.10 and 3.11). This alga on blooming forms clumpy aggregates. The maximum value for this alga is 0.8 x 106 per m3 which indicate that the blooming occurs in the northern part of the Palk Bay and extends to south of the region. It is of interest to note that since plankton move alongwith water current, it indicates that depending on the prevailing current conditions the algal cells do not drift to the inshore waters of Rameswaram. The blooming results in low diversity values, as indicated at several locations. However, diversity index values exceeding 2.0 are also observed at some of the locations. In the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar the phytoplankton peaks do not seem to follow monsoons strictly as do zooplankton. In general, in a year 2 to 3 phytoplankton peaks have been recorded in the earlier years, mostly in January (prominent), April-May and October-November. At times during July-August too, a minor peak had been observed (Prasad, 1954, 1956). Blooming or swarming of unicellular biota, observed in these studies, were Trichodesmium theibauti, T. erythraeum, Noctiluca, Ceratium, Gymodinium and rarely Gonyaulax. The studies had further revealed considerable variation from year to year in abundance, composition and succession in phytoplanktons. Zooplankton : This is a very important group in the aquatic ecosystem, acting as the primary consumer and ultimately serving as the natural food sources for many aquatic organisms including fishes. Depending on the season, the plankton community shows pronounced variation in its character and composition. This is because many are planktonic throughout their life, while others are so only during part of their life. Approximately 360 species of zooplankton were reported (CMFRI, 1998). The population density of zooplankton varied from 8000 to 65000 nos/cu.m and the species belonging to the following phyla were commonly found : Protozoa, Coelenterata, Ctenophora, Annelida, Chaetognatha, Mollusca, Echinodermata,

Arthropoda, Chordata and other minor phyla. The details of distribution of zooplankton during Oct. 98 to Aug 99 in Gulf of Mannar is presented in Table 3.12. Shannon Weaver Diversity Index of zooplankon in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar along with other coastal waters in India is recorded in Table 3.13. In the present survey, the diversity and various groups of organisms present at different locations are presented in Tables 3.14 and 3.15. While copepoda form the most prominent group, the diversity index varies between 2.67 and 4.24. The stations which are close to the shore usually exhibit low index values. The data indicates higher diversity among zooplankton in the offshore waters. In the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar the zooplankton have been observed to show a bimodal cycle, with a minor peak between January and March, and a primary peak during September - October due to the monsoon conditions (Krishna Kartha 1959). Copepods and chaetognaths reach their maximum when the salinity was low. But there were few copepods and lucifor when molluscan larvae and fish eggs constituted high percentages (Marichany, Siraimeetan , 1979). Seven deep sea decapod crustaceans belonging to sections Penaeidae (4 species), Caridae (2 species) and Astacidae (1 species) are found from the Gulf of Mannar (Thomas, 1979). Maximum Diversity Index values for zooplankton in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar are shown in Table 3.16 and Fig. 3.7. Highest diversity was observed at 11 islands and moderate diversity (beween 2 to 3) at other 8 islands. Benthos : The organisms which inhabit the bottom of an aquatic body are called benthos. Many of them are sessile, some creep over a burrow in mud. The quality and quantity of animals found at the bottom are not only related to the nature of substrate but also to the depth, and the kind and quality of the other associated aquatic biota. Their number and distribution also depend upon physico-chemical and biological characteristics of water. Benthic organisms of different groups have been recorded from Gulf of Mannar. (GOI, DOD and ICMAMPD, 2001) (Table 3.17). The sediment samples collected from different stations in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay were passed through 500 µ mesh sieve and again through 45 µ sieve for segregation of macrobenthos and meiobenthos respectively, as described below.

Macrobenthos : The details of biota observed along with the sedimentary conditions of benthos at various locations are presented in Tables 3.18 and 3.19. Some of the locations are rich in flora and fauna. The diversity index values are observed to be above 3. In general, contrary to the zooplankton, the near shore stations exhibited higher diversity indices than those of offshore. Most of the offshore stations have indices around 1.0. Altogether 78 varieties of macrobenthos from 14 groups have been recorded. Details of the major groups of macrobenthos recorded in the study area are presented hereunder. Meiobenthos : Meiofauna comprises animals intermediate in size between micro and macrofaunal organisms. In benthic environment, meiofauna consumes unicellular organisms such as bacteria, microscopic algae and protozoa; in turn meiofauna are consumed by macrofaunal organisms such as shrimps, gobids, juveniles of flat fish etc. Meiofauna associates fluctuate seasonally with respect to density, biomass and species composition in different locations of the sea. The meiofauna in terms of number vary from 0-132 and in biomass 0-19.40 mg per 100 cm-2 of sediment (Table 3.20). The meiofauna comprises larval polychaetes, nematodes, other worms, and shrunken bodies probably of juvenile tunicates, actinids etc. Corals (Coelenterate) : The animals in the Phylum Coelenterata have a radial symmetry, and food capture by means of specialized stinging cells. Amongst the three classes of this phylum, the class anthozoa comprises the coral and seafan which are ecologically important in the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve (GOMMBRE). The coral is a colony of tiny sea anemone-like polyps living together in thousands and secreting a calcareous skeleton of calcium carbonate which they extract from sea water. Coral reefs are diverse and a vulnerable ecosystem characterised by a complex interdependence of plants and animals. Reefs are the centres of high biological productivity, sites of CO2 sink and sources of huge deposits of CaCO3. The ecological significance of coral reefs is outlined below : – Coral reef constitutes one of the most valuable natural heritages of the GOMMBRE. – Healthy coral reef provides a home for a number of species

comprising a large number of individual colourful fishes, invertebrates and seaweeds. – Coral reef provides an ideal feeding ground for various marine animals. – They also serve as a nursery and breeding ground for many invertebrates and enhance the level of fishery production. – Coral reef absorbs CO2 and converts it into CaCO3, thereby, reducing the CO2 in the global environment. – They protect the sea shore from erosion.

The coral formations in and around Rameshwaram indicate local emergence and are presumed to be formed around 4000 years B.C. (Rao, 1990). Around Rameshwaram Island, northwest of Pamban, enormous coral stages were found. They are still seen at low tide level, having a height from

1.5 to 3 m (Rajamanickam, Loveson, 1990) On analysis of data on corals in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, solitary coral at each of 3 locations, 1 & 2 have been observed, locations 2 and 1 possess only 1 and 3 types of macrofauna respectively. Smaller size and poor density of coral might be the principal factors for not attracting other flora and fauna in these locations. In general, the presence of corals along the proposed alignment of Sethusamudram ship canal appears to be negligible. The reefs of Gulf of Mannar are fringing or patchy thriving in shallow waters (0.2-5.0m) around almost all islands. Most of the framework of coral reef is made up of dead or semi fossilised Porites spp. Literature survey indicates that about 128 (42 endemic) species of corals have been recorded (Pillai, 1986 and CMFRI, 1998) and the coral reefs lying on the southern side of the island are more dense and exhibit greater species diversity than the reefs on northern side. The dominant genera are Pocillopora, Porites, Acropora, Montipora, Favia, Favites, Goniopora, Goniastrea, Platygyra, Echinopora, Galacea, Turbinaria, Leptoria, Poavona and Pochyseris. The details of distribution pattern of corals and live coral percentage is presented in Table 3.21 and Figs. 3.8-3.9.

Gorgonids are observed in the Palk Bay while in the Gulf of Mannar these are recorded only near the islands. Gorgonid community is popularly known as “Flowers of underwater gardens”. Fourteen species of gorgonids were recorded (Tomas and George, 1987). The dominant genera were Subergorgia, Plexauroides, Muricella, Echinomuriceae, Echinogorgia, Thesea, Heterogorgia, Junceela and Gorgonella. For diversity, density and distribution of corals in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar, the available information is debatable and needs detailed systematic investigation. While Gopinadha Pillai (1969, 1971) listed 20 and 94 species of corals in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar respectively, Asir Ramesh and Kannupandi (1997) recorded 25 species of corals from a specific area like Vellaperukkumunai reef in the Palk Bay. Santhanam and Venkataramanujam (1996) identified 18 species of stony corals only at Tuticorin (Gulf of Mannar), and Petterson Edward and Asir Ramesh (1996) reported 32 species of corals from Pulli island alone in the Gulf of Mannar. However, studies carried out by Zoological Survey of India (Anonymous, 1998) revealed only 21 species of corals in the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve. Maximum Diversity Index values of corals in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar are shown in Table 3.22 and Fig. 3.10. The diversity is good (>2) on 9 islands while it is very less (0.69) at Appa island and 0 at Vilanguchalli island. Other islands have moderate diversity. Quarrying of corals for various purposes has been in vogue in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay for a long time. Three factories in Tirunelveli district were using corals as a raw material for their products. Mandapam and Tuticorin were the two important bases for the collection and stacking of the coral stones. While (Patel and Bhaskaran, 1978), it has been stopped totally at Mandapam after establishment of the National Marine Park Authority. However, in Tuticorin area quarrying of corals still goes on, and the landing has been estimated at 5000 t/yr (Anonymous 1998). The areas wherein live coral reefs are prominent are shown in Fig. 3.9. It is believed that inspite of large scale removal of corals, still there may be areas wherein the endemic corals are available. As per earlier records, there were 53 species of endemic stony corals inhabiting this area. The reefs of Manauli area

appear to be very important. It has been postulated by Stoddart (1973) that the modern reef growth in the region began about 5000 years ago. Sea fan (Coelenterata) : The Sea fan is yet another colonial form, but it branches only in one plane and the branches may fuse with each other to form a 'fan'. White or cream-coloured polyps may grow on a base of contrasting maroon colour, attached to stones by a broad disc-like holdfast. The colourful sea fans have long been objects of attraction to man. Foraminifera : 51 species (2 endemic) of foraminiferans (CMFRI, 1998) were reported and the dominant genera were Trochammina, Robulus, Nonion, Operculina, Bolivina, Bulimina, Streblus, Poroeponides and Cancris. Sponges (Porifera) : 275 species (31 endemic) of sponges were reported from Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay (Thomas, 1986). Order Keratosida Haplosclerida Poecilosclerida Halichondrida Hadromerida Epipolasida Choristida Carnosida : : : : : : : : No. of Species 22 39 74 31 43 17 30 19

The dominant genera were Heteronema, Spongia, Dysidea, Haliclona, Callyspongia, Spirastrella and Cliona. Sponges, although at a casual glance look like plants, are animals, living singly or in colonies. They have no fixed shape, and form flat encrustations on stones in the region of strong waves. In the crevices, these sponges are found associated with many animals, ranging from tiny crabs and brittle star to bivalve molluscs. Sponges show commensalism as several crustaceans, worms, molluscs and fishes live in the internal cavities of sponges for protection against enemies, and also act as a shelter bed.

Regarding macrobenthos, altogether 77 sponges comprising 11 genus have been recorded in the region. The density is higher (3333 ha-1) in Tuticorin area, followed by 533 and 440 ha-1 in the Palk Bay and northern side of the Gulf of Mannar respectively. The estimated sponges
-1

along

the

proposed

alignment

of

Sethusamudram canal are 1050 ha . Upreti and Shanmugaraj (1997) recorded 275 species of sponges inhabiting the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar area. Sponges prefer both the island biosphere as also the open sea-ward areas, preferably upon 30 metre depth (CMFRI 1998). Boring sponges form the major group among the marine organisms causing considerable destruction to the reef system. The 'bores' left by the sponges weaken the reef making it more susceptible to wear and tear caused by the waves and the associated impact. There are altogether 20 known species of boring sponges in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. Polychaeta : 75 species were recorded (CMFRI, 1998). The dominant genera were Iphione, Harmothoes, Eurythoe, Chloeia, Eulalia, Syllis, Ceratonereis, Perinereis, Eunice, Marphysa, Onuphis and malacoceros. Nematoda : 9 species were recorded (Ayyakkannu, 1974). The dominant genera were Anticoma, Halalaimus, Oncholainmus and Chromadora. Crustacea : The crustaceans rank second in the diversity of fauna in the coaral reef ecosystem and many of them are exploited for commercial purpose. The knowledge about marine crustaceans in incomplete. They consist of crabs, lobster, prawns, and shrimps.

Planktonic and Larval forms Group Copedods Cumacea Amphipods Ostracods Isopoda Decapod larva The dominant groups Species recorded 223 10 52 57 18 8 were Acrtia, Acrocalanus, Centropages,

Canthocalanus, Eucalanus, Microsetella, Oithona, Lucifer and penaeid larvae. Mollusca : The Mollusca includes a variety of most conspicuous, invertebrates such as bivalves, gastropods and cephalopods of which the class gastropoda covers the largest number of diversified forms. The gills of molluscs act as a filter to collect microscopic food particles. While mussels, oysters etc. come under bivalvia, cephalopods including squids, octopus etc. are primarily pelagic forms. The benthic molluscs have economic significance as under. – Bivalves, cephalopods and gastropods are delicious sea food items locally and in Southeast Asian countries. – Pearls of high value as gems are produced by the pearl oyster of the genus Pinctada under the family Pleriidae. – The sacred chank (Xancus pyrum) are much in demand for the manufacture of bangles, ornamental and decorative materials. – – Oyster shell is used to produce lime for poultry and other uses. Molluscs absorb CO2 and convert it into CaCO3, thus reducing the level of CO2 in the global environment. – The operculum of gastropods is used for manufacturing perfumes and making incense sticks. 731 species of molluscs belonging to three classes namely Bivalvia, Gastropoda and Cephalopoda were recorded (Satyamurthi, 1952; CMFRI, 1969).

Bivalvia : Arca, Modiolus, Lithophaga, Perna, Isognomon, Malleus, Pteria, Pinctada, Pinna, Cardium, Crassostrea, Meretrix, Donax and Tellina.

Gastropods : Trochus, Turbo, Nerita, Littorina, Turritella, Cerithidea, Janthina, Tibia, Strombus, Cypreaea, Bursa, Tonna, Chicoreus, Xancus, Babylonia and Hemifusus.

Cephalopods : Sepia, Sepiella, Loligo and Octopus.

Information on the two important groups of molluscs, viz. pearl oyster and chank outlined hereunder. Pearl oysters : Pearl oysters are available in large numbers from 24 groups of 87 paars in the Gulf of Mannar. Pinctada fucata yields gem quality pearls for which the Gulf of Mannar is famous from time immorial. The other species found are P. chemnitzii, P. anomioides, P. atropurpura, and P. margaretifera. Of the 24 groups of pearls, 14 occur between the shore and proposed canal in the Gulf of Mannar (Fig. 3.11). The proposed alignment of sethusamudram canal passes through the groups I, VIII, XI, XII and XIII. Out of 14 paars in these five groups, the maximum number of seven is in group XI which is located close to Tuticorin. However, five specimens of P. fucata in 25 m2 area are found far away from the proposed alignment of the canal and close to the island at the northern side of the Gulf of Mannar. Considerable mortality of young pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata, was noticed on the oyster beds in Gulf of Mannar due to predation by gastropods, Cymatium cingulation and Murex virgineus (Chellam, et al., 1983). Chanks : The sacred chank, Xancus pyrum is another resource of economic importance in the region. The demand for chanks from the bangle industry is about 2.5 million pieces per year. The present supply, which meets only about 40% of the demand, comes mainly from the Gulf of Mannar. On an average 9 x 105 and 49 x 103 sacred chanks are exploited per annum from the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay respectively (Devraj and Ravichandran 1988). Among the chanks, the variety acuta (or jathy in Tamil), found in the Gulf of Mannar fetches higher prices than the rest available elsewhere. The dominant variety present in the Palk Bay is obtusa. The chank habitats, which are within 5-25 m (often upto 35 m) depth are shown in Fig. 3.12. Areas with high population density have also been depicted in the Figure.

Usually chanks prefer fine sandy areas with rocky beds, wherein nereids abound. The sinistral freak is also available from this area. Echinoderms : Echinoderms are common and conspicuous organisms of the intertidal region. Their body structure is modified to live on different substrate such as rocky shores, sandy beaches, muddy flats, algal beds and coral reefs. Their concentration in the coral reefs is maximum (James, 1982). The phylum Echinodermata comprises the classes asteroidea, ophiuroidea, echinoidea, crinoidea and holothuroidea representing starfish, brittle star sea urchin, feather star and sea cucumber respectively, and all occur in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. Dried holothurians, marketed as beche-de-mer are used as food items. These are delicious and nutritious containing 35-52% of protein. Other classes of

echinodermata have decorative/ ornamental use. 264 species belonging to five classes namely Crinoida, Asteroidea, Ophiuroidea Echinoidea and Hologhuroidea have been recorded (James, 1985, CMFRI, 1998). The major genera were: – Crinoidea : Capillaster, Comatella, Comanthus, Comaster, Heterometra, and Tropiometra. – Asteroidea Stellaster, Echinaster. – Ophiuroidea : Ophiacits, Macrophiothrix, Ophiogymna, : Astropecten, Craspidiaster, Linckia, Goniodiscaster, Asterina and

Culcita,

Pentaseraster,

Ophiothela and Ophiothrix. – Echinoidea Echinodiscus. – Holothuroidea : Holothuria, Stichopus, Pentacta, Hemithyone and Synaptula. Economically only Holothuroidea (12 species) are exploited on a commercial scale for export. The processed sea cucumber (beche-de-mer) is entirely exported mainly to Singapore and Hong Kong yielding about Rs. 1 crore per annum (CMFRI, 1998 : personal communication). Holothuria scabra is mostly (90%) exported followed by H. spinifera, H. atra, Actinopyga echinites, A. miliaris and Bohadschia marorata. The : Astrophyga, Salmacis, Echinometra and

marketable size of H. scabra is about 40 cm in length and 500 g in weight. Tuticorin, Kelakkarai, Periyapattinam, Vedalai, Pamban, Rameswaram, Tondi, Deviptinam and Tiruppalaikudi are the important centres of sea cucumber. Flourishing export market for the processed sea cucumbers has increased their exploitation. Over 90% of beche-de-mer exported from India, is from the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar of which the contribution of the former and the latter is 60 and 30% respectively. Sea cucumbers are mostly collected by skin divers in shallow waters from 2-10 m depth (James 1994). Presently, operation of a modified trawl net called Chanku madi yields good catches of sea cucumbers alongwith chanks (Xancus pyrum). The harvest composition of this gear is Xancus pyrum (61.22%), sea cucumbers (20.4%), rays (Amphotistus kuhlii) (16.33%) and starfish, sea shells and small fishes (2.04%). Holothuria being detritus feeders are found among the marine macro-algae and seaweeds. Their habitats in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay are shown in Fig. 3.13. Prochordata : All the three groups of prochordata, viz. hemichordata,

cephalochordata and urochordata comprising 1,6 and 59 species respectively were recorded in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk bay. These organisms are considered as the connecting link between invertebrates and vertebrates. Hemichordata : The limited publications on this group has indicated the occurrence of the only species Ptychotera fava (balanoglossus) in the Gulf of Mannar (Upreti and Shanmugaraj, 1997). Balanoglossus in the Gulf of Mannar is in a very much restricted area, viz. Kunthugal in the Pamban island and Kurusadai island. The presence of the animal is discernibel by the characteristic iodoform odour present in the mud. Balanoglossus are zoologically a very interesting group from evolutionary point of view and their importance is enhanced by their rarity. Cephalochordata : Another group of prochorates of significance is the cephalochordates which measure 4-5 cm in length. Though the animals belonging to this group are limited in number but are not as rare as the balanoglossus. In the Gulf of Mannar and adjacent areas 6 species are reported to be available. Except Branchiostoma pelagicum which is pelagic, as the name itself indicates, the rest are benthic, habitating depths ranging from 5 to 25 m. The Gulf of Mannar and the adjacent marine areas seem to be the western most geographical limit of their distribution.

Urochordata : The Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar have good resources of tunicates. These jelly-like organisms are mostly sedentary and contain variety of bioactive compounds useful as drugs. Fisheries Marine capture fishery is the major economic activity of Gulf of Mannar. The total area of Gulf of Mannar under Indian Exclusive Economic Zone is about 15000 sq. km. and commercial fishing is done in about 5500 sq. km. within 50 m depth. Both mechanized and non-mechanized fishing units are mainly responsible for exploitation of sea fish resources in Gulf of Mannar (Kasim and Hamsa, 1987). Fishing in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar is multigear, multispecies and is carried out throughout the coast of mainland and the Pamban island. Within the study area, there are 87 fish landing centres between the south of Point Calimere and Pamban in the Palk Bay, and 40 centres in the Gulf of Mannar from Pamban to Tuticorin Harbour (Table 3.23). Fishes : The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay with their peculiar topography are noted for their faunal diversity and richness. Mahadevan and Nayar (1967) made detailed observations on the rock bottom of this area and described its faunal diversity. Gulf of Mannar is one of the best regions in the Indian subcontinent in fish biodiversity richness. The Shannon Weaver Diversity Index (H’ values) for the ornamental fishes around each island in the Gulf of Mannar exceeds 2.5 in 2/3 of the islands. The variation in its value with species richness and density is depicted in Table 3.24. Although over 600 species of fishes, crustaceans and molluscs (out of which no. of fish species is 441) are reported (Anonymous 1998), to support the fishery in these regions, the commercially important species (200 species out of total 441 fish sp.) (Table 3.25) are limited in number. The chief fisheries are the pelagic sardines, seer fish, tunas, mackerel, sharks, caranids, barracudas, wolf herring, full and half beaks, the demersal perches such as sweetlips, groupers, rock-cods, snappers, goat fishes, croakers, sharks, rays, skates, coral fishes, threadfin, breams, silverbellies, the shell fishes like chanks, squids, cuttlefish shrimps, crabs and lobsters. Most of these resources are commercially exploited by mechanised trawlers.

There was overfishing of silverbellies in 1973-74 and 1974-75 when the effort far exceeded the optimum level. (Venkataraman et.al., 1981). Pair trawling carried out in Palk Bay yielded large catches of Rainbow sardines (Dussumieria) and pomfrets (Pampus argenteus). (Pillai, Sathiadhas, 1982). Fishery of the swimming crab Portunus pelagicus Linnaeus is done on large scale along the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. Vedalai is found to be the most productive centre for crabs (Hamsa, KMSA, 1978). The sunfish M. oxyuroptenus is found in the Gulf of Mannar (Devaraj, Nammalwar and Thiagarajan, 1976). Silverbellies (Leiognathus jonesi) form an important demersal fishery of India particularly on the coasts of southern maritime states, the annual average catch amounting to about 3% of the total marine fish catch in India (Annam, Raja, 1981). The marine mammals – dolphins and dugongs form a part of fishery. The smaller cetaceans that are caught along the Indian coast are Stenella longirostris, Delphinus delphis, Jousa chinensis and Tursiops truncates. Annually about 25 dugongs are caught in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay and about 250 dolphins are caught along the Indian Coast (Mohan, 1987). Shore seines, boat seines, trawl nets and hooks and lines are the principal gear operated. The shore seines are of two types namely Kara valai and Olavalai. The former is operated with the help of vallam fitted with out board engines and is mainly used for capturing small pelagic fishes while the latter is operated with the help of nonmechanised vallam craft for capturing small shrimps and small pelagic fishes. Boat seines are operated using vallam with inboard engine. Specialised gears are also used such as chala valai for small pelagic fishes, paru valai for perches and tunas, thirukkai valai for rays, nandu valai for crabs and lobster etc. Traps are used to catch reef dwellers such as groupers, snappers, lobsters,shrimps etc. Shrimp and fish trawl nets are operated to capture a variety of demersal fishes such as silverbellies, carangids, perches, pomfrets, ogatfishes, rays, prawns etc. Among hooks and lines, longolines are used for hooking perches, catfish, sharks etc. and troll lines for scombroids, fishes, sharks, carangids etc. Depending on the tide and fishing season kalamkatti valai is operated at night on the shores of the islands for catching shore fishes and mullets. The commercial importance of fish is either as food for human being or as fishery by-products like fish oil from sardines, liver oil from sharks and skates,

processed fish skin from sharks, rays and bigger groupers and fish meal from small sized low value fish for use in cattle and poultry farms. The commercially important species include sardines, mackerel, anchovies, seerfishes, tunas, ribbon fishes, elashmobranchs, perches, catfishes, silver bellies, goatfish, lizard fishes, ribbon fishes, mullets, barracudas, penaeid and non-penaeid shrimps, lobsters, crabs, cephalopods, bivalves and gastropods. Capture Fishes : 441 species (Dorairaj, 1997) were reported in the following orders, namely Lamniformes, Squaliformes, Torpediniformes, Elopiformes, Anguilliformes, Clupeiformes, Aulopiformes Gadiformes Ophidiiformes, Batracoidiformes,

Lophiiformes, Cyprinodontiformes, Atheriniformes, Bercyciformes, Pegasiformes, Syngnathiformes, Scorpaeniformes, Perciformes and Pleuronectiformes. Ornamental Fishes : About 100 species (Murthy, 1969) have been recorded. The dominant genera were Chaetodon, amphiprion, Abudefduf, Holocentrum, Upeneus Parupeneus, Pomacanthodes, Acanthurus and Lactoria. Crafts and gears : Fishing is carried out in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar almost through out the day. The various gears operating in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar are listed in Table 3.26. Primarily, various types of gill nets and seine nets are used for pelagic fishing, while trawlers are used for harvesting demersal fishes. Thangal (stay put) fishing which lasts for 5 to 7 days is also being practised by the fishermen of Mandapam and Pamban island. Catamarans, dug-out canoes, plank built Tuticorin type of thony/vallam, stitched masula boats are the traditional crafts in use. The Tuticorin type of boats are operated either undersail or with inbuilt diesel engine or in combination. Often catamarans and canoes too are used with outboard engines. The changing trend in fishing gears and crafts in this region is remarkable. In early fifties, while 55% of the catch was made by boat seines operated from catamarans, 34% came in gill nets operated from Tuticorin type of traditional crafts. In late fifties, nylon nets were introduced and the harvest increased by 30%. Post 1970 period marked a revolution in fishing with the introduction of mechanised trawlers and emergence of prawn fishery and an increase of over 40% in the total fish catch. During 1980's in Tuticorin around 20,000 tonnes of fishes were landed by trawlers and 10,000 tonnes by traditional fishing units.

Fishing Limits : Mechanised trawl fishing is being conducted usually upto 50 m (20 fathom) depth, while during November - February the fishermen go upto 180 metres (100 fathom) for harvesting deep sea prawns. For collection of gorgonids, trawl nets are operated beyond 50 metres depth. Non-mechanised units usually operate within a depth of 36 metres (20 fathom). Fishing in Mandapam and Rameswaram : Fishing units in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar operate from Rameswaram. During the south-west monsoon period (June - September), as the Gulf of Mannar side gets rough, fishing is carried out mostly in the Palk Bay. During north-east monsoon (October - February), the fishing shifts to the Gulf of Mannar which becomes calmer than the Palk Bay. The trawl landings are concentrated at Mandapam, Pamban and Rameswaram. The most important catch in the Mandapam area is silver bellies (48%), rays, croakers, clupeids, goatfishes, perches, catfishes, lizardfishes and carangids. At Rameswaram also, silver bellies dominate (51%), followed by rays (13%), croakers (9.5%) and penaeid shrimps (9.4%), goatfishes, carangids, catfishes, flat fishes, clupeids, cephalopods and crabs. Mackerel and carangids dominate the catch by the indigenous gears. Anchovies and seerfishes also support a seasonal fishery. During the lean inshore fishing season the fishermen of this area resort to 'Thangal fishing'. Fish Production : The marine fish landings in the Gulf of Mannar can broadly be classified into four groups, viz. pelagic, demersal, crustaceans and molluscs. During 1992 - 1996, the production has increased gradually from 55,325 tonnes in 1992 to 1,02,897 tonnes in 1996 (Table 3.27). In general, contribution of pelagic varieties is maximum (54%) followed by demersal (35%), crustaceans (6%) and molluscs (5%). While the harvest in the Gulf of Mannar is 20% of the total production in Tamilnadu, it is estimated that exploitation in this area is 800 tonnes in excess of sustainable yield, and the production rate is 14 tonnes km-2. The major varieties contributing to fish production in this area are sardines, carangids, silver bellies, perches, rays, penaeid prawns and cephalopods (Table 3.28). Higher salinity conditions and the temperate range 27.8-29.4OC favor the Sardinella fishery at Tuticorin, Gulf of Mannar (Nalluchinnappan, et. al., 1982). Water temperature and salinity appeared to influence the distribution of major finfishes compared to dissolved oxygen. Groups such as threadfin breams were found

preferring cooler waters of wadge Bank area, while Barracudas appear to occupy warmer waters of Gulf of Mannar (Balachandran, Agadi, 1996). While other sardines dominated the catch in all the years between 1992 and 1996, the subdominant varieties were cephalopods in 1992 and silver bellief during 1993 to 1996. Sardines and Cephalopods are usually harvested by different gears in pelagic region. However, the demersal varieties like silver bellies, penaeid prawns, rays, thryssa, corakers etc. are primarily exploited by trawlers (Table 3.29). The catch through trawlers further indicates that certain varieties like silver bellies, rays, croakers, crabs, sardines, goat fishes and catfishes prefer the northern side of the Gulf of Mannar, that is, Pamban and Rameswaram; while thryssa, carangids, stolephorus and seer fishes are predominantly caught in the southern side, that is, Tuticorin (Table 3.30). The oil sardine, Sardinella longiceps fishery in the canal zone is a new event. Even a few years ago this variety was rarely found in this area. During 1996 its catch was 1419 tonnnes. In the area adjoining Pamban island, its eggs and larvae have been observed, indicating that the fish stock has become localised and breeds in this area. Another important change is the unusual increase in mackerel Rastrelliger kanagurta harvest. In 1992 the mackeral fishery was only 213 tonnes and in 1996 it was 3711 tonnes. Sand lobster Thenus orientalis fishery of Tuticorin is another newly emerging minor fishery. – Penaeid and Non-Penaeid shrimps: 41 species were reported and the dominant genera were Penaeus, Metapenaeus,

Parapenaeopsis and Acetes. (CMFRI, 1998). – Lobster : 7 species namely Panulirus homarus, P. ornatus, P.versicolor, P. longipes P. polyphagus, Puerulus sewelli and Thenus orientialis were recorded (George, 1973). – Crabs : 210 species were observed (CMFRI, 1969 and 1998). The dominant genera were Dromia, Cryptodromia, Rania, Dorippe, Calappa, Scylla, Portuneus, Charybdis, Thalamita, Demania, Leptodius, Atergatis, Phymodius and Doclea. The green tiger prawns Penaeus semisulcatus, contributes to over 50% of the total prawns catch landed along the Palk Bay coast. Intense fishing for juvenile

prawns, which inhabit the seagrass ecosystem near the shore, is taking place all along the coast. The results of a survey carried out on this exploitation pattern are reported. The prawn catch, the bulk of which is composed of juvenile P. seisulcatus, is found to vary from 2 kg to 10 kg per unit per day. The size of the exploited P. semisulcatus ranges from 31 mm to 100 mm total length with the dominant size group at 45-70 mm. (Rao, 1988). At coastal villages 16 potential landing centres were identified, 12 in Gulf of Mannar region and 4 in the Palk Bay region and there came to know that the Chicoreus ramosus and Pleuroploca trapezium fishery is mainly associated with lobster fishery. The export value of the meat of these 2 gastropods has attracted the attention of the fisher folk and it has emerged as an additional source of income for them. In addition to the fishermen involved in fishing these gastropods, there are about 60 other persons engaged in the gastropod meat trade (Spec. Pub. Phukat Mar. Biol. Cent. 1994). The seasonal prawn fishery (mainly of Penacus indicus) of Periathalai, a fishing village on the south-east coast of Tamilnadu, lasts for a period of three to four months in a year. But it is found that there is a gradual decrease in the female population of this species (Rajamani, Manickaraja, 1990) Non-conventional fishery : The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay support select nonconventional fishery resources. A historical pearl fishery exists here and the pearl oysters are the property of the Tamilnadu Government. The areas where pearl oysters are found from near shore region to the canal zone are shown in Fig. 3.11 and Table 3.31. The pearl oysters settle and grow on hard rocky substrata called 'Paars' found abundantly from Pamban in the north to Manapad in the south over a stretch of 160 km where 83 well known 'Paars' exist. The beautiful natural pearls produced by these oysters are of high economic importance. The Tamilnadu Pearl and Chank Fisheries Rules, 1978 under the Indian Fisheries Act 1897, prohibit harvesting of pearl oysters and chanks in specified areas except with a licence granted under the rules. The natural production a pearl oysters in the pearls banks of the Gulf of Mannar is Characterised by very wide fluctuations. Therefore, ability of producing pearl oyster seed through hatcheries is of great importance for the development of pearl culture industry in India. The barnacle Balanus amphitrite variegates was the major fouling organism and Polychaete Polydora ciliata and the sponge (Clions vastifica)

were the main boring organisms responsible for heavy loading on the pearl systems. (Symposium on coastal aquaculture, 1983). In the vicinity of the pearl culture farm located off Veppalodai in the Gulf of Mannar, the salinity remains high during the period of the south-west monsoon and low during the north-east monsoon. There was not much variation in pH values and dissolved oxygen content. The water was studied during the most part of the year, with higher dissolved oxygen content. (Symposium on coastal aquaculture, 1983). The specific fishing of sea horse (Hippocampus kuda) commenced in the year 1992. The fisher folk of both the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar consider this specific fishing as a boon. The records of Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) show export of sea horse to the tune of 6 tonnes in 1991-92 followed by a decline to 2 tonnes in 1992-93, thus indirectly indicating a decrease in sea horse population (Anonymous 1998). Other non-conventional fisheries practised are for seaweeds, ornamental shells, gorgonids and holothurians. The export data of MPEDA on sea fans and sea ferns clearly shows a declining trend of 25 tonnes during

1975-79, 11 tonnes during 1980-84, one ton in 1990-91 and nil in 1992-93 (Anonymous, 1993). Similarly sea cucumbers are also indiscriminately fished in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. According to MPEDA records the export trend of holothurians has started showing declining trend from 40 to 38 and finally 24 tonnes in 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 respectively. One species of Holothuria (Metriatyla scaber) is exclusively used in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay for the preparation of beche-de-mer (James, 1987). The use of metal scrapers and other implements on the sea grass beds to drag out the sea cucumbers are powerful enough to damage the niche (James, 1989). Breeding ground : There is not specific locality identifiable as breeding ground for fishes. The fishes breed throughout the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar and almost through out the year. Fish eggs have been observed in the Gulf of Mannar throughout the year with a peak in March and minor peaks in May, September and November. In the Palk Bay also maximum number of fish eggs were collected in March. The eggs were identified as belonging to clupeoids, carangids, Cynoglossus and muraenids. There exists a minor fishery for juvenile fishes in the Pamban island

and in Theedai area during January-March, in which mostly baby sardines are caught by torch (Choondu) fishing during night hours. At Kunthukal Point (Pamban) very good quantities of juvenil milk fish (Chanos chanos) are caught during AprilJune and September for use as seed stock for fish farming in various parts of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Spawning takes place in areas between 20m and 60 m depth in the northern Gulf of Mannar. The spent adults migrate to the central Gulf of Mannar coast by November – December. Spawning takes place around the full moon period.

The fry and fingerlings of the Indian sand whiting, Sillago sihama (Forskal), which can serve as seed, have been found to occur in the coastal waters of the Palk Bay throughout the year with at least three months of peak abundances in January, May and October. The overall abundance was highest during full moon period, while a direct relationship of the abundance of the fry and fingerlings could be noticed with the increase in temperature and dissolved oxygen content (James, 1984). A potential ground for milkfish (Chanos chanos) seed collection has been located at Manoli Island in the Gulf of Mannar, where eggs and fingerlings of the species congregate in large numbers in the tidal pools under the dense shades of the mangrove bushes in April-May (Dorairaj et al., 1984). Juveniles of Penaeus semisulcatus are found in large concentrations in the shallow inshore sea, between Pattannamarudar and Tuticorin along the Tinnerelly coast in Tamilnadu and they are fished throughout the year by an indigenous gear known as ‘Ola Valai’ operated in the waters within 2 m depth. (Manisseri, 1982). Turtles : Marine turtles are mainly omnivorous and often consume algae. For the purpose of respiration they periodically surface like the marine mammals. The turtles migrate to the shore for egg laying and prefer to come to the same site where they themselves once had hatched out. Their nesting migration is during September - January. Five species of marine turtles were recorded in the Gulf of Mannar and little is known about their distribution under water. There are Chelonia mydas (green turtle), Hepidochelys olivacea (olive ridley), Caretta caretta (loggerheads turtle), Eretmochelys imbricata (Hawk bill turtle), Dermochelys coriacea (leather bask turtle). All are endangered species as per Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. A soft shelled turtle P. bibroni from Palk Bay can tolerate the marine environment, as against the belief that it is purely a freshwater form (Nair and Badrudeen, 1975). Prior to about 40 years, turtles used to lay eggs in the sandy beaches throughout the Gulf of Mannar coast, both in the main lands and also in the islands including Sri Lanka. However, due to increased human activity, presently they avoid Indian mainland coast but they do continue to visit the Sri Lankan coast and the islands. Though their number is low in the Gulf of Mannar, all the 5 species still lay eggs in these islands. Presently, capturing turtles is prohibited. Mammals : 11 species have been recorded (Jamer and Lal Mohan, 1987, CMFRI, 1998) including 6 species of whales, 4 species of dolphins and 1 species of dugong. All are endangered species (Wildlife Protection Act, 1972). The cetacea (whales and dolphins) and sirenia (sea cow) represent the main groups of marine mammals in the Gulf of Mannar.

Marine mammals have a layer of dermal fat or blubber. This acts as a stored reserve food for future use in case of deficiency of food. The sirenia (sea cow) graze with their well developed lips, in consequence, their teeth are little used and are greatly reduced in size. In cetacea, whales and dolphins are mostly carnivorous and feed on crustaceans, squids, and fishes. In sirenia, sea cow is herbivorous and feeds mainly on sea grasses. A total of 187 species of shore birds including wadors, terns and gulls were recorded in the Gulf of Mannar, of which 84 were of aquatic species and the remaining terrestrial. The uncommon waders to India such as knot Calidris canuta, eastern knot C. tenuirostris, Numenius arquata, whimbrel N. phaeophus and bar-tailed gotuit Limosa lapponica were recorded as regular winter visitors to this area (Balachandran, 1995). Dolphins and Whales : The dolphins found in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay are oceanic and roam about in the area. It is most likely that only the frail and the infirm whales move towards this area as known from standings of whales. So far no mass standing of whales has been observed in the canal area. A male sperm whale P. macrocephalus Linnaeus is rarely found on the southern side of Krusadai Island (Gulf of Mannar), (James and Soundararajan, 1979). The dolphins Stenella longirostris and Tursiops truncatus are often caught in various nets and the ones thus caught and injured (probably) are clandestinely butchered for food. However, capture or harming of the sea mammals is prohibited by law. Sea Cow : Unlike dolphins and whales, sea cow (Dugong dugon) inhabits the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar preferably within 10 m depth limit not far from the shore (1-3 km). Usually sea cows move in groups of 5-7 among the seagrass Cymodocea, which is their chief diet. Their habitat extends from Adiramapattinam in the Palk Bay to Taliyari island in the Gulf of Mannar (Fig. 3.13). The dugong which grows to over 300 kg measuring 1-1.5 m in length, is harmless and sluggish in nature. Its gestation period lasts for 13-14 months and gives birth to a single calf at a time. Though young male adults compete among themselves for female, once they have paired, they remain paired for the whole life. Their attachment to the partner and calf is such that if one of the partners or calf gets caught the rest also shall follow; thus becoming easy victims. They have no natural enemies except the civilised man. The exact number of sea cows living in the Gulf of Mannar & the Palk Bay is not known. Due to uncontrolled fishing carried out till recently and also due to

reduction in their grazing area and Cymodocea, their numbers have gone down drastically. During 1980's, about 200 sea cows were killed per year. Now they are protected by the Wildlife (Protection) Act, and are under threatened status. Occasionally, marine mammals and turtles have been observed to get washed ashore, and on examination it is found that the death was often due to propeller cutus or eating of floatsam. Marine Macroflora : Seaweeds or marine algae are primitive plants without any root, stem and leaves. They grow in the intertidal and subtidal areas of the sea and flourish wherever rocky, coral or any other suitable substrates are available for their attachment. Based on the type of pigments, external and internal structures, seaweeds, are divided into green, brown, red and blue-green algae. Seaweeds constitute one of the commercially important marine living and renewable resources. They contain more than 60 trace elements, minerals, protein, iodine, bromine, vitamin and many bioactive substances. Four seaweeds that are commercially collected along the coast of the Gulf of Mannar are – Gracilaria edulis, Gelidiella acerosa, Sargassum wrightii and Turbinaria sp. and these are one of the main sources of income in the concerned villages. In the Hindu villages these also give the women one of their few fast income. But now there is lack of sufficient quality and quantity of these sea weeds (Uusitalo, 1987). The 6 genera and 9 species of seagrasses of the marine flowering plants recorded from the Gulf of Mannar are : Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea serrulata, C. rotundata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Enhalus acoroides, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila ovalis, H. ovata and H. Stipulacea (Mahalingam and Gopinath, 1987). Sea grasses are also marine plants belonging to two monocotyledonous families, viz. Hydrocharitaceae and potamogetonaceae. These are the only submerged marine angiosperms to have successfully adapted and survived in the saline environment. Of the 52 species of seagrasses available in both tropical and temperate waters around the world, 13 species are recorded in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve areas. The distribution of seagrass areas around the islands of Gulf of Mannar is shown in Fig. 3.14.

Seagrass beds are highly productive and act as breeding and nursery ground for many epiphytic fauna and feeding ground for sea cow (Dugong dugong). Seagrass roots bind sediments and prevent erosion. Of the 52 species of seagrasses recorded worldwide, 12 species were recorded in Gulf of Mannar (Ramamurthy et al, 1992). The dominant genera are Cymodocea, Thalassia, Halophila, Halodule, Enhalus and Syringodium. The details of distribution pattern of seagrass in the islands of Gulf of Mannar is depicted in Table 3.32. Importance of Seaweeds and Sea Grasses – Seaweeds are the only source for the production of agar, carageenan and sodium alginate. While agar is manufactured from red algae like Gelidiella, Gelidium, and Gracilaria,

carageenan is prepared from other varieties of red algae like Fucheums, Chondrus, Hypnea and Cigartina. The sodium alginate is obtained from brown algae such as Sargassum, turbinaria, Laminaria, Undaria, Macrocystis and Ascophyllus. – The brown algae Dictyota bartayresiana collected in the Gulf of Mannar of the Indian Ocean yielded diterpenes consisting of one known dolastane, five known dolabellanes and five new compounds (Rao et al., 1994) – Seaweeds act as a breeding and nursery ground from some species of fishes and invertebrates. – Brown seaweeds are used for manuring, as feeds, fodder for cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, and also for extraction of potash and iodine. – Although a few animals may feed directly on the seagrass, the major food chains are based on seagrass detritus and its resident microbes. – Seagrass is the main feed for the sea cow Dugong dugon (endangered marine mammal). The organic matter in the detritus and in decaying roots initiates sulfate reduction and maintains an active sulfur cycle.

A total of 42 species of green algae, 31 species of brown algae, 69 species of red algae, 5 species of blue-green algae and 13 species of grasses were recorded in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar (CSMCRI, 1978, Parthasarthy, et al., 1991). The area covered from Athankarai to Rameswaram (45 km coastline) in the Palk Bay and from Mandapam to Welamidalam (413 km coastline) including 21 islands of the Gulf of Mannar possess higher density of algal distribution. Standing crop of the macroalgae from the total area of 17,125 ha (above said area) is 22,044 tonnes (wet wt.), consisting of 1,709 tonnes of agarophyses, 10,266 tonnes of alginophyses and 10,069 tonnes of other seaweeds. The commercially important species, viz., Gelidiella acerosa Gracillaria sp., Hypnea sp., Sargassum sp. and Turbinaria sp. contribute

74, 974, 798, 9381 and 714 tonnes respectively (Kalimuthu et al. 1990). Maximum Diversity Index Values for seagrasses in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar are shown in Table 3.33 and Fig. 3.15. The values ranged from 2.07 to 2.48. Thus, variation in diversity of seagrass at different islands is less. Mangrove : Mangroves are salt tolerant forest eco-systems found in select islands and also at certain intertidal regions. These are exposed at low tides and partially submerged during the high tides. The plants comprise the true mangroves as well as other flora which are associated with the mangroves to form the 'Mangrove community'. The significance of mangroves is as follows : – Mangroves help to prevent coastal erosion and built land from the sea. – Mangrove vegetations help to provide food and shelter during part or all of the cycle of many marine species and act as a nursery ground for many marine organisms. – Mangroves help to stabilize the coastal areas by reducing wind damage and wave energy during storms. Maximum Diversity Index values of mangroves in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar are shown in Table 3.34 and Fig. 3.16. The locations of mangroves in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay are shown in Fig. 3.17. Relatively good diversity (>2) was observed at 9 islands, no diversity at 2 islands and moderate diversity at 10 islands.

The list of mangrove species recorded in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar is given in Table 3.35. It is believed that mangroves along the main land coast and river mouths of the canal zone have been reduced or replaced by habitation and saltpans. Mangroves and the associated vegetations in the islands are said to be under constant pressure. Although detailed studies have not been carried out, the islands like Krusadai, Shingle, New Manauli and Poomarichan islands possess patches of mangroves (Stoddart & Fosberg, 1972). The genera Avicennia and Rhizophora are predominant in these islands. The Pamban Islands also have dense mangrove forest cover with several species, which are degraded due to human activities like grazing by domestic cattle & firewood exploitation by rural poor people. The coastal mangrove has little value & occupy very narrow strip of few meter widths along the coast or lagoon. The mangrove formation around Rameshwaram is discontinuous & about 100 years old (Venkatesan, 1986). From the seacoast of Rameshwaram island, Rhizophora apiculata, Ceriops tagal, Aricennia alba, Bruguiera, Gymnorhiza are identified. Stoddart & Fosberg (1972) have reported minor patch of mangroves near Rameshwaram. The species of mangroves found in the estuarine coast of Palk Bay and deltaic ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar are given in Table 3.35. Around 9 species of mangroves (Krishnamurthy, 1987) and 7 associated species were found in Gulf of Mannar. The dominant genera were Avicennia, Rhizophora, Bruguiera, Lumnizera, Ceriops and Pemphis. The genera Avicennia and Rhizophora are found to be dominant in Krusadai, Poomarichan, Pullivasal, Musal, Anaiparand and Upputhanni islands. Manoli and Manoliputti show a high species diversity of mangroves (Avicennia, Rhizophora, Bruguiera, Lumnitzera and Ceriops). Pemphis acidula is found in all the islands. The details of distribution pattern of mangrove vegetation in the islands of Gulf of Mannar is given in Table 3.36. Out of 3140 km2 area of mangroves in India, the contribution of Tamilnadu is only 100 km2. Major regions of mangrove formations in the state are Killai, Muthupet and Chatrom (Puthupatinam and Talanayer 1993, Anonymous 1997). In general, mangroves in coastal regions along the study area as also in the 21 islands in the Gulf of Mannar are negligible in India is total.

Biodiversity : The GOMMBRE is endowed with various ecosystems, viz. coral reef, sea grass and mangrove. In these ecosystems different flora and fauna with varying ecological habitats are represented in great numbers. In order to indicate the rich biodiversity, pluralism and endemism the important groups of biota and species composition have been studied by different agencies. A review by CMFRI, Kochi on select literature published during 1903-1986 towards flora and fauna in GOMMBRE indicates that over 3268 varieties of organisms under different groups were present in this area (Table 3.6). However, the booklet published by Tamilnadu Forest Department, Ramanathapuram (Upreti and Shanmugaraj 1997) mentioned that GOMMBRE possesse 3600 species. Further, studies carried out by Zoological Survey of India (Anonymous 1998) concluded that presently there are 1060 species in GOMMBRE (Table 3.6). It is of interest to note that the only species of marine insects present in the region is Halobates herdmani which is also endemic in the Gulf of Mannar. Wide fluctuation of diversity of biota as reported by different agencies is attributed to following factors. – The papers reviewed by CMFRI cover the species recorded in the area during long wide period of time, while the species enlisted by ZSI is based on 5 surveys undertaken during 1993-97 in the GOMMBRE. All the species recorded by CMFRI may not be available in present years due to ecological changes over a course of time. – Certain groups of species, viz. mangroves, phytoplankton, chaetognatha, etc. were not included in the list prepared by CMFRI, while the species of major groups like mangroves, sea grass, marine algae, zooplankton, avifauna etc. were not encountered in the list of ZSI. – While referring occurrence of 3600 species of plants and animals in the GOMMBRE, the report (Anonymous 1998) from M.S. Swaminathan Foundation documented availability of 168 types of birds in its 21 islands. The number is more than double than that (61) recorded by CMFRI. It may be mentioned that the number of species varied widely during different seasons in the same year.

Literature on number of species and diversity index reveals that, in general, the biodiversity of this region is fairly high. This is supported by comparatively higher diversity indices of zooplankton in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay from the records at different coastal regions of India (Table 3.13). However, comparative account of primary productivity values at different seas (Table 3.37) support that the productivity in the Gulf of Mannar is substantially low from those of other reef ecosystems, viz. Minicoy, Andaman, Kavaratti etc. Maximum Diversity Index values of corals, mangroves and seagrass are shown in Fig. 3.18 which show that most of the islands have good biodiversity of these plants and animals.

3.3

Biodiversity of Islands in Study Region
The 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar are divided into four groups namely

Mandapam, Keezhakarai, Vembar and Tuticorin due to the proximity of islands to these locations. 3.3.1 Mandapam Group There are seven islands present in Mandapam group covering an area 262.3 ha. It is nearest group of island to the proposed project site. Seven islands present in this region are biologically very rich. Krusadai island is the “Biologist’s Paradise”, as it holds maximum genetic diversity. Patch reefs are found on the southern and northern side of the islands. Fringing reefs occur along the southern side at a distance of about 1 to 5 km. Dugong foraging grounds are extensive. 35 species of corals, 12 species of seagrasses and

9 species of mangroves are found in this group. Coral reefs were surveyed during low tide times. They were observed at different zones in exposed areas. Some of the islands were small with an area less than 5 to 7 km2. Around Muyal theevu (Hare Island) coral reefs were noticed along the entire southern portion as a stretch and into the sea for about 2 km. On the northeast it extended to a distance of about 1 km in width. Manoli and Manoliputti islands have coral reefs occupying an area of about 8 km2, in the shallow region. Pullivasal and Shingle region could be seen clearly during low tide. Krusadai Island had coral reefs on the eastern side, which was about 200 meters wide and ran to about 1-km length

on the southwest direction. The common coral fauna found around the Mandapam group of island is given in Table 3.38. Corals are mostly found upto 5m depths. More number of live coral points exists around Manoli and Manoliputti islands. Coral reef area around the islands is about 41 sq.km. Seagrass covers an area of about 23 sq.km around the islands. Fringing reefs were found from 100 to 500 meters away from the shore around the islands. They were not continuous but were broken here and there. They occurred mostly abound all the islands. Underwater survey of coral reefs yielded information on the various species of corals found surrounding the Mandapam group of islands in the Gulf of Mannar and are given in Table 3.38. There was a rich variety of coral fauna. There were more than 31 species of

7 genera of coral fauna. Of this 7 species belonging to 7 genera were hermatypic. The most commonly occurring genera of corals were Acropora, Montipora and Porites. Coral associated animals included a variety of fishes. Other associated fauna included sea anemones, star fishes, sea urchins, pipe fishes, sea fans, holothurians, shell fishes such as lobsters, gastropod molluscs, and fin fishes such as Epinephelus (grouper), Siganus (rabbit fish), Lethrinus (pig fish), Caranx (horse mackerel), and Serranus. Various coral associated fauna, their shelter and food items are given in Table 3.39. Seaweeds occur in the intertidal, shallow and deep water of the sea upto 180 m depth and also in estuaries and backwater. They grow on dead corals, rocks, stones, pebbles and other substrate and as epiphyte on sea grasses. Several species of green, brown and red algae with luxuriant growth are observed in this area. Total 180 species of seaweeds are growing in Mandapam region, of which about 40 species are economically important. These species are Enteromorpha, Ulva, Caulerpa, Codium (Green algae), Colpomenia, Hydroclathrus, Cystoseira,

Hormophysa, Sargassum, Turbinaria (Brown algae), Asparagopsis, Gelidiella, Gracilaria, Sarconema, Hypnea, Acanthophora and Laurencia (Red algae). The biomass of economically important seaweed of Gulf of Mannar is estimated as 8445 tonnes (Wet weight). The giant sea anemone, Stoichaetis giganteum (Forsk), was found to grow both on sandy areas as well as on rocky bottom. Often many clown fishes such as,

Amphiprion spp. and damselfishes such as, Dascyllus trimaculatus (Ruppells) were found swimming over the anemones. Sacred chanks (Xancus pyrum Linnaeus) were found in shoreward areas, shallow waters and also at greater depths of 10 meters and above. Other invertebrates are found Clypeaster humilis, Salmacis bicolor, and Murex tribulus. Sea cucumber (Holothuria atra) and (Holothuria scabra) were also found. Dense growth of Echinolampus spp., Clypeaster humilis, and some Astropecten spp., was also observed. Alcyonarians, Pennatulids, and filamentous green algae were also found at deeper areas. Lobsters, sea fans, sea horses, echinoderms, ornamental shells like cowries and tiger shells and a number of species of crabs including edible and non-edible ones were also found. The green turtle Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus) is found in Mandapam region. The major food items observed in their stomachs are sea grasses and sea weed (Pillai and Thiagarajan, 1979). 3.3.1.1 Shingle Island Coral distribution Fringing reefs on the eastern, northern and western sides occur at distance of 300 m from the shore. Coral reef covers an area of about 2 sq.km. Live coral coverage is about 46%. 15 species have been recorded in the current study. The species recorded are Acropora hyacinthus, Montipora digitata, M. divaricata, M.foliosa, Echinopora lamellosa, favia pallida, F.valenciennesi, Favites abdita, Goniastrea pectinata, G.retiformis, Leptastrea transversa, Platygyra lamellina, Galaxea fascicularis, Pocillopora damicronis and Porties solida. Seagrass distribution Seagrass is distributed all around the island covering an area of about 0.21 sq.km. 11 species have been recorded. They are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove distribution The swamp in the island possesses mangroves. Six species of mangroves and 5 associated species are recorded. The recorded species are Avicennia marina, Rhzophora mucronata, Ceripos tagal, Bruguiera cylindrica, Lumnitzers racemosa,

Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Pandanus sp, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola sp and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.1.2 Krusadai island Krusadai Island known for its rich biodiversity is referred to as the “Paradise of biologists”. The island is about 3.5 km from Mandapam and covers an area of about 66 ha. The southeast part of the island is sandy and the northern part muddy with marshy vegetation. The Krusadai group of islands, serve as windbreaks and help to prevent soil erosion. The Krusadai island, is 125 acres rectangular and somewhat (inverted) boatshaped, it is separated by 250 m of sea from the nearest point of Rameshwaram Island. For protection of Krusadai Island, the proper mangrove vegetation and its proper management is necessary. (Lakshmanan, K.K.; Rajeswari, M.; Jayalakshmi, R., 1984). Coral distribution Continuous fringing reefs on the southern side extends upto 500 m. Coral reefs cover an area of about 1.5 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 33%. 19 species have been recorded in the current study. The recorded species are Acropora humilis, A. hyacinthus, Montipora digitata, M. divaricata, M. foliosa, M. verrilli, Echinopora lamellose, Favia pallida, F. valenciennesi, Favites abdita, Goniastea pectinata, G. retiformis, Leptastrea transversa, Platygyra lamellina, Galaxea fascicularis, Pocillopora domicornis, Goniopora planulata, Porites lichen, Coscinaria monile and Psammocora contigua. Seagrass distribution Seagrass is distributed all around the island covering an area of about 3 sq. km. About 12 species have been recorded and the species are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis acidula, Halophola ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Enhalus acoroides, Halophila stipulaceae, H. decipiens, H. beccarii and Halodule pinifolla. Mangrove vegetation Mangroves are located in the peripheral region along the northern side of the island. Seven species of mangroves and 6 associated species are recorded. They are

Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, Ceripos tagal, Brugiera cylindrical, Pemphis acidula, Exoecaria aggallocha, Aegiceras corniculatum, Salvadora persica, Pandanus sp., Sesuvium sp., Scaevola sp, Suaeda sp. and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.1.3 Pullivasal and Poomarichan Island Pullivasal island is located about 3 km east of Mandapam. It covers an area of about 29 ha and the maximum elevation of the island is 3 m. The island is adjacent to Krusadai Island and accessible from Poomarichan island by crossing a shallow stretch of water. Thickly wooded trees are found in the island. Poomarichan Island is located about 3 km east of Mandapam and covers an area of about 27 ha and the maximum elevation of the island is 1.5 m. The island is ‘U’ shaped and has marshy soil with good vegetative cover. Coral Distribution Fringing reefs occur at a distance of 400 m in the southern side and patch reef occurs beyond the muddy area in the northern side of Pullivasal Island. Coral patches close to the island are exposed during low tide. Coral reefs are found in the western and eastern side of the Poomarichan Island at a distance of 150 m from the shore. On the southern side continuous reef exists close to the shore. Coral reefs cover an area of about 4 sq.km. Live coral coverage is about 14% (includes area around both the islands). Sixteen species of corals are recorded around the Pullivasal island in the current study. The recorded species are Montipora digitata, M. foliosa, Echinopora lamellosa, Favia pallida, Goniastrea, G. retiformis, Leptastrea transversa, Pocillopora damicornis, Porites solida, P. lichen,

Psammocora contigua, Symphyllia radians, Acropora hyacinthus, A. humilis, A. formosa and A. abdita. Twelve species of corals are recorded around the Poomarichan island in the current study. The species recorded are Acropora corvmbosa,

A. plantaginea, A. valenciennesi, Montipora digitata, M. divaricata, M. divaricata, Favia pallida, F. valenciennesi, Favites abdita, Goniastrea pectinata,

G. retiformis, Pocillopora damicornis and Porites mannarensis. Seagrass distribution

Seagrass is distributed all around both the islands and covers an area of about 5 sq. km. Twelve species are recorded and the dominant species are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Enhalus acoroides, Halophila stipulaceas, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove distribution Dense mangrove vegetation observed along the periphery region of the both islands. Seven species of mangroves and 5-associated sp. are recorded. They are Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, R. apiculata, Lumnitzera racemosa, Ceriops tagal, Bruguiera cylindrica, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora percisa, Pandanus sp, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola sp and Tespesia populnea. 3.3.1.4 Manoli and Manoliputti Islands Manoliputti island is located at about 5 km from Mandapam and covers an area of about 2 ha. The maximum height of the island from sea level is about 2 m. Manoli island is located about 5 km from Mandapam and covers an area of about 26 ha. Manoli is separated from the nearby Manoliputti island by an extensive mudflat, which gets exposed during low tide. The islands were formed of sandy clay and dead coral pieces. The northern and southern beach ridges were found separated by an area of Thespesia woodlands. Pools and open mudflats were found. The maximum elevation of the island is 2 m. Coral distribution Massive corals are observed along the northern portion of the island. On the southern side fringing reefs extend far outside upto a distance of 1.25 km from the shore. Coral reefs cover an area of about 15 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 25% (includes area around both the islands). Thirteen species of corals are recorded around Manoliputti island and they are Montipora digitata, M. divaricata, M.foliosa, Echinopora lamellosa, Favia pallida, Favities abdita, Goniastrea pectinata, G. retiformis, Platygyra lamellina, Pocillopora damicornis, Porities lichen, P. lutea and P. solida. Twenty five species of corals are recorded around Manoli island and they are Acropora corymbosa, A. humilis, A. millepora, A. nobilis, A. plantaginea, A. valenciennesi, Montipora digitata, M. divaricata, M. foliosa, M. granulosa,

M. verrilli, Echinopora lamellosa, Favia pallida, Favites abdita, Favites pentagona, Goniastrea pectinata, G. retiformis, Leptastrea transversa, Platygyra lamellina, Pocillopora damicornis, P. verrucosa, Goniopora planulata, Porites lichen, P. lutea and P. solida. Seagrass distribution Seagras are distributed all round both the islands. Twelve species of seagrass are recorded. Seagrass beds cover an area of about 5 sq. km. The recorded species are Cymodocea rotundata, Cymodocea serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Enhalus acoroides, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove distribution In Manoliputti very thick mangrove vegetations are found along the periphery region of the channel and around the island. Six mangroves and 6 associated sp. are recorded and they are Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, Ceriops tagal, Bruguiera cylindrica, Excoecaria agallocha, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Pandanus sp, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola sp, Thespesia populnea and Salicornia sp. In Manoli island, mangrove vegetations show dense distribution along with high species diversity. Eight mangroves and 6 associated as recorded are Rhizophora apiculata, Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, Ceriops tagal, Bruguiera cylindrica, Excoecaria algallocha, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Pandamus sp., Sesuvium sp., Scaevola sp., Thespesia populnea and Salicornia sp. 3.3.1.5 Musal Island Musal Island is the largest among the Mandapam Group in the Gulf of Mannar. This island is located at about 7 km from Mandapam in the southwest direction and covers an area of about 29 ha. The total surface area is about 1.3 sq. km. The length of the island is about four kilometers with a width of 250 to 1800 m at different places. The elevation is about 3.5 to 4 m. It is a fairly large island characterized by thick cover of vegetation consisting of Acacia trees, coconut and palmyra plantations.

Coral Distribution Boulder reef patches occur in the southern side of the lagoon. Fringing reef occurs at about 1.5 km on the southern side and runs continuously eastwards. It however becomes discontinuous towards the north. Coral reefs cover an area of about 18 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 52%. Twenty nine species are recorded in the current study. The recorded species are Acropora corymbosa, A. formosa,

A. millepora, A. nobilis, A. plantaginea, A. Ualenciennesi, Montipora digitata, Montipora divaricata, M. foliosa, M. verrilli, Echinopora lamellosa, Favia pallida, Favites abdita, F. Pentagona, Goniastrea pectinata, G. retiformis, Leptastrea transversa, Platygyra lamellina, Symphyllia nobilis, Galaxea fascicularis, Pocillopora daicornis, Goniopora nigra, G. planulata, Porites lichen, P. mannarensis, P. lutea, P. solida and Coscinarea monile. Seagrass distribution Seagrass are present all around the island covering an area of about 9.5 sq. km. Twelve species of seagrass have been recorded as Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Enhalus acoroides, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove Distribution Dense mangrove vegetation with high species diversity is found to occur is this island. Six species of mangroves and 6 associated species are recorded. The recorded species are Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, Lumnitzers racemosa, Ceriops tagal, Bruguiera cylindrica, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Pandanus sp., Sesuvium sp., Scaevola sp., Salicornia brachiata and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.2 Marine Organisms Observed around the Mandapam Group of Island Phytoplankton distribution Seventy eight species of phytoplankton are recorded in Gulf of Mannar. In the Mandapam group, 59 species of Bacillariophyceae, 9 species of Dinophyceae, 4 species of Cyanophyceae and 2 species of Chlorophyceae totalling to 74 species of

phytoplankton were recorded. Maximum number of species was recorded in Manoliputti, Poomarichan and Musal. The phytoplankton count varied from 3 – 872 nos/ml. Zooplankton distribution Sixtytwo species of zooplankton are recorded in Gulf of Mannar. In the Mandapam group alone 46 species of Crustacea, 1 species of Granuloreticulosa, 1 species of Hydrozoa, 2 species of Polychaeta, 5 species of Polyhymenophora, 3 species of Sagittoidea and 2 species of Thaliacea totalling 60 species of zooplankton were recorded. Maximum number of species was recorded around Musal and Shingle islands. The density of zooplankton varied from 1000-9000 nos/cu.m. Benthos distribution In the current study (1998-99), 198 species of benthic organisms were recorded in Gulf of Mannar. In the Mandapam group 11 species of Protozoa, 16 species of Porifera, 37 species of Cnidaria, 17 species of Annelida, 2 species of Platyhelminthes, 9 species of Nematoda, 1 species of Echiura, 3 species of Sipuncula, 31 species of Mollusca, 41 species of Arthropoda, and 15 species of Echinodermata, 1 species of Hemichordata, totalling184 species of benthic organisms were recorded. Musal island exhibited maximum species diversity. Ornamental fishes distribution A total of 128 species of ornamental fishes are recorded in Gulf of Mannar, of which 91 species were recorded around the Mandapam group. The dominant species were recorded in the families of Chaetodontidae, Pomacentridae, balistidae and Apogonidae. Capture fisheries A total of 130 species of fishes were recorded in Gulf of Mannar. In the Mandapam group 9 species of Chondrichthyes (Elasmobranchs), 66 species of Actinopterygii (Teleostei), 12 species of Crustaceans and 5 species of Cephalopods, totalling 92 species were recorded. 3.3.3 Trend of Fish Catch in Mandapam Region Trap fishing was carried out in and around Mandapam group of islands normally from January to March and September to December every year. About 500

to 600 traps were operated daily in the Gulf of Mannar along the coast of Mandapam, Vedalai, Pullivasal and Pudumadam. Altogether 23 species of fishes belonging to 15 families were found to occur in the Mandapam area. A study of the percentage composition of the different species in the total catches from the Gulf of Mannar revealed that Lethrinus cirereus (emperor fish) formed 57%, the next important being Callyodon ghobbon forming 26%. The species Lutjanus Johsuii (snapper) formed 5% and Therapon puta formed 4%. Other fishes such as Psammoperca wigiensis, Epinephelus tauvina, (grouper fish), Teuthis marmorata, Pelates quadrilineatus, Plectorhynchus schotat (sweet lip fish), Parapenaeus indicus (Goat fish), Upeneoides tragula, Halichaers spp., Chiloscyllium indicum, Plotosus spp., Gerres spp., and Acanthurus spp., (surgeon fish) formed 8%. Underwater photographs of some of these fishes were taken. 3.3.4 Keezhakarai Group Keezhakarai group consists of seven islands located about 8 to 10 km from the main land. Patch and fringing reefs occur along the northwestern and southern side of the islands. Dugong foraging grounds are extensive around Valai and Appa islands. Thirty one species of coral, 12 species of seagrass and 6 species of mangroves are found in the Keezhakarai group of islands. Field survey was carried out during Jan. 2000 in all the seven islands of Keezhakaria Group for mapping the extent of coral distribution. Information on the distribution of corals was collected using DGPS, scuba diving and skin diving. By underwater survey, areas of abundance of corals were identified and observation points fixed. At each point, percentage of live corals was determined visual confirmation of coral reef areas. Corals are mostly found upto 5 m depth. Live corals are found beyond 0.5 m depth. More number of live coral points exist around Poovarasanpatti and Valimunai islands. Coral reef area around the islands is about 37 sq. km. Field survey was carried out during Jan 2000 in all seven islands for mapping the extent of seagrass. Information on the distribution of seagrass was collected using DGPS, scuba diving and skin diving. GIS has facilitated overlay of depth contours on seagrass areas. Seagrass covers an area of about

43.5 sq. km around this island.

3.3.4.1 Mulli Island Mulli Island is located at about 10 km from Keezhakarai and covers an area about 10 ha. It is a small sandy island with a vegetative cover consisting of bushes and shrubs. The swampy regions are surrounded by muddy terrain. Coral distribution Boulder reef occurs in the northern side and fringing reef on the eastern side of the island. Coral reef covers an area of about 7 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 25%. 18 species have been recorded in the current study. The species recorded are Acropora corymbosa, A. millepora, A. humilis,

A. hyacinthus, Coscinarea monile, Turbinaria peltata, Porites lutea, P. solida, Goniastrea retiformis, G. pectinata, Favites abdita, Leptoria phrygia, Montipora foliosa, M. spumosa, M. digitata, Echinopora lamellosa, Pavona varians and Pocillopora damicornis. Seagrass distribution Seagrass beds occur all around the islands covering an area of about 2 sq. km. Eleven species of seagrass have been recorded and the recorded species are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove Distribution Dense Distribution of Pemphis and other halophytic plants occur in the island. Five species of mangroves and 5 associated species are Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, Ceriops tagal, Bruguiera cylindrica, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Sesuvium sp, Thespesia populnea, Suaeda sp. and Scaevola sp. 3.3.4.2 Valai and Talairi Islands Valai is a small linear island parallel to the mainland covering an area of about 10 ha. Talairi is an extensive elongated island with linear axis parallel to the shore and covering an area of about 75 ha. The broadest portion of Talairi is on the western tip and is densely covered with trees. A channel connects the islands, which is submerged during high tide. The islands are located at a distance of about 9 km from Keezhakarai. Coral distribution

Boulder and fringing reefs occur along the northwestern and southern side of the islands. Coral reef covers an area of about 14 sq. km. and the live coral coverage is about 16% (includes area around both the islands). In the current study 11 species (51 species – past data) of corals are recorded around Valai island. The recorded species are Montipora digitata, M.foliosa, Pocillopora damicornis, Porites solida, P. lutea, Goniastrea sp. Montipora digitata, M. foliosa, Porites lutea, P. solida, Acropora corymbosa,

A. formosa, A. humilis, Goniastrea retiformis, G. pectinata and Favites abdita Segrass distribution Seagrasses occur all around the islands covering an area of about 8 sq. km. Eleven species of seagrass have been recorded. The recorded species are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove Distribution Dense distribution of Pemphis and other halophytic plants occurs in the island. Two species of mangroves and 5 associated species are recorded. The recorded species are Avicennia marina, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola sp, Salicornia sp and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.4.3 Appa Island Appa Island is located at about 8 km from Keezhakarai and covers an area of about 28 ha. The southern island portion is highly elevated standing on fossilised coral stones of large dimensions. The northern portion of the island has an elevation of 6 m from the spring tide level. Coral distribution Coral reefs occur all around the island except for a small patch on the eastern side covering an area of about 5 sq.kms. Live coral coverage is about 2%. In the current study 10 species have been recorded and they are Montipora digitata, Montipora foliosa, Porites lichen, P. lutea, P. solida, Coscinarea monile, Acropora hyacinthus, Goniastrea retiformis, G. pectinata and Favites abdita. Seagrass distribution

Seagrass beds are distributed all around the island covering an area of about 8 sq.km. Nine species of seagrass have been recorded and they are Cymodocea serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove vegetation Dense distribution of Pemphis and other halophytic plants occurs in the island. One species of mangrove Pemphis acidula and 2 associated species Salvadora persica and Sesuvium sp are recorded. Poovarasanpatti island is completely submerged and gets exposed occasionally during low tide. The island occurs between Appa and Valimunai islands and is about 8 km from Keezhakarai. Valimunai is located at about 9 km from Keezhakarai mainland and covers an area of about 7 ha. The island is characterized by sandy shore and thick cover of Acacia trees and tall bushes. Coral distribution Coral reef occurs all around the island covering an area of about 6 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 50% (including area around both the islands). In the current study, 11 species were recorded around Poovarasanpatti island. The recorded species are Goniastrea retiformis, Porites lutea, Acropora hyacinthus, A. nobilis, Montipora spumosa, M. foliosa, M. digitata, Turbinaria peltata, Favia pallida, Platygyra lamellina and Favites abdita. In the current study, 12 species were recorded around the Valimunai island. The species are Goniastrea retiformis, Porties mannarensis, Portites solida, Acropora hyacinthus, A. humilis, Montipora spumosa, Turbinaria peltata, Favia pallida, Favia favus, Echinopora lamellosa, Platygyra lamellina and Favites abdita. Seagrass distribution Seagrass beds occur all around the islands covering an area of about 11.5 sq. km. Nine species of seagrass are recorded and the recorded species are Cymodocea serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove distribution

Dense distribution of Pempbis and other halophytic plants occurs in Valimunai Island. One species of mangrove and 4 associated species are recorded. The recorded species are Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.4.4 Anaipar Island Anaipar is located at about 9 km from Keezhakarai and covers an area of about 11 ha. The maximum elevation of the island is about 3 m. Coral distribution Coral reef occurs all around the island covering an area of about 5 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 37%. Twety one species of corals were recorded in the present study (30 species – past data) and the recorded species are Acropora corymbosa, A. formosa, A. hyacinthus, A. humilis, Montipora digitata, M. foliosa, M. spumosa, Turbinaria peltata, T. crater, Leptoria phrygia, Goniastrea pectinata, Goniastrea retiformis, Hydnophora exesa, Favia apllida, Porites solida, P. mannarensis, Goniopora sp. Psammocora contigua, Merulina ampliata, Platygyra Lamellina and Favites abdita. Seagrass distribution Seagrass beds occur all around the island covering an area of about 14 sq. km. Eleven species of seagrass are recorded and they are Cymodocea rotundata, C.serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove Distribution Dense distribution of Pemphis and other halophytic plants occurs in the island. Two species of mangroves and 4 associated species are recorded. The recorded species are Avicennia marina, Pemphis, Salvadora persica, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola sp and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.5 Marine organisms recorded around Keezhakarai Group Islands Phytoplankton

In the Keezhakarai group, 53 species of Bacillariophyceae, 9 species of Dinophyceae, 3 species of Cyanophyceae and 2 species of Chlorophyceae totalling 67 species of phytoplankton were recorded. Appa island exhibited maximum species diversity. The phytoplankton count varied from 5-935 nos/ml. Zooplankton In the Keezhakarai group, 45 species of Crustacea, 1 species of Granuloreticulosa, 1 species of Hydrozoa, 3 species of Polychaets, 1 species of Polyhymenophora, 1 species of Sagittoidea and 2 species of Thaliacea totalling 54 species of zooplankton were recorded. Appa island exhibited maximum species diversity. The density of zooplankton varied from 1000-9000 nos/cu.m. Coral distribution In the Keezhakarai group, 6 species of Acropora, 3 species of Montipora, 4 species of Porites, 2 species each of Favia, Goniastrea & Turnbinaria, 1 species each of Coscinarea, Echinopora, Favites, Galaxea, Goniopora, Hydnopora, Leptoria, Merulina, Pavono, Platygyra, Pocillopora and Psammocora totalling 31 species of corals were recorded. Maximum number of coral species were recorded around Anaipar and Kulli Islands. Benthos distribution In the Keezhakarai group 1 species of Porifera, 32 species of Cnidaria, 1 species of Annelida, 7 species of Mollusca, 12 species of Arthropoda and 3 species of Echinodermata totalling 56 species of benthic organisms were recorded. Anaipar and Valimunai islands exhibited maximum species diversity. Ornamental fishes distribution 100 species of ornamental fishes were recorded around the Keezhakarai group. The dominant species were recorded in the families of Pomancentridae, Chaetodontidae, Lutjanidae and Holocentridae. Capture fishes In the Keezhakarai group 5 species of Chondrichthyes (Elasmobranch), 54 species of Actinopterygii (Teleostei), 9 species of Crustaceans and 4 species of Cephalopodas, totalling 72 species were recorded. 3.3.6 Vembar Group

The Vembar group consists of three islands. Patch reefs are found around the islands and fringing reefs occur along the southern side at a distance of about 500 m. Dugong foraging grounds are extensive around Nallathanni island. Dense distribution of mangroves occurs in Upputhani Island. 25 species of coral, 11 species of seagrass and 3 species of mangroves are found in the Vembar group of islands. Live corals are found beyond 0.5 m depth. Maximum number of live coral points exists around Upputhanni islands. Coral reef area around the islands is about 12 sq. km. Seagrass covers an area of about 9 sq.km. around the islands.

3.3.6.1 Nallathanni Island Nallathanni island is the second largest island apart from Musal island in the Gulf of Mannar. It is located about 10 km from Vembar and covers an area of area of about 110 ha. The island as its name suggests has potable water. Coral distribution Coral reef and coral boulders occur all around the island at a distance of 400-500 m on the southern side and very close to northern shore. Coral reef covers an area of about 2 sq.km. Live coral coverage is about 38%. Twenty species have been recorded in the current study. The recorded species are Sarcophytum sp., Montipora foliosa, M. spumosa, M. digitata, Turbinaria peltata, T. crater, Favia pallida, Favia sp. Fvites abdita, Goniastrea pectinata, Goniastrea retiformis, Hydnophora sp, Goniopora sp Porites lutea, Porites solida, Acropora formosa, A. hyacinthus, A. corymbosa, Symphyllia radians, Leptoria phrygia, Galaxea

fascicularis and Psammocora contigua. Seagrass distribution Seagrass around the island covers an area of about 5 sq. km. Eleven species of seagrass have been recorded. The recorded species are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulassia, Halophila decipens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove distribution

Dense distribution of Pemphis and other halophytic plants occurs in the island. One species of mangroves and 4 associated species are recorded. The species are Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Sesuvium sp. and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.6.2 Pulivinichalli Island Pulivinichalli Island is located about 8 km from Vembar and covers an area of about 6 ha. The island is characterised by sandy beach and thick vegetation. The eastern side of the island has sparse distribution of Thespesia.

Coral distribution Coral reefs were found in the southern side of the island. A huge mass of dead coral stones and boulders were found in the northwest corner of the island which extended upto a distance of 1.5 km. Coral reefs cover an area of about 7 sq.km. Live coral coverage is about 38%. Seventeen species have been recorded (41 species past data) in the current study and they are Montipora digitata, Montipora foliosa, Montipora spumosa, Montipora turgescens, Favia pallida, Favites sp, Porites lutea, Porites solida, Gonistrea retiformis, Leptoria phrygia, Acropora formosa, A. hyacinthus, A. humilis, A. nobilis, A. corymbosa, Turbinaria crater and Pocillopora damicornis. Seagrass distribution Seagrass occurs all around the islands covering an area of about 1.5 sq. km. Eleven species of seagrasses have been recorded and the species are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove distribution Pemphis and other halophytic plants occur in the island. One species of mangrove and 4 associated species are recorded. The dominant species are Pemphis acidula, Salvadora Persica, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola sp and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.6.3 Upputhanni Island Upputhanni island is located 8 km from Vembar and covers an area of about 30 ha. The island is fairly big with plenty of coral rubble all over it. A number of trees along with numerous bushes are present Coral distribution Fringing reefs occur at a distance of 150 to 300 m all around the island except in the north. Coral reefs cover an area of about 3 sq. km. Live coral cover is about 28%. Sixteen species of corals are recorded in this study and they are Montipora digitata, Monitipora foliosa, Montipora spumosa, Montipora turgescens, Favia pallida, Favites sp, Porites lutea, Porites solida, Goniastrea retiformis, Hydnophora exesa, Turbinaria peltata, T. crater, Leptoria phrygia, Acropora corymbosa, Psammocora contigua and Symphyllia radians. Seagrass distribution

Seagrass occur all around the islands covering an area of about 2.5 sq. km. Ten species of seagrasses have been recorded and they are Cymodocea serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halodula uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulasia, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodula pinifolia. Mangrove distribution Dense distribution of mangroves occurs in the southeastern side of the island. Three species of mangroves and 4 associated species are recorded and the species are Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persica, Sesuvium sp., Scaevola sp. and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.7 Marine Organisms around Vember Group of Islands Phytoplankton In the vembar group, 48 species of Bacillariophyceae, 11 species of Dinophyceae, 2 species of Cyanophyceae and 1 species of Chlorophyceae, totalling 62 species of phytoplankton were recorded. Nallathanni island exhibited maximum species diversity. The phytoplankton count varied from 6 - 478 nos/ml. Zooplankton In the vembar group, 37 species of Crustacea, 1 species of Hydrozoa, 1 species of Polychaeta, 1 species of Polyhymenophora, 3 species of Saggitoidea and 1 species of Thaliacea totalling 45 species of zooplankton were recorded. Maximum number of species was recorded around Pulivinichalli and Upputhanni islands. The density of zooplankton varied from 1000-9000 nos/cu.m. Coral distribution In the Vembar group, 5 species of Acropora, 4 species of Montipora, 2 species each of Porites, Goniastrea and Turbinaria, 1 species each of Favia, Favites, Galaxea, Hydnopora, Goniopora, Leptoria, Pocillopora, Symphyllia,

Psammocora and Sarcophytum totalling 25 species of corals were recorded. Maximum number of coral species was recorded around Nallathanni island. Benthos distribution In the Vembar group, 1 species of porifera, 27 species of Cnidaria, 7 species of Mollusca, 8 species of Arthropoda and 2 species of Echinodermata

totalling 45 species of benthic organisms were recorded. Nallathanni island exhibited maximum species diversity. Ornamental fishes distribution 128 species of ornamental fishes were recorded in the Gulf of Mannar. Around 104 species of ornamental fishes were recorded around the Vembar group. The dominant species were recorded in the families of Pomacentridae,

Chaetodontidae, Labridae and Apogonidae. Capture fisheries In the Vembar group, 8 species of Chondrichthyes (Elasmobranchs), 69 species of Actinopterygii (Teleostei), 9 species of Crustaceans and 5 species of Cephalopods, totalling 91 species were recorded. 3.3.8 Tuticorin Group The Tuticorin group consists of four islands, one of, which is submerged. Reef patches exist all around the islands. The islands have sparse vegetation. Twenty three species of corals, 11 species of seagrass and

3 species of mangroves and asociated species are found in the Tuticorin group of islands. Live corals are found beyond 0.5 m depth. Maximum number of live coral points exists around Karaichalli island. Coral reef area around the islands is about 10 sq. km. Field survey was carried out during March 2000, in all four islands for mapping the extent of seagrass. Seagrass covers an area of about 10 sq.km.

3.3.8.1 Karaichalli Island Karaihalli island is about 15 km from Tuticorin. It covers an area of about 16 ha and has very poor vegetative cover. Fishermen from the nearby mainland visit the island for illegal coral mining operations. Coral distribution Patches of coral reef exist all around the island and cover the area of 0.31 sq.km. Live coral coverage is about 14%. Twenty five species of corals have been recorded and the species are Acropora hyacinthus, A formosa,

A nobilis, Acropora sp., Montipora digitata, M. foliosa, M. foliosa, M. spumosa, Favites, abdita, Favites sp., Favia pallida, F. favus, platygyra, T. crater, Goniastrea, retiformis, G. pectinata, Galaxea fasicularis, Symphyllia radians, Leptastrea transversa, Leptoria phrygia and Goniopora stokesi. Seagrass distribution Seagrass occur all around the islands covering an area of about 1 sq km. Eleven species of seagrass have been recorded . The recorded species are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Sysringodium isoetifolium, Halodule univervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove vegetation There is sparse distribution of Pemphis and other halophytic plants in the island. Two species of mangroves and 4 associated species are recorded. The dominant species are Avicennia marinam, Pemphis acidula, Salvadora persicam, Sesuvium sp, Scaevola sp and Thespesia populnea. 3.3.8.2 Vilanguchalli island Vilanguchalli island is completely submerged and gets exposed during low tide. The island is located at about 15 km. from Tuticorin. Coral distribution Coral reef patches occur all around the submerged island. Coral reefs cover an area of about 1 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 8%. Eight species of corals were recorded in the current study (21 species- past data) . The recorded species

are Acropora hyacinthus, A formosa, Montipora spumosa, Favia pallida, porties lutea, Turbinaria crater, Goniastrea retiformis and Leptastrea sp. Seagrass distribution Seagrasses occur all around the island covering an area of about 1.5 sq. km. Eleven species of seagrass have been recorded and they are Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halophila stipulacea and Halophila decipiens. 3.3.8.3 Kasuwar Island Kasuwar is the largest and elongated island in the Tuticorin group and is located at about 7 km from Tuticorin. The island is sandy and strewn with shingles and covers an area of about 19 ha. The whole island is covered with xerophytic vegetation. Coral distribution Coral reef patches occur all around the island. Coral reefs cover an area of about 6 sq. km. Live coral coverage is about 5%. Fourteen 14 species are recorded and the species are Acropora hyacinthus, A formosa, Montipora digitata, M. foliosa, Favites abdita, Favia favus, Platygyra lamellina, Porites mannarensis, Turbianria Peltata, T. crater, Goniastrea retiformis, Goniastrea sp., Goniopora stokesi and Leptoria phrygia, Digitata, M. foliosa, M. spumosa, Favites abdita, Favites sp, Favia pallida, Platygyra lamellina, Porites lutea,

P. mannarensis, Hydnopora sp., Turbinaria peltata, T. crater and Goniastrea retiformis. Seagrass distribution Seagrass occurs all around the island covering an area of about 5 sq. km. Nine species of seagrass have been recorded and they are Cymodocea serrulata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Halophila ovalis, Halophila ovata, Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila stipulacea, Halophila decipiens, decipiens, Halophila beccarii and Halodule pinifolia. Mangrove distribution Pemphis and other halophytic plants occur in the island. Two species of mangroves and 4 associated species are recorded. The recorded species are

Avicennia marina, Pemphis acidula, salvadora percisa, Sesuvium sp, and Thespesia popuinea. 3.3.9 Marine Organisms aroung Tuticorin Group of Islands Phytoplankton In the Tuticorin group, 4 species of Bacillariophyceae, 8 species of Dinophyceae, 5 species of Chlorophyceae totalling 70 species of phytoplankton were recorded. Kasuwar island exhibited maximum species diversity. The phytoplankton count varied from 2-835 nos/ml Zooplankton One species of Granuloreticulosa, 1 species of Hydrozoa, 3 species of Polycheata, 5 species of Polyhymenophora, 1 species of Sagittoidea and 2 species of Thaliacea totalling 59 species of zooplankton were recorded. Van island exhibits maximum species diversity. The zooplankton count varied from 1000 – 10,000 nos / cu.m. Coral In the Tuticorin group, 3 species each of Acropora, Montipora and Porites, 2 species each of Goniastrea, Turbinaria and Favia, 1 species each of Favites, Galaxea, Hydnopora, Goniopora, Leptoria, platygyra and Symphyllia, totalling 23 species of corals were recorded. Maximum number of coral species was recorded around Karaichalli island. Benthos In the Tuticorin group, 1 species of Porifera, 24 species of Cnidaria, 4 species of Mollusca, 3 species of Arthropoda and 2 species of Echinodermata, totalling 34 species of benthic organisms were recorded Kasuwar island exhibited maximum species diversity.

Ornamental Fishes In the current study (1998-99), 128 species of ornamental fishes were recorded in the Gulf of Mannar. 101 species of ornamental fishes were recorded around Tuticorin group. The dominant species were recorded in the families of Pomacentridae, Cheatodontidae, Mullidae and Lutjanidae. Capture fisheries In the Tuticorin group, 14 species of Chondichthryes (Elasmobranchs), 96 species of Actinopterygii (Teleost), 11 species of Crustaceans and 5 species of Cephalopods, totalling 126 species were recorded.

3.4
3.4.1

Palk Bay/Palk Strait
Marine Water Quality Marine water quality in Palk Bay area near the proposed channel is assessed

from secondary data and is summarised in Table 3.40. It is observed that suspended solids vary from 28-30 mg/l at the surface and is uniformly distributed up to bottom. The could be due to shallow depths 2-12 m in Palk Bay. Salinity is observed to vary from 30.4-32.5 parts per thousand. High dissolved oxygen (DO) levels at the surface are indicative of healthy aquatic life and low organic pollution loads particularly away from the coastal areas. DO was observed to decrease towards bottom and is attributed to demand excercised by sediment. Observed levels of nitrogen and phosphorus support biological growth. Heavy metals were in traces and levels of polynuclear aromic hydrocarbons observed in parts per billion (ppb) levels. This could be attributed to fishing activity in the region. 3.4.2 Biological Productivity The Palk Bay is biologically rich and are rated among the highly productive seas of the world. The Palk Bay is endowed with a combination of ecosystem including mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs, supporting over 3,600 species of plants and animals. Its biodiversity is considered globally significant. The Palk Bay islands constitute a resting-place for birds migrating to and from Sri Lanka. Approximately 168 types of birds use the islands in this area as a resting-place while migrating or as wintering and molting grounds. All five species of marine turtle nest in various locations in Palk Bay. Dolphins are more common here than in any other

region in the Bay of Bengal. The endangered dugong uses many of the islands as browsing grounds. Marine life also includes many colored coral fishes, eels, molluscs, and stomatopoda. Sea anemones, crabs, starfishes, sea urchins and numerous other organisms are found in the Palk Bay. Biological diversity of Palk Bay/Palk Strait is in influenced by point colimer sanctuary which is bestowed with mangrove forests, mud flats, wettalnds and brackish to saline lagoons. The sanctuary provides breeding ground for marine fishes which are vital to the fisheries of the region. The sanctuary has been designated as Ramsar site in November 2002 by world wildlife fund (WWF) - India. 3.4.2.1 Primary Productivity Primary productivity in the offshore area was relatively less than in the shelf and slope area for Palk Bay region. The productivity at surface is more than subsurface layers. The southwest monsoon was more productive compared to pre-monsoon season. Phytoplankton analysis showed that diatoms contributed 70%, flagellates 23% and dinoflagellates 7%, of the biomass at the surface. Integrated values of chlorophyll at the surface along Palk Bay is <0.1 mg/m3 and at 0-50 m and 0-100 m depth it is 5-15 mg/m2. The gross primary productivity values varied from 143 to 472 mgC/m3/day. The mean values are 205 mgC/m3/day for Palk Bay. It is further reported that in the near shore areas where the euphotic zone used to be about 6 m due to turbidity, the productivity was reported to be 1.2-1.5 gC/m2/day which is equal to the annual gross productivity of about 450 gC/m2. While further inside the sea where the euphotic zone is deeper (upto 15-40 m), the average daily productivity used to be 3-5 gC/m2 (Nair 1970). The average primary productivity values in central ocean basins and coastal zones of the world were estimated
2

at

50

and

100 gC/m /yr respectively (Ryther, 1969). Thus, the shallow regions of Palk Bay constitute one of the most productive regions of the world. It is also clear from the above that turbidity adversely affects primary productivity. Link in the Food Chain As already mentioned, the phytoplankton constitute the food for the smallest of animals, viz. zooplankton which in turn form the food of the largest mammal, the Antarctic whale (Balanoptera) which feeds on small shrimp like zooplankton known as

krill (Euphausia superba). The krill is wholly dependent on the bloom of phytoplankton for its survival and growth. The largest of the fishes, the basking shark, is also a planktonic feeder, mainly feeding on the copepod Calanus which in turn survives on the phytoplankton. The fishery for oil sardine and mackerel are entirely dependent on the bloom of phytoplankton. There are several other fishes and mammals in the sea whose life is linked with phytoplankton, only the number of links in the food chain vary in each instance. Each species has its own period of growth and growth intensity depends on many external factors such as temperature, salinity, nutrients and the physiological state of the species itself and these in turn are influenced by seasons and climatic factors. Productivity and Potential Yield In Palk Strait area potential primary production during June-September, average for surface layer 0-50 m is 10-15 mg C m-3h-1 and for December-March it is <10 mg Cm-3h-1. Primary productivity in SW & NE monsoon is 0.56 & 0.23 g C m-2 day-1 and 101 and 60 g C m-2 180 day-1. Peak Periods of Production The maximum production occurs during the south west monsoon season, followed by one or two peaks of production of lesser magnitude during the north east monsoon season. The peaks of production are mainly due to the multiplication of diatoms, dinoflagellates and nannoplankters. The blue-green algae chiefly composed of filamentous bundle like structures called Trichodesmium occur generally during the warmer months. Investigations on the factors responsible for the production of phytoplankton have shown that during the monsoon months, optimum condition such as abundance of nutrients due to upwelling and river discharge fall in temperature and salinity are common features of these waters. The nature of phytoplankton flora changes frequently and each species appears to have its own peak periods of occurrence and associations. The species which contribute to the bulk during periods of maxima also vary from year to year, though a few appears to be common. A total of 56 species of phytoplankton have been observed from Palk Bay / Palk Strait. 3.4.2.2 Secondary productivity

The secondary productivity is influenced by the dominance of ostracods, decapods, mysids and other zooplanktonic forms. The distribution of zooplanktons in Palk Bay assessed from secondary data is shown in Table 3.41. Ostracods Ostracods are tiny bivalve crustaceans more during April, followed by July, that may be attributed to high temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen of the

bottom water, high calcium carbonate and low organic matter content of the sediments. The most congenial substrate for better thriving of the fauna are found to be silty - sand. About 51 ostracod species (both living and dead forms) belonging to 40 genera in 22 families were identified of which the following

8 spp are considered to be abundant viz. Actinocythereis scutigera, Bairdoppilata atcyonicola, Callistocy flavidofusca C. intricatoides, Cytherelloidea leroyi, Keijella

reticulata, Loxoconcha gruendeli, L., mandiensis and Tanella gracilis. Decapoda Decapods are Prawns and Shrimps. Both the type of animals are having 10 sets of legs. They are highly sensible creatures and occur mostly beyond 50 m depth. Distribution of decapods in Palk Bay is shown in Table 3.42. Mysids A rich and varied mysid fauna exist in the littoral and shallow areas of the seas around Palk Bay / Palk Strait. Reports on the abundance of mysid population reveal a greater concentration (74%) in the nighttime collections indicating diel migrations, characteristics of the fauna. The population density is high during the postmonsoon (October-January) in the shelf waters and during the pre-monsoon (February-May) in the oceanic region. The population of mysids occurred throughout the year even in the deeper layers beyond 200m. The predominance is prominent (63%) during the pre-monsoon and to lesser extent (23%) in the northeast monsoon seasons in the neritic area. Other zooplanktonic forms Meroplanktonic stages of Anthozoan larvae is 4-6 nos of individual under 1 m2 area. Chaetognaths types are Pterosagitta draco, Sagitta bedoti, Sagitta enflata, Sagitta pacifica and S. reularis commonly present during

SW & NE monsoon; Sagitta bipunctata are only observed during NE monsoon , while,

Sagitta neglecta only during SW monsoon. Distribution of copepoda is 9000-26999 nos/haul. Epiplanktonic calanoid observed are Clausocalanus minor, C. farrani, Pontellina plumata and Eucalanus elongates. Other species in vicinity are Centrophagus furcatus and Temora discaudata. Day and night collection of pelagic amphipods during April-October has density of 26-50 and 51-100 nos/ m2, while, for October-April, it is 100-250 nos under 1 m2 net area scanned upto 200 m depth. The distribution of euphausiids : Pseudoeuphausia latifrons and Nyctiphanes capensis during May-September and November-March is 1-249 nos/1000 m3 of water; for E. distinguenda and E. diomediae it is 1-499 nos/1000 m3 from November to March. The larvae, juveniles and adults of ‘Nematoscelis gracilis’ were observed only during November-March. The Gastropoda ‘Limacina inflata’ were observed only during nighttime from April to October & vice-versa, the catch being 11-100 per haul. Zooplankton biomass during March-April is 40-80 ml m-2 / haul at 200 m column, whereas, for May-June it is 10-20 ml m-2/haul; for July-September it is 0.110.0 ml m-2/haul and for December-February it is 10-20 ml m-2/haul. Secondary stock and secondary production in SW & NE monsoon is 101 & 60 g C m-2 180 day-1. Bottom Water Characteristics The temperature range of 22.3 to 28.6OC seems favourably for all living population of zooplankton fauna, throughout the year. Salinity range from 32.93 to 35.81‰ favourable for the standing crop. Dissolved oxygen content is one of the important factors governing distribution and abundance of standing crop. Sediment Characteristics Distribution of zooplanktons in relation to the sediment composition reveals that silty - sand followed by sandy - silt and sand are the most favourable substrates for the population abundance. Temporally, higher values of temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and calcium carbonate are recorded in April whereas organic matter content is maximum during January. Spatially, however, the values of all these environmental parameters show steady increase except temperature. The organic matter content in the sediments is 0.36 to 3.51 % by weight.

CaCO3 percentage in the sediment varies from 2.5 to 7.2 %, CaCO3 does not show much variation. In general, CaCO3 content of the sediment is found to be directly proportional to the population size and it is inferred that it is one of the important parameters that governs the population size, especially its spatial distribution. 3.4.2.3 Tertiary productivity The tertiary production in SW & NE monsoon is 20-40 & 10-20x105 tons wet weight. 3.4.2.4 Benthos Sediments led to the recognition of 108 benthic species consisting of both living and dead fauna. They belong to 50 genera, 27 families and 10 superfamilies. Among the 108 species, 12 species (viz. Rhabdommina scabra, Ammonbaculites exiguus, Textularia agglutinans, T. aura, T. candeiana, T. conica, T. foliacea, T. foliacea var occidentalis, T. palustris. Bigenerina irregularis, Trochammina inflata and Eggerella advena) are arenaceous agglutinated (suborder Textulariina); 43 species are calcareous porcelaneous (viz. Edentostomina cultrata, Spiroloculina angulata, S. communis, S. corrugata, S. costifera, Spiroloculina sp., Vertibralina striata, Quinqueloculina agglutinana, Q. bicostata, Q. bidenta Q. compressa, Q. lamarckiana, Q. parkeri, Q. polygona,

Q. pseudoreticulata, Q. rameswarensis, Q. seminulam, Q. sulcata, Q. tenagos, Q. undulose costata, Pseudomassilina australis, P. australis, P. reticulata, P. macilenta, Pyrgo elongata, P. subspherica, Triloculina carinata, T. striata, T. insignis, T. schreiberiana, T. terquemiana, Milolinella circularis, M. labiosa, Hauerina bradyi, H. fragilissima, Articulina mayori, Parrina bradyi, Peneroplis plantus, Monalysidium politum, Spirolina acicularis S. arietinus, Sorities marginalis and S. orbiculus (Suborder Miliolina) and the rest 53 are calcareous perforate forms (viz. Lagena costata amphora, L. gracillima, L. laevis, L. setigara, L. striata, Guttulina sp. Fissurina marginata, Bolivina doniezi, B. lanceolata Brizalina lowmani, B. striantula, Rectobolivina glabro, R. raphanus, Chrysolidinella dimorpha, Reusella atlantica, Rosalina globularis, R. valvulata granulosa, Cancris oblonga, Spirillina vivipara, Ammonia beccarii, A. dentata, A. tepida, Asterorotalin inflate, A. trispinose, Pararotalia nipponica, P. azawai, Pseudorotalia sehroeteriana, Calcarina umblicats,

Elphidium advenam, E. crispum, E. discoidale, E. excavatum, E. hispidium, E. incertum, E. limbatum, E. poeyanum, E. verriculatum, Poroeponoides laterolis, Cibicides lobatulus, C. refulgens, Planorbulina mediterranensis, Planorbulinella larvata, Acervadina inhaerens, Cymbaloporetta bradyi, C. squammosa, Fursenkoina compressa, F. punctata, Sigmavirgulina tartuosa, L. limbatum costudata, Florilus boucamum, F. grateloupi, F. labradoricum and O. venusta (sub order Rotaliina). Among living forms, only the eight taxa (viz. Spiroloculina insignis, T. trigonula, Ammonia beccarii, A. tepida, Pararotalia nipponica and Osangularia venusta) are considered to be widespread and abundant in the Palk Bay area. 3.4.3 Sponges and corals

Sea - Cucumbers Sea cucumbers are a group of economically important echinoderms with a wide range of distribution in coral to mangrove habitats. Although nearly 200 species of sea cucumbers are distributed in the seas around India, only about a dozen species are of commercial importance. Only species belonging to the families Holothuridae and Stichopodidae are of commercial importance since they are large in size and the body wall is also thick. These are distributed in good numbers in the Palk Bay. Nearly 30 corals are recorded from Palk Bay (Table 3.43). Species observed are, Family, Holothuriadae, sp., Actinopyga miliaris, A.mauritiana, A echinites, Bohadschiaargus, B. marmorata, Holothuria nobilis, H. atra, H. scabra, H. spinifera, Family-Stichopodidae, sp., S. chloronotus, S. variegatus. Flourishing export market for the processed sea cucumbers has increased their exploitation. Over 60% of beche- de-mer exported from India, is from the Palk Bay. Sea cucumbers are mostly collected by skin divers in shallow waters from 2-10 m depth. Presently, operation of a modified trawl net called Chanku madi yields good catches of sea cucumbers alongwith chanks (Xancus pyrum). The harvest composition of this gear is Xancus pyrum (61.22%), sea cucumbers (20.4%), rays (Amphotistus kuhlii) (16.33%) and starfish, sea shells and small fishes (2.04%). Holothuria being detritus feeders are found among the marine macro-algae and seaweeds.

Sea fan The Sea fan is yet another colonial form, but it branches only in one plane and the branches may fuse with each other to form a 'fan'. White or cream-colored polyps may grow on a base of contrasting maroon colour, attached to stones by a broad disc-like holdfast. Gorgonides are reported in Palk Bay in deeper waters, beyond 50 m (CMFRI 1998). The colorful sea fans have long been objects of attraction to man. Gorgonid community is popularly known as "flowers of under water gardens". Sponges Sponges, although at a casual glance look like plants, are animals, living singly or in colonies. They have no fixed shape, and form flat encrustations on stones in the region of strong waves. In the crevices, these sponges are found associated with many animals, ranging from tiny crabs and brittle star to bivalve molluscs. Sponges show commensalisms as several crustaceans, worms, molluscs and fishes live in the internal cavities of sponges for protection against enemies, and also act as a shelter bed. About, 60 desmosponges are recorded from Palk Bay (Table 3.43). 3.4.4 Fishing in Palk Bay The distribution and abundance of different groups of fish in the areas are shown in the Table 3.44. It is evident that highest catch was recorded for Pomadasys, Leiognathus and Lethrinus sp. Along Palk Bay region, very high values of organic production to the tune of 435 mgC/m/day to 2340 mgC/m/day were reported from June to July. The threadfin breams along SE coast of Palk Bay (10O/18O) has no catch at all upto depths from 40-100 m. The depth range of 60-90 m along 10ON Lat. of SE coast (Palk Bay) has only one form of threadfin breams as Nemipterus japonicus (100%). Off the south east coast the fishing area at 10O/80O has recorded the highest catch of 1,033 kg/hr with major perches (Pristipomoides typus, Epinephelus and Lutjanus) forming the bulk. The abundance of demersal fin fish kg/hr along Palk Bay (10O/80O) in Table 3.45 shows the dominance of fish in the order Carangids>Perches> Rastrelliger> miscellaneous fish between 51-100 m depth, whereas there is no catch below

50 m depth. Other types of fishes (13 types) are not found in this area. The perches in SE coast at 10ON below 50 m show presence of serranids, whereas at depth 51-

100 m Lutjanus, Lethrinus, Plectorhynchus and other perches are uniformly caught (Table 3.46). 3.4.5 Marine Mammals The cetacea (whales and dolphins) and sirenia (sea cow) represent the main groups of marine mammals in the Palk Bay. Marine mammals have a layer of dermal fat or blubber. This acts as a stored reserve food for future use in case of deficiency of food. The sirenia (sea cow) graze with their well developed lips, in consequence, their teeth are little used and are greatly reduced in size. In cetacea, whales and dolphins are mostly carnivorous and feed on crustaceans, squids, and fishes. In sirenia, sea cow is herbivorous and feeds mainly on sea grasses.

Dolphins and Whales The dolphis found in the Palk Bay are oceanic and roam about in the area. It is most likely that only the frail and the infirm whales move towards this area as known from strandings of whales. So far no mass stranding of whales has been observed in the canal area. The dolphins Stenella longirostris and Tursiops truncatus are often caught in various nets and the ones thus caught and injured (probably) are clandestinely butchered for food. However, capture or harming of the sea mammals is prohibited by law. Sea Cow Unlike dolphin and whales, sea cow (Dugong dugon) inhabits the Palk Bay preferably within 10 m depth limit not far from the shore (1-3 km). Usually sea cows move in groups of 5-7 among the seagrass Cymodocea, which is its chief diet. The dugong which grows to over 300 kg measuring 1-1.5 m in length, is harmless and sluggish in nature. Its gestation period lasts 13-14 months and gives birth to a single calf at a time. Though young male adults compete among themselves for female, once they have paired, they remain paired for the whole life. Their attachment to the partner and calf is such that if one of the partners or calf gets caught the rest also shall follow; thus becoming easy victims. They have no natural enemies except the civilised man. The exact number of sea cows living in the Palk Bay is not known. Due to uncontrolled fishing carried out till recently and also due to reduction in their grazing area and Cymodocea, their numbers have gone down drastically. During 1980's, about 200 numbers used to be killed per year. Now they are protected by the Wildlife (Protection) Act, and are under threatened status. Occasionally, marine mammals and turtles have been observed to get washed ashore, and on examination it is found that the death is often due to propeller cuts or eating of floatsam. 3.4.6 Distribution Of Palk Bay Reef The reef in Palk Bay runs parallel to land (east to west direction) from Pamban Channel at the Pamban end of the bridge to Rameswaram island between longitudes 79° 17' E and 79° 8'E at the latitude 9° 17'N. The Bay is a very shallow flat basin and the depth never exceeds 15 metres. The average depth is 9 meters. The coral reef in Palk Bay starts from Munakad as a wall-like formation 1-2 m broad and

runs east upto Tonithurai a distance of nearly 5.5 km. Here the reef width is more than 300 metres. East of Pamban pass, the reef again starts near Thangachimadam and ends near Agnitheertham (Rameswaram) (Mahadevan and Nair, 1969). This reef is 25-30 km long and generally less than 200 m wide. Visibility is poor due to siltation. The Palk strait between India and Ceylon is about 75 km wide, with a water depth of 913 m, except where local coral reef rises above sea level. Coral reefs on the Tamil Nadu coast (south east coast) are located in Palk Bay near Rameswaram and in the Gulf of Mannar. Mandapam peninsula and Rameswaram Islands separate Palk Bay from the Gulf of Mannar. The reef is centered at 9O17’ N and 79O15’ E. There is only one fringing reef in the Palk Bay, which lies along the mainland from the Pamban channel at the Pamban end of the bridge to Rameswaram Island. This reef is 25-30 km long, and generally less than 200 m wide; maximum depth is around 6 m. Visibility is poor due to siltation and it is influenced by the north east monsoon. The reef flat is relatively broad from Pamban channel to the southern end near Ramnad and narrow from Pamban to south of Rameswaram. 3.4.7 Review of the Coral Reef Ecosystem of Palk Bay Gopinadha Pillai (1969) classified the reefs of Palk Bay into five zones shore, lagoon, shoreward slope, reef crest and seaward slope. The shore of the reef is mostly sandy with dead pieces of corals, except at the extreme eastern and near the Pamban bridge where one can see traces of sandstone. The vegetation on the shore comprises Cocos nucifera, Borassus flabellifera, Casurina equisetifolia, Azadirdicata indica and few other thorny shrubs. The width of the lagoon varies from 200 to 600 meters at different places with a depth of 1 to 2 metres. The bottom is sandy with molluscan shells and pieces of disintegrating corals. Living corals are practically absent in the lagoon, probably due to the absence of any hard substratum on which coral planulae can settle. Sponges such as Hercina fusca, Dysidea fragilis,

Spirastrella inconstans and Calispongia diffusa are fairly common at the bottom. The vegetation is composed commonly occurring of Cymodocea sp., Ulva reticulata, Turbinaria sp., Padina sp., Halimeda sp. and Amphiora sp. Holothuria scabra,

Holothuria arta and Pentaceraster australis are common inhabitants of the sandy lagoon floor (Pillai, 1969). Corals distributed along the shoreward slope are encrusting and of massive types with comparatively large polyps, such as Favia pallida, Favus, Favites virens, Goniastrea pectinata, G. retiformis, Platygyna lamellina, Hydrophora sp., Cyphastrea sp., Leptastrea sp., symphillia sp. and Goniopora sp. Living colonies of Ponies sp are rare or small in size. Galaxea fascicularis and Turbinaria peltala, Pavona varians are the rarest species. This zone of the reef supports a good many reef dwellers like encrusting sponges, bryozoans and calcareous algae. Among the fleshy corals Lobophylum sp and Sarcophylum sp are represented. The reef crest is often completely exposed at low tides. Corals are very rare at the reef crest, probably because of the influence of exposure to sun light. However Heptastrea transversa and Goniopora duofaciata are occasionally seen under the rocks. The coral growth of the reef along the seaward side slope is comparatively richer than on the shoreward side. Majority of corals are ramose genera viz., Pocillopora sp, Acropora sp and Montipora sp. The vegetation comprises of Turbinaria sp, Sargassum sp, Padina sp, Caulerpa sp and rarely Cymodocea sp. Halimeda sp and a few other encrusting calcareous algae are commonly seen. A total of 61 species of algae has been collected. They are distributed among the three major groups - green algae (14 genera and 28 species), brown algae (8 genera and 13 species) and red algae (17 genera and 20 species). The frequency occurrence of different species in the quadrate samples show that Halimeda opuntia is the dominant algal member of the reef. Species of Caulerpa and Sargassum are the other most common plants found in the reef. The physical conditions such as the nature of the substratum and water level above the substratum influence the distribution of flora in the coral reef area (Umamaheswara Rao, 1989). Boring sponges is the major group among the marine organisms causing considerable destruction to the reef system. The bores made by the sponges weaken the entire reef, making it more susceptible to the wear and tear caused by the waves. There are altogether 20 known species of boring sponges from the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay, falling into nine genera. The most

conspicuous genus is Cliona, both in number of species and in distribution (Thomas, 1969). Among the coral boring organisms, bivalve molluscs cause considerable destruction to coral reefs. They act as biological agents in the erosion of hard coral stones. In Palk bay and Gulf of Mannar, only 17 boring bivalve species have been recorded from this area (under 10 genera of six families) (Appukuttan, 1969). Asir Ramesh (1996) recorded a total of 73 species of molluscs associated with corals in Palk Bay viz., 46 species of gastropods belonging to 17 families, and 27 species of bivalves belonging to 13 families. The dried sea horse (Hippocampus kunda) is in great demand in south-east Asian countries, especially in Singapore and China - not only for extraction of soup which is a delicacy but also for its medicinal values. Along the Ramnad coast, the dried sea horse is used as a medicine to arrest whooping cough in children. The dried sea horse is finely powdered and then roasted. This powder is mixed with honey and administered as a engulfing medicine. In some places the powder is mixed with coconut oil and pasted on the cut wounds. It is also used for curing asthma (Marichamy et al., 1993). Dugongs are long living animals with a low reproductive rate. They have a long gestation period and a large gap between each off spring. Around 25 dugongs were caught accidentally in this region during 1960. In Palk Bay Karangadu, Nambuthaalai, Morepanai and Mullimunai are minor fishing villages. Valivalai (drift net) shore seins and Thirukkaivalai are used to capture dugong in the shallow regions. Explosives (Country bombs and dynamites) are used for capturing the dugong in Thiruppalaikudi and Devipatnam (Ramnad District). During the 1960's the fisherman of Palk Bay region bitterly complained about the disappearance of large beds of algae owing to the cyclone in 1964, and turtles and dugongs almost disappeared in this area. Fishermen, now report that the algal beds have sprung up once again (Silas and Fernando, 1985).

3.4.8

Present Status of Palk Bay Nearshore areas of Palk bay are polluted because of increased coastal

urban development. Sewage outlets are increasing the suspended load, turbidity, nutrient etc. The coral reefs are under stress wherever processing industries let out their sewage. The indiscriminate cutting of near shore forest, leads to coastal soil erosion with huge quantities of nutrients that aggravate the physical stress on the coral reef. The Palk Bay lagoon has a width of around 230 m. from the shore. The lagoon contains a large number of boulders, occupied by various species of scleractinian corals. Table reef are also found in the lagoons. These newly found boulders and table reef are formed by a process of wind drift. The green algae population is greater in areas close to the sewage outlets of processing industries than in healthy reef systems. Perna virdis, a rare component of the coral reef ecosystem, is densely distributed in Palk Bay. Six scleractinian coral species are recorded from the lagoon of Vellaperukkumanthai reef whereas Gopinadha Pillai has identified two species (Porities somaliensis and Favia pallida) from the lagoon. Fishermen suggest that the sponge population and soft coral population have decreased over the past two decades. Our investigations also confirm an increase in the boring sponge species and a decrease in the macrosponge species. The shoreward slope of the reef has a width of 70 m in the area between 230 m and 300 m from the shore. The coral population has been increasing remarkably in distribution and diversity along the shoreward slope. The 1969 record of Gopinadha Pillai shows 11 species in this area, however, present investigation shows 20 coral species with a density of 50 colonies/10m2. Padina sp and Halimeda sp are most common algae present in this zone. The sponge population is comparatively higher than in the lagoon. The coral species Platygyra lamellina, Hydnophora sp, Galaxea fascicularis and Turbinaria pelata recorded by Pillai (1969) are no longer present in Palk Bay. Gopinadha Pillai recorded all the ramose corals in the seaward slope of the reef. However, our present investigation shows that ramose corals are also distributed along the shoreward slope and lagoon. The present study indicates that

10 scleractinian species are present in the seaward slope, whereas the previous record (Gopinadha Pillai, 1969) shows only 6 species. 3.4.9 Wildlife Sanctuary Adjoining Palk Strait Situated at the southern end of Nagappattnam district, Tamil Nadu the Point Calimere region was first identified as an area of high conservation significance, birds by the late Dr.Salim Ali in 1962. The sanctuary may be divided into three divisions: the Point Calimere Forest; the GVS, which includes the mangrove forests at Muthupet and the mangroves of TRF. It is the breeding ground or nursery for many species of marine fishes, which are vital to the fisheries of the coast. It is a marine - coastal wetland with a wide diversity of habitats and ecological features, including: intertidal salt marshes, forested wetlands, mangroves and brackish to saline lagoons. The sanctuary has been designated as a Ramsar Site in November 2002. – The GVS is one of the largest waterbodies and major wintering ground for waterbirds in southern India. The forests of Point Calimere are also rich in both resident and migratory species of forest birds. A total of 257 species of birds have been recorded from the Sanctuary of which 119 are waterbirds and 138 forestbirds. – The wetland supports the vulnerable species spoonbill sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus and grey pelican Pelecanus

philippensis according to the IUCN Red List. – It supports about 30,000 flamingos, 200-300 endangered grey pelican the endangered Asian dowitcher the rare spoonbill sandpiper and tens of thousands of other waterbirds. A total of 119 waterbird species have been recorded from the area. – The wetland is the breeding ground or nursery for many species of marine fishes which are vital to the fisheries of the coast. GVS is the spawning and/or nursing ground for commercially important prawns, crabs and fishes. Eastern part of the GVS harbours 23 fish species, mainly mullets, whereas the Mullipalam Lagoon at Muthupet has a more direct influence of the sea and harbours

more marine species of fish, some 20 species. Biodiversity Values Flora Due to the diversity of habitats, the vegetation of the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary is equally diverse, ranging from dry evergreen forests, mangrove vegetation, salt marsh to grasslands. The dominant trees of the forest are Manilkara hexandra and Salvadora persica in the open areas. Insectivorous plants such as Drosera burmanii and D.indica are also present in the grassland habitat. Dominated by Halophytes such as Arthrocnemum indicum, Salicornia brachiata and Sessuvium portulacastrum are common along the marshy areas of the shore. Patches of Prosopis chilensis, Calotropis gigantea, Clerodendrum inerme and Pandanus tectorius occur in elevated areas. Ipomoea pes- capre, Spinifex littoreus and Zoysia matrella are common on the sand dunes. Avicennia marina is the dominant mangrove species in the area. At Talaignayar, the vegetation is charateristic salt - marsh vegetation. During the monsoon, aquatics such as Aponogeton natans, Bergia capensis, Najas graminea and Sphenoclea zeylanica occur. Pentatropis microphylla is a common twiner on many plants. Fauna Some of the major waterbird species are the greater flamingo and the lesser flamingo, spot - billed pelican, spoonbilled sandpiper, Asian dowitcher, whitebellied seaeagle, brahminy kite and osprey. Landbirds include paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta, Rosy starling, Blyth reed warbler, crested serpent eagle and brown shrike. Fourteen species of mammals have been reported from the Sanctuary. The larger mammals are the blackbuck, spotted deer, wild boar and jackal. The flying fox resides in large groups on trees in the Point Calimere forest and the mangrove forest at Muthupet. The blackbuck of Point Calimere represents one of the three isolated populations of blackbuck existing in Tamil Nadu with the other populations in the Guindy National Park and near Satyamangalam. Social & Cultral Values

It provides for local income and employment specially in areas of salt production, forest produce, firewood and fish products. About 35,000 fishermen and agriculturists live around the sanctuary. Threats – Threats to the sanctuary mainly comes from illegal extraction of timber and non timber produce. – – There is danger from industrial pollution and poaching. Domestic and industrial saltworks operating in GVS also pose a serious problem. Conservation Measures To conserve the blackbuck and other wild animals, an innovative freshwater source has been created. In the watchtowers, overhead tanks have been constructed, to supply water during the drought period and underground pipeline is laid up to 3 kms. to connect the overhead tank for the supply of water. The water source is from the bore - well equipped with motor. In 1988 a proposal was sent to the Tamil Nadu Government to extend the area of the Sanctuary to include the Great Vedaranyam Swamp and the Talaignayar Reserve Forest and rename the sanctuary as the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary. The promulgation of this new sanctuary is still in process.

3.5

Gulf of Mannar
The Gulf of Mannar reefs on the other hand are developed around a chain

of 21 islands that lie along the 140 km stretch between Tuticorin and Rameswaram. These islands are located between latitude 8O47’ N and 9O15’N and longitude 78O12’E and 79O14’ E. The islands lie at an average of about

8 km from the main land. They are a part of the Mannar Barrier reef, which is about 140 km long and 25 km wide between Pamban and Tuticorin. Different types of reef forms such as shore, platform, patch and fringing type are also observed in the Gulf of Mannar. The islands have fringing coral reefs and patch reefs around them. Narrow fringing reefs are located mostly at a distance of

50 to 100 m from the islands. On the other hand, patch reefs rise from depths of 2 to 9 m and extend to 1 to 2 km in length with width as much as 50 meters. Reef flat

is extensive in almost all the reefs in the Gulf of Mannar. Reef vegetation is richly distributed on these reefs. The total area occupied by reef and its associated features is 94.3 sq. km. Reef flat and reef vegetation including algae occupies 64.9 and 13.7 sq. km, respectively. (DOD & SAC, 1997). Visibility is affected by monsoons, coral mining and high sedimentation load. These reefs are more luxuriant and richer than the reefs of Palk Bay. Pillai (1986) provides a comprehensive account of the coral fauna of this region. There are about 96 species of corals belonging to 36 genera in the Gulf of Mannar. The most commonly occurring genera of corals are Acropora, Montipora and Porites. Coral associates such as ornamental fishes belonging to the family Chaetodontidae, (butterfly fish); Amphiprion sp. (clown fish), Holocentrus sp. (squirrelfish), Scarus sp. (parrotfish), Lutjanus sp. (snapper fish) and Abudefdul saxatilis (sergeant Major) are found. Extensive sea grass beds are present; green turtles, olive ridley turtles and dugongs are dependent on the sea grasses. The mainland coast of India has the Gulf of Kutch in the Northwest (Gujarat State) and Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar in the southeast (Tamil Nadu State). Other than these important off shore island groups of India, the Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea also have extensive reef growth. The total area of coral reefs in India is estimated to be 2,374.9 sq. km.

3.6

Issues Related to Coral Reefs
Reef’s resources have traditionally been a major source of food for local

inhabitants and of major economic value in terms of commercial exploitation. Reefs in India provide economic security to the communities that live alongside them. There are millions of poor fishers in India whose livelihood depends on coral reefs. Coral reefs provide up to 25 percent of all the fisheries harvested and 75 percent of animal protein consumed. Thus, the aspect of coral reefs is significant to the livelihood and social welfare of communities. The terms “stress” and “disturbance” have been applied to coral reefs and many other biological communities, with a variety of interpretations. Stress is a physiological condition which results from adverse or excessive environmental factors and in corals this can be measured by decreased growth rates, metabolic

differences and biochemical changes. Disturbance is an ecological phenomenon, which includes departure from a routine set of conditions. There are varying levels of degradation which can be observed on coral reefs, from the extreme and obvious (mortality) to more sublime changes in characteristics including competitive dominance among organisms, decreased growth rates, breakdown of organisms association, reduced fecundity, reproductive failure and declining recruitment of larvae. Essentially, whether a coral reef is killed in a week, due to sediment burial, or over a ten-year period, due to attrition and lack of recruitment, the result is the same. The loss of the coral reef community results in the loss of all the benefits that it offers. Recent reports indicate that coral reefs are under considerable stress and are experiencing considerable damage. Coral reefs have been resilient ecosystems since the Mesozoic (about 200 million years ago), surviving major environmental events such as ice ages, meteor strikes and large changes in solar activity. Not withstanding these events, coral reefs have recovered to form the extensive reefs we see today, although recovery may have taken thousands to hundreds – of thousands of years. Coral reefs also have the capacity to regenerate rapidly after catastrophic tropical storms, plagues of the coral-eating Crown-of-thorn starfish, and severe bleaching. Recovery often takes 15 to 20 years. However, over the past 50 years, there has been major increase in stresses on coral reefs from direct and indirect human activities. These stresses are threatening the existence of reefs in some areas, and will diminish the extent of reefs in other areas. 3.6.1 Natural Stresses to Coral Reefs The major stresses on reefs are storms and waves, particularly tropical storms and cyclones. These cause major intermittent damage to reefs, particularly to those reefs that rarely experience these storms. Cyclone disturbances develop during certain months (October-November) along the Indian Seacoast and elsewhere in the tropical region. These cyclones have sustained winds with speed ranging from 65 to 120 km per hour. High-speed winds cause extreme wave action that break coral into rubbles and sometimes large amounts of sand and other materials may be dumped onto the coral reef. Due to 1969 cyclone a large area of coral was buried under the sand in

Rameswaram area of Gulf of Mannar. Likewise the cyclone of December 1987 in Bay of Bengal devastated the coral reefs of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park of Port Blair, Andaman, that resulted in large quantities of broken coral colonies getting heaped and scattered near the shore. Freshwater runoff damages reefs in semi-enclosed bays and lagoons (a channel near the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park entrance) by lowering salinity and depositing large amounts of sediments and nutrients. Reefs are also damaged by volcanic activity (earthquakes, volcanic lava flows, severe uplifting) in the Andaman Islands, for example in Barren Island. The major biological stress on reefs is predation by Crown-of-Thorns starfish and coral diseases have been particularly devastating in Andaman & Nicobar reefs (Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, 1989) and Lakshadweep respectively. There is now considerable speculation that the incidence of both these stresses has been exacerbated by human activities. 3.6.2 Impacts of Human Activity on Coral Reefs Varied man’s activities which are, a cause for concern includes runoff and sedimentation from development activities (projects), eutrophication from sewage and agriculture, physical impact from maritime activities, dredging, collecting and destructive fishing practices, pollution from industrial sources, golf courses and oil refineries and the synergistic impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on top of natural disturbance.

3.6.2.1 Sedimentation Sedimentation, which is the most well studied impact, may affect corals three different ways: photosynthetically, physically and chemically. As most reefbuilding corals obtain the majority of their nutritional requirements through translocation of metabolites from their photosynthetic partners (Zooxanthellae), any reduction in the availability of light will affect coral nutrition, growth, reproduction and depth distribution. Physically, sediments also interfere with coral nutrition by coating the feeding surfaces responsible for catching prey items needed to supplement the energy provided by zooxanthellae. While corals do have the ability to cleanse themselves using a combination of mucus secretion and ciliary action, chronic sedimentation may end up in a high energetic cost, adding to the overall impact on the colony. Sedimentation can alter species composition of reefs through photosynthetic and physical effects. Change in relative abundance of morphological types as well as individual species are an important reflection of how sedimentation as a disturbance affects community structure. The standing examples are the coral reefs of Gulf of Mannar islands and the reefs of Little Andaman. So far, the presence of sediment load in the coral reef areas has been confirmed in Gulf of Mannar and Andaman & Nicobar islands, however, quantitatively they are not reported. Venkataraman and Rajan (1994) reported the amount of silt carried by the rainwater from Port Blair City into the sea. Only few studies have been focussed on the effect of sedimentation and siltation on the damages the reef quantitatively. Sedimentation can also physically interfere with recruitment of coral larvae, which require a solid substratum upon which to settle and metamorphose. Dredging projects have been particularly damaging to reefs, (Sethu Samudram project, Gulf of Mannar region) primarily through the initial physical disturbance, habitat alteration and the subsequent problems associated with sedimentation. Sand mining in Andaman Islands and coral quarrying in Gulf of Mannar (Tuticorin group of Islands) cause a lot of sedimentation and siltation on coral reefs. Very few studies have focussed on the chemical effects of sediment on corals that can be important. Dumping of fly ash near Pandian island at Tuticorin may contain a variety of heavy metals particularly detrimental to coral reefs.

3.6.2.2 Runoff/Chemical Pollution/ Water Quality A general rule for coastal zone: whatever is used on land today ends up in the aquifer or coastal zone tomorrow. Salinity changes alone have proven to affect corals, especially on shallow water reef flats which are most likely to be affected by freshwater runoff. The amount of sediments and chemicals the runoff water carries to the sea has profound effects on fertilization of eggs of coral species. Likewise, the quality of runoff water can affect the metamorphosis of the larvae of corals. Many experiments have demonstrated that the actual coastal surface water quality above reefs during coral spawning events has sufficiently reduced reproductive failure. Many areas in Andaman & Nicobar islands and Gulf of Mannar area have large quantities of sediment laden freshwater runoff impinged on coastal reefs, causing high levels of coral mortality, rapid growth of fleshy algae species, and large areas of reduced salinity/quality seawater. Local fishermen of Gulf of Mannar have complained of decreased fisheries and reef vitality not only on these coastal reefs, but also on off shore islands and reefs not directly affected by contact with the sediment. Inspection of these reefs revealed (Zoological Survey of India, Chennai) live adult coral colonies, but no signs of larval recruits with increased levels of sedimentation. Oil pollution is an extreme example of how chemicals, in this case hydrocarbons, can affect reefs. Research performed in many areas have documented coral mortality, decreased fecundity and recruitment failure in response to chronic oil pollution. Industrial waste discharged in to the sea near Tuticorin islands, Chattam Sawmill wastes in Port Blair are the standing examples of how pollution deteriorates the reef ecosystem. All the near shore reefs and island reefs of Tuticorin, Gulf of Mannar and Port Blair area, Andaman & Nicobar area have become barren rocks.

3.6.2.3 Sewage The overall impact of sewage on a coral reef community depends on sewage, level of treatment, presence of toxic materials and receiving water characteristics. The effects of sewage-related nutrient enrichment on coral reef communities have been documented and include alteration of competitive interactions, reduction of coral calcification rates from decreased light levels and increased phosphate concentrations and increased mortality from bacterial infection. Corals are adapted to live in nutrient poor environments and are relatively slow growing compared to algae, sponges, tunicates and other groups of sessile benthic organisms. Nutrients not only increase the bio-mass of phytoplankton, affecting light transmission and increasing the biological oxygen demand (B.O.D.) which may have some impact on the corals but also give a competitive advantage to faster growing benthic species. The green algae has formed large mats, covering and killing corals in Keelakarai coast coral reefs in Gulf of Mannar due to sewage pollution from the town. The nutrient enrichment via sewage reduces the photosynthetic efficiency of corals, as alga cells increase in density to the point of becoming self-shading. Since the coral zooxanthellae symbiosis evolved under nutrient limited conditions, it is reasonable to assume that the relationship will become altered in response to changes in the level of nutrients available. Further studies of the physiological effects of such changes are needed to determine the sub lethal or long-term effects of sewage and nutrient enrichment on coral reefs of Gulf of Mannar Islands and Andaman & Nicobar. While the effects of suspended solids from sewer out falls have been compared to those from terrigenous runoff and sedimentation, the two types of sediment differ in physical, chemical and toxicological characteristics, which must be considered when assessing impacts. Sewage suspended solids primarily organic, can contain absorbed toxins, and increase B.O.D more than inorganic sediment associated with runoff. The toxic component of sewage depends on the sources of input and is primarily a concern in industrial or agricultural areas where industrial wastes and pesticides are included in the effluent.

3.6.2.4 Temperature Stress and Bleaching The negative impacts of increased temperature on corals have been documented from both anthropogenic and natural sources. There are many documented evidences for coral mortality associated with the hot water discharge from a cooling system for a power plant and wide spread mortality with increased temperatures accompanying the El Nino event. In both cases, the cause of mortality appeared to be the breakdown of the symbiotic association between the zooxanthellae and the coral host (bleaching). There has been unprecedented bleaching of hard and soft corals throughout the coral reefs of the world from mid-1997 to late-1998. Much of the bleaching coincided with a large El Nino event followed by a strong La Nina but bleaching in all the coral reefs is uncorrelated. During this event bleaching and mortality were most pronounced in shallow water (less than 15 m) and particularly affected staghorn and plate Acropora and other fast growing corals. Many of the massive, slow-growing species bleached, but many recovered within one or two months. This bleaching event has resulted in poor coral cover (recent study by Zoological Survey of India, Chennai) and possibly fewer new coral recruits on many reefs in India for the next 10 years until recovery gains speed. In the short term, this will affect adversely the economics of India, particularly fisheries. There will be a shift in the composition of coral communities; some will have greater dominance of slow growing massive corals, whereas other reefs will lose century-old colonies. Nevertheless, such shifts have occurred in the past and are part of the normal variability of many coral reefs. If however, the recent bleaching event is linked to global climate change, and will be repeated regularly in the immediate future, the consequences would be serious for many coral reefs if sea temperatures show a continuing upward trend. The relationship between bleaching events and ozone depletion/global warming is presently being studied by several groups of researchers. If the connection can be proven, it will be an example of global rather than local anthropogenic impacts on coral reefs.

3.6.2.5 Coral diseases Four types of coral diseases have been identified : white band disease, black band disease, bacterial infection, and shutdown reaction. While there is a degree of uncertainty over the causes responsible for each disease, they all appear to be stressrelated. Synergism is believed to play an important role, as stressed coral seems to be the most susceptible for the above diseases. Sediment, sewage, pesticides, heavy metals, bleaching and other human impacts have stressed tumors, bacterial attack and parasitic worms. White Band disease has been reported from Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands. In addition, a new disease called Pink Line disease is also reported from Lakshadweep. 3.6.2.6 Destructive fishing practices The use of destructive fishing practices has been responsible for the destruction of coral reefs throughout the world. Destructive fishing practices have seriously damaged many of the Gulf of Mannar’s richest and most diverse coral reefs, necessitating an urgent warning that immediate and far-reaching action is needed. The Gulf of Mannar stands out as one of the hardest hit areas, with 60% of its reef in varying stages of deterioration. Because of the large size of the areas concerned (Gulf of Mannar and Andaman & Nicobar Islands or other areas in India), and the lack of general resources for enforcement, education appear to be more successful than legislation in controlling these practices. Poverty reduces the alternatives for fishermen who must feed their families and rely on fishing as a source of protein and income. This same problem has lead to another anthropogenic disturbance on reefs : over fishing. The use of fish traps made of long-lasting materials with small mesh sizes results in the capture of pre-reproductive juveniles, affecting future populations and the death of fish when traps become dislodged during storms, yet continue to capture fish which eventually starve. Several types of net fishing have also been responsible for over-exploitation of reef. As with all biological communities in a coral reef, each species plays an important role in the dynamics of balance. The depletion of grazers, for example, may eventually lead to an overgrowth of alga as in the case Gulf of Mannar reefs.

Blast Fishing

Although it is now illegal, blast fishing has been a widespread and accepted fishing technique in some of the developing countries. Schooling reef fishes are located visually, after which the capture boat moves within close range and a lighted bomb is thrown into the middle of the school. After the bomb is exploded, fishermen enter the water to collect the fish that have been killed or stunned by the resulting shock wave. Due to blasting, branching, tabulate and foliose hard corals are shattered while massive and columnar corals are often fractured. Although this effect of blasting is quite localized, reefs subject to repeated blasting are often to little more than shifting rubble fields, punctured by the occasional massive coral head. In addition to damaging the reef framework, blast fishing results in side-kills of non-target and juvenile fishes and invertebrates. Trap Fishing- (Koodu) The use of bamboo mesh traps, locally known as koodu, is wide spread throughout Gulf of Mannar islands reef fisheries. In Ramanathapuram alone 3312 (37% of the total trap in the Tamil Nadu State) traps are found. Although this gear is not intrinsically destructive, the process of setting and retrieving the trap is largely responsible for the destruction wrought on the reef. These traps set by simply lowering the trap from boat-side via a buoyed rope are responsible for the most reef damage. The traps are often heavily weighted with wooden runners or stones and can destroy entire stands of branching and foliose corals on the reef during their installation and especially removal (by pulling on the rope). If the current trend continues, Koodu trap activities will become an increasingly important cause of reef damage in Gulf of Mannar. Ola valai and Shore Seine Ola valai is a type of drive-in net fishing technique where by a line of fishermen in the water use scare-lines, lines with palm leaves tied off at regular intervals to drive fish down a bag net. The scare lines are rhythmically lifted and dropped into the shore areas, often breaking live corals while the fish are driven ahead. Next to this the shore seines form the major gear of Gulf of Mannar. There are about 1523 numbers of shore seines found in Ramanathapuram district alone, forming about 33% of the total shore seines in the state. Although this gear is not intrinsically destructive, the process of shore seines is largely responsible for the destruction of new colonies emerging near lagoon.

While it is simple to prove how damaging destructive fishing practices are to the productivity of fisheries, the economic realities of day-to-day life on Gulf of Mannar and Andaman & Nicobar islands makes the solution difficult to obtain.

3.7

Impacts in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar
There are about 47 fishing villages along the coast of which 38 are in the

Ramanathapuram district and nine in V.O. Chidambaranar district bordering the Gulf of Mannar Park area. Exploitation of fishery resources in the inshore waters has been the sole occupation of hundreds of fishing families along the coast for centuries. The reefs are used to carry out reef fishery, chanks and pearl fishery, ornamental shell trade and illegal mining of corals. The villagers around Palk Bay harvest holothurians, seahorse and pipe fishes. Other harvesting activities include chanks and milk fish fry. Turtles are being harvested up to 1000 annually; dugongs are also poached. The destruction of reefs and reef associated organisms in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay is perhaps unparalleled in the history of environmental damage to nature and natural resources in the recent past (Pillai, 1996). The coral reefs on Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar were quarried for industrial purposes from early sixties from Mandapam to Tuticorin. The estimate of coral quarried varies. At Tuticorin the estimate was 80,000 t per year. Pillai (1973) estimated the exploitation of corals from Mandapam area during sixties and early seventies to the tune of 250 m3 per day. It is found that some of the islands (Vilanguchalli in Tuticorin group and Poovarasanpatti Island in Keelakari group) are totally submerged and vanished because of quarrying. A recent survey in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar has revealed that damage to reef due to human interference is still rampant. The huge colonies of corals that occupied large areas in the lagoons of many islands are no more there due to over exploitation of algae and shells by fishermen in an extensive scale. Fishermen during collection of algae to negotiate their boats brake most of the corals. The live export of crabs and lobsters from this area in the recent years is also causing damage to live corals. Fish traps (Koodu) to collect live crabs are causing a lot of destruction to coral reefs in these areas. Other than these disturbances, siltation, agricultural run off, sewage discharge as well as the fecal pollution are the major problems in these areas.

3.8

Conservation

The Federal Government Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 1991 regulates onshore development activities, which affect coastal environments, and strictly prohibits the collection and trade of corals. Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 provides protection for protected areas and certain marine species. Efforts continue to bring corals under this act and to encourage enforcement that is more stringent. Coral reef conservation is also included in the Environmental Protection Act (1986), the National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environmental Development (1992) and the Action Plan of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The conservation and management of coral reef resources is within the mandate of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the focal point for the Indian Coral Reef Monitoring Network and the National focal point of ICRI. India has 6 marine protected areas; the largest is the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (GOMMBRE), which encompasses 10,500 sq km. Coral Reef Monitoring Action Plans (CRMAPs), prepared under the first phase of the GCRMN, have been launched within the framework of the ICRMN for all reef areas except the Gulf of Kutch. Government support has been extended for the implementation of the CRMAPs and to build capacity to monitor reefs through training. However, activities are still at a beginning and overall the capacity for monitoring and management is lacking. Other significant international initiatives on the Indian coral reefs underway and under development include. UNDP/GEF DPFB projects on the Gulf of Mannar and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

3.9

Future Direction
Coral reefs in India are under increasing pressure. In many cases, the

sources of stress due to human pressure are known. However, the etiology of a growing number of diseases and pathologies now being reported in corals is not widely understood, highlighting the need for more search to unravel the complex interactive effects between natural and anthropogenic forms of stress and their effects on coral reefs. The inability of scientists to predict with any certainty where the critical thresholds of resilience to stress lie along the continuum of human-induced and natural disturbances, make it inherently difficult to manage reefs sustainably. Solutions to these conservation and management problems will need to incorporate effective science, robust economic analysis and sound policies and laws. Participatory actions grounded in the cultural and social reality of local people who depend on and benefit directly from coral reefs must be part of the solution. Creating political will, through communication and environmental education, will be essential in mobilising and sustaining conservation efforts. Studies such as qualitative and quantitative estimation of biodiversity, percentage cover of live and dead coral estimation by standard methods, estimation of standing crops of reef resources, their recruitment, growth, mortality, standing stock, and level of exploitation are necessary to suggest norms for judicious exploitation. These aspects need intense and long-term study in India. In general, the percentage cover of live coral estimation is not the only criteria for the health of reefs but also the ratio of dead and live coverage. Presence or absence of indicator species may be an index of environmental stress or pressure on reefs. The taxonomically extended surveys of sessile organisms such as sponges, alcyonarians and polychaetes can give clue to the state of art environmental conditions. Assessment of heterotrophic macroinvertebrates such as sponges, barnacles, hydroides, tunicates, echinoderms etc. may yield clue to stress conditions due to pollution. Such studies are very important for management of coral reefs.

3.10

Strategies for Coral Reef Ecosystems in India

3.10.1 Analyzing the Short Comings in Coral Reef Conservation in India Recommendations • Understand the problems facing coral reefs by assembling information from within India and nearby countries. • Determine the true economic value of reefs so that rational decisions can be made on the cost of management. • Transfer that understanding via education to the principal users, the public and decision makers. • Focus management around the user to ensure compliance with and assistance in resource management. • Incorporate reefs into marine protected areas to buffer the reefs against outside damaging influences. • • Control damaging practices and monitor the effectiveness of control. Promote sustainable uses to realise the full economic potential of healthy reefs. • Monitor the effectiveness of management so that procedures can be adjusted to ensure long-term sustainability. 3.10.2 Understand The Coral Reef Problems Recommendations The coral reef areas in India should be determined using satellite and aerial images with ground truthing. Assistance may be needed from large agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Application Centre. • These data should be used to find out the status of the coral reefs and how they are changing. • National programmes to monitor the status of coral reefs should be implemented.

The knowledge base of scientists, tourists operators, SCUBA divers and local users should be combined to determine the status of reefs and how they have changed during living memory.

Central and State Government may convene national and local committees including user groups, local government authorities, tourism developers, scientists and Non governmental organizations (NGOs) to advise on sustainable management of coral reefs.

3.10.3 Determine the True Economic Value of Coral Reefs in India Recommendations • Direct ‘extractive’ values like fisheries, aquarium fish and other animals, ornamental products and sand production. • Potential ‘extractive’ values like pharmaceutical drugs and species developed for future Mariculture activities. • Direct ‘non-extractive’ uses such as tourism and educational and research values. • ‘Indirect use ‘ values such as the commercial species that migrate to other areas the physical barrier, role in protecting the shoreline, the value in extending exclusive economic zone. • As well as the less tangible ‘non use and aesthetic ‘ values of high biodiversity habitats for endangered species and roles as part of the global environment. • Determination of coral reef fisheries, how these are being exploited (catch per unit effort) and the dependence by local fishermen on reef fisheries. • Determination of other values of coral reefs and potential economic losses if these values are foregone through reef degradation. • Assessment of the current and potential future income from coral reef tourism and the contribution of health of reefs towards attracting tourists to India. 3.10.4 Coral Reef Conservation Education

Recommendations • Information on the nature and value of coral reefs should be provided to all users, students and public using appropriate methods. e.g. many fishermen will not read written material whereas videos and talking are effective. • Summaries of the status of coral reef resources and sustainable management methods should be prepared for decision makers and development agencies, donors and banks. 3.10.5 Focus Management of Coral Reef around the Stakeholder Recommendations • National and state governments of India should devolve sufficient responsibility for the management of coastal resources to local authorities at the village level. • Legislation for coastal reef resource management should include the involvement of the users especially fishermen. • Developers especially those involved in tourism should consult directly with local users on resource management and then employ local people to compensate for restrictions on resource use. 3.10.6 Incorporate More Coral Reefs in Marine Protected Areas Recommendations • Large areas of relatively undamaged marine habitat including good coral reefs should be designated as marine protected areas and management plans developed to involve all users. • Assistance for training, planning and management of MPAs should be requested from international donors, particularly to staff, local authorities with education officer and MPA Range officers. • Tourism operators should be involved in the management of MPA and be prepared to fund some of the management. 3.10.7 Control Managing Practices Recommendations Pollution

Emphasize the treatment of sewage at the source or divert them away from coral reef onto the land or as deep ocean outfalls.

New domestic and industrial development should be ‘encouraged’ to treat sewage as it is cheaper to install sewerage lines and systems during construction.

Tourism developments near coral reefs should have full secondary or tertiary treatment and adequate methods for removing garbage.

Guidelines should be provided to governments, villagers and developers on the range of appropriate methods for treating sewage at all scales.

Sedimentation • Government should request developers and farmers to minimize the amount of sediment that is lost into rivers and the ocean. Overfishing • Fishermen should be discouraged from using destructive methods (dynamite, cyanide, bleach, poisons) through education, local cooperative discussion and where possible be provided with other employment. • Anchor damage should be minimized either by encouraging anchoring on sandy areas, or with better designed anchors, or through the installation of permanent mooring buoys for tourist operators in Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. • Remote reefs require special protection through international treaties to control damaging practices that destroy parent fish stocks and poaching.

3.10.8 Promote Sustainable Uses Recommendations • Selective sustainable fishing and harvesting in all the coral reef areas in India. • • • Controlled harvesting or aquarium fish in all the coral reef areas of India. Mariculture of reef species for stock enhancement. Limited fish cage culture and rack culture of pearl shell edible oyster and algae. • Removal of the excess production of sand in coral reef areas especially Andaman and Nicobar Islands. • • Snorkeling and scuba diving and other tourism activities. Advice on sustainable methods of establishing tourism ventures should be given to developers, which may require government interventions to ensure that environment departments and universities are involved. • Reef users require information on sustainable harvesting practices and assistance to develop markets for those products. 3.10.9 Monitor the Effectiveness of Coral Reef Management in India Recommendations • A committee of experts by the National Coral Reef Committee should monitor all MPAs and other managed areas in India for the effectiveness of management particularly to assess whether the health of reefs is stable. • Inventories of all the coral fauna present in the region and the status of the coral reefs and the associated fauna are to be monitored on a long-term basis. − Increase the capacity of scientists to undertake studies on corals such as coral taxonomy, biophysical monitoring and database. − Reduce the risk for coral reef such as destructive fishing practices, siltation, industrial and domestic sewage and over fishing.

Developmental projects detrimental to coral reef should be implemented with caution.

Alternative employment to coastal fishermen should be provided to reduce the pressure on the coral reef where the coastal population is depending on the coral reef.

Increase the awareness among the local public and made as curriculum in the schools about the importance of coral reefs.

Protected areas should be managed properly with modern technology with the lessons learnt elsewhere.

Need for central policy decisions to recognise the essential uniqueness of each of the coral reef areas when creating policy.

Strengthen the network of coral reef information providers within India and develop the role of the ICRMN to act as the body to provide coordination and coherence for policy and programmes relating to coral reef resources, to provide better integration between government departments, institutions and local groups and to support the implementation of Management Action Plans;

Provide training and awareness raising at all levels to better appreciate the concepts of conservation and sustainable use of coral reef resources.

Artificial reefs should be allowed with more caution and only with EIA studies.

− −

More funds to be provided for intensive coral reef research in India Collaboration with International agencies on coral reefs should be encouraged for coral reef conservation.

NGO’s to be encouraged to educate the coastal population about the importance of coral reefs in India and their uses.

− −

Networking of all the stakeholders of coral reef should be made. Tourism in coral reef area should not be detrimental to the coral reef ecosystem and Eco-tourism should be encouraged.

Establish a separate coral reef research institute in India exclusively for coral reef studies.

Fig. 3.2 : Variation in Salinity

% %

Fig. 3.4 : Particle Size Distribution of Sediments (1-10 Sampling Stations)

Maximum Diversity Index 0.5 1 2 3 4 1.5 2.5 3.5 0

Name of island

Fig. 3.6 : Maximum Diversity Index values of Phytoplankton in 21 Island of Gulf of Mannar

Sh in gl Kr e us ad Pu ai Po lliva om sa l ar i M cha an n ol ip ut t M i an ol i M us al M ul li Va la i Ap Va pa lim un An ai N aip al ur la Pu tha liv nni in i U cha pp l u t li h Ka ann i ra ic Vi ha la lli ng uc ha Ka lli su w ar Va n

Maximum Diversity Index 0.5 1 2 3 4 1.5 2.5 3.5 0

Name of island

Fig. 3.7 : Maximum Diversity Index values of Zooplanktons in 21 Island of Gulf of Mannar

Sh in gl Kr e us ad Pu ai Po lliva om sa l ar ic ha M an n ol ip ut t M i an ol i M us al M ul li Va la i Ap Va pa lim un a An i N aip al ur la Pu tha liv nni in i U cha pp l ut li ha Ka nn i ra ic Vi ha la lli ng uc ha Ka lli su w ar Va n

Fig. 3.8 : Location of Corals in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay

Maximum diversity Index
0.5 1 2 3 1.5 2.5 0

Fig. 3.10 :
Name of island

Maximum Diversity Index values of Corals in 21 Island of Gulf of Mannar
Va n

Sh in g K ru le sa P d Po ulli ai om vas ar a l M ich an an ol ip ut M ti an o M li us al M ul li Va la Ta i la Po iri ov A ar p as p an a p Va at lim ti un a A na i N i pu al l r P u a th liv an in ni U ic h pp a ut lli K han ar n Vi aic i ha la ng l uc li h a K a s lli uw ar

Maximum Diversity Index 1.8 2 1.9 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6

Name of island

Fig. 3.15 : Maximum Diversity Index values of Seagrass in 21 Island of Gulf of Mannar

Sh in Kr gle us Pu ada P o lliv i om as ar al M icha an ol n ip ut M ti an ol M i us al M ul li Va la Ta i l ai Po ri ov ar Ap p as an a Va pat lim ti un An ai N aip al la ur Pu tha liv nn in i U ich pp al u t li h Ka an ra ni Vi i la cha ng l u c li ha Ka lli su w ar Va n

Maximum Diversity Index 0.5 1 2 3 1.5 2.5 0 Name of island
Kr Sh i

Fig. 3.16 : Maximum Diversity Index values of Mangroves in 21 Island of Gulf of Mannar

ng l us e Pu ada Po lliv i om as ar al M icha an ol n ip ut M ti an ol M i us al M ul li Va la Ta i la Po iri ov A ar p as pa an Va pat lim t i un An ai N aip al la ur Pu tha liv n n in i U ich pp al u t li h K a an ra n i Vi i la cha ng l uc li ha Ka lli su w ar Va n

3.92
Maximum Diversity Index 0.5 1 2 3 1.5 2.5 0
in gl e ai ad al n Sh Kr us Pu Po om ar ic ha ut ti ol i al li i ol ip M an M an M us M ul Va la ir i Ta la Po ov ar Ap pa as an pa tti Va lim un ai An ai p ur N al la th an Pu ni liv in ic ha U lli pp ut ha nn Ka i ra ic h Vi al la li ng uc ha lli Ka su w ar Va n lliv as

Name of island

Fig. 3.18 : Maximum Diversity Index values of Corals, Mangroves and Seagrass in 21 island of Gulf of Mannar
Coral Seagrass Mangrove

Fig. 3.1 : Data Locations

3.94 Fig. 3.3 : Variation in Salinity and Silicate

Man
Arthropods - Crutacea 368 Species

Avifauna - Aquatic

Fish 441 Species

Echin 264 S

Mammals 11 Species

Avifau

Bacteria and Funji

Arthropods

Mollusca 721 Species

Annellids - Polychata 75 Species

Coelenterat Coral –128 Gorgonids -

3.96

Fig. 3.5 : Trophic Relations of Marine Ecosystem in study area of Sethu Samudram Ship Canal Project

3.100 Fig. 3.9 : Coral Reef and Seagrass Areas around the Islands of Gulf of Mannar

3.102 Fig. 3.11 : Locations of Pearl Banks in the Gulf of Mannar 3.103

Fig. 3.12 : Chank Habitats in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay

3.104

Dugong dugong Ha

GULF OF MANNAR

Fig. 3.13 : Habitats of Sea Cow (Dugong-dugong) in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay

3.105 Fig. 3.14 : Habitats of Sea Weed, Sea Grass and Holothuria in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay 3.108

Mangroves

Fig. 3.17 : Locations of Mangroves in Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay

Table 3.2 Physico-Chemical Quality of Marine Water Location Sr. No. Parameter Sample 1 1. 2. Turbidity (NTU) 3.111 3. 4. 5. 6. Temperature (oC) Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface 32.8 32.2 2.8 3.2 8.0 8.0 51.4 52.2 33.4 34.7 33.2 Palk Bay 2 32.4 31.9 4.0 4.3 8.1 8.0 52.1 49.9 34.4 32.2 33.4 3 32.0 32.0 4.9 4.3 8.0 8.0 59.3 59.5 39.7 39.9 37.9 4 32.6 32.3 3.4 3.5 8.0 8.0 50.0 52.3 32.8 34.5 32.0 5 32.4 32.5 3.4 3.6 8.2 8.2 59.3 59.4 39.7 39.9 37.9 Gulf of Mannar 6 32.3 32.4 2.8 2.5 8.2 8.2 59.7 59.8 40.0 40.1 38.2 7 32.1 31.8 3.2 6.0 8.2 8.2 60.2 60.0 40.4 40.3 38.5

pH Conductivity (mS/cm) Salinity (o/oo) TDS (gm/L)

Bottom 7. DO (mg/L) Surface Bottom

33.7 5.4 5.1

31.4 5.6 4.6

38.1 4.5 4.4

33.4 4.8 4.9

38.1 4.1 4.2

38.3 3.6 4.1

38.4 4.2 4.2

Table 3.4 Sediment Quality Location Sr. No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 3.113 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. pH Moisture Ash Volatile Solids Total Organic Carbon (C) Total Phosphorus (P2O5) Total Kjeldhal Nitrogen (N) Chloride (C) Sulfate (SO4) Sodium (Na) Potassium (K) Iron (Fe) Manganese (Mn) Copper (Cu) Zinc (Zn) Parameter 1 7.6 71.46 27.72 0.82 0.4 BDL 0.14 1.25 0.68 2.88 0.66 3.04 0.27 0.002 0.009 Palk Bay 2 7.4 72.63 26.50 0.87 0.4 BDL 0.13 1.63 0.65 3.8 0.72 3.5 0.32 0.004 0.01 3 8.2 74.51 25.07 0.42 0.2 0.02 0.08 2.05 0.06 0.4 0.04 0.40 0.005 0.001 BDL 4 8.0 72.05 27.59 0.36 0.2 0.84 0.05 3.15 0.2 0.7 0.07 0.36 0.012 0.003 0.002 5 7.9 71.72 27.62 0.66 0.2 0.015 0.06 3.1 0.08 1.6 0.06 0.356 0.003 0.007 0.01 Gulf of Mannar 6 7.8 72.02 27.41 0.57 0.1 0.02 0.05 4.9 0.4 0.9 0.07 0.254 0.013 BDL BDL 7 8.2 76.62 21.91 1.47 0.13 BDL 0.09 4.25 0.18 1.44 0.08 0.528 0.012 0.002 0.004 0

Table 3.4 (Contd…) Location Sr. No. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 3.114 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. Parameter 1 Arsenic (As) Chromium (Cr) Lead (Pb) Nickel (Ni) Selenium (Se) Cadmium (Cd) Boron (B) Cobalt (Co) Calcium (Ca) Magnesium (Mg) Oil and Grease 0.033 0.007 0.004 0.004 0.005 0.001 0.023 0.001 5.675 1.86 0.07 Palk Bay 2 0.041 0.008 0.005 0.005 0.006 0.001 0.028 0.002 5.662 3.30 0.11 3 0.006 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.001 BDL 0.002 BDL 6.500 2.04 0.24 4 0.006 0.001 0.001 BDL 0.001 BDL 0.002 BDL 6.5 3.16 0.15 5 0.005 BDL 0.001 BDL 0.001 BDL 0.002 BDL 7.3 3.832 0.12 Gulf of Mannar 6 0.004 BDL 0.001 BDL 0.001 BDL 0.001 BDL 8.24 3.12 0.09 7 0.007 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.002 BDL 0.003 BDL 7.50 4.24 0.08

BDL : Below Detectable Limit All values are expressed in g/100 g dry wt. Except pH

Table 3.14

Enumeration and Diversity of Zooplankton

Sampling Station

Total Zooplankton (no. m-3) 1649 1531 1459 1177 972 1233 1370 787 1116 1273

Percent Organisms in Group Ctenophora 0.13 0.55 0.51 0.51 0.24 1.31 1.90 1.79 1.18 Cnidaria 0.73 1.31 1.23 0.85 2.06 1.22 0.58 1.27 1.34 1.18 Polychaeta 0.61 0.98 1.37 1.70 3.09 1.62 1.46 3.18 4.03 3.39 Cladocera 0.18 0.33 0.21 0.15 0.18 0.31 Copepoda 63.67 65.38 69.77 66.86 71.92 73.56 66.72 5.57 62.19 64.40 Decapoda 15.77 17.64 8.50 10.21 8.23 12.17 18.25 16.52 17.03 18.07 Pteropoda 0.73 0.65 0.55 0.85 1.03 0.65 0.73 2.54 0.45 0.24 Mollusca 0.91 0.52 0.69 0.51 0.82 0.81 0.22 0.64 1.34 1.96 Chaetognatha 1.82 2.61 1.37 1.27 1.03 2.03 2.19 2.54 0.72 0.79 Appen icular 0.12 0.25 0.51 0.41 0.36 0.51 0.18 0.08

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3.130

Table 3.18 Enumeration and Diversity of Macrobenthos
Sampling Station Total Macrobenthos Percent Organisms in Group Chlorophyceae 25.00 7.46 Phaeophyceae 4.55 Spermtophyta 20.45 Porifera 37.50 31.34 37.50 Alcyonacea 50.00 Scleranaeta 12.50 50.00 Polychaeta 80.00 Brachyara 13.04 Gastropoda 22.73 5.97 Biv vi 50.0 11.3 55. 86.9 20.0 25.3 12.

1 2 3

8 2 44 18 23 5 67 8

3.134

4 5 6 9 10

Note : Data is not available for 7 & 8 locations due to poor visibility

Table 3.1 Particulars of Sampling Locations along the Proposed Canal Alignment
Station Palk Bay 1 2 3 4 9o 27’ 14 ”N 9o 21’ 26 ”N 9o 13’ 42 ”N 9o 10’ 58 ”N 79o 27’ 00” E 79o 27’ 37” E 79o 28’ 57” E 79o 27’ 17” E 16 16 10 7 Latitude Longitude Depth (m)

Gulf of Mannar 5 6 7 9o 09’ 04 ”N 9o 08’ 43 ”N 9o 07’ 08”N 79O 26’ 16” E 79O 25’ 35” E 79O 19’ 07” E 3 7 14

8

9o 03’ 38 ”N

79O 11’ 30” E

23

Tuticorin Port Area 9 10 8o 45’ 44” N 8o 47’ 09” N 78O 17’ 52” E 78O 20’ 01” E 23 21

Table 3.3 Marine Water Quality (Inorganic, Nutrient and Heavy Metals)
Sr. No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Parameter Total Alkalinity (as CaCO3) Nitrate Nitrogen (as N) Chloride (as Cl) Total Phosphate (as P) Silicate (as SiO2) Heavy Metals 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Arsenic (as As) Selenium (as Se) Chromium (as Cr) Zinc (mg/L, Zn) Lead (as Pb) Cadmium (as Cd) Nickel (as Ni) Boron (as B) Manganese (as Mn) Iron (as Fe) Copper (as Cu) ND ND ND ND ND ND ND 2.96 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND 2.91 ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND 2.74 ND 0.03 ND 0.02 ND ND ND ND ND ND 2.70 ND 0.08 ND 0.13 ND ND ND ND ND ND 2.38 ND ND ND Location 2 104 0.87 20080 0.02 0.013 4 104 0.83 19580 0.01 0.008 6 104 0.83 19580 0.03 0.005 8 106 0.93 20580 0.02 0.004 10 106 0.78 20080 0.03 0.003

ND : Not Detectable All values are expressed as mg/L

Table 3.5 Gross Primary Productivity
Location Position Latitude Longitude Productivity mgC/m3/day

Palk Bay 1 2 3 4 9O 27’ 14” N 9O 21’ 26” N 9O 13’ 42” N 9O 10’ 58” N 79o 27’ 00” E 79o 27’ 37” E 79o 28’ 57” E 79o 27’ 17” E 269 240 154 148

Gulf of Mannar 5 6 7 8 11* 12* 13* 9o 09’ 04” N 9o 08’ 43” N 9o 07’ 08” N 9o 03’ 38” N 9o 14’ 04” N 9o 11’ 18” N 9o 11’ 03” N 79o 26’ 16” E 79o 25’ 35” E 79o 19’ 07” E 79o 11’ 30” E 79o 14’ 19” E 79o 12’ 36” E 79o 08’ 47” E 210 210 180 257 128 472 194

Tuticorin Port Area 9 10
*

9o 45’ 44” N 9o 47’ 09” N

79o 17’ 52” E 79o 20’ 01” E

267 126

Locations near Marine National Park

Table 3.6 Number of Species Recorded in the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve during Different Periods
No. of Species recorded during 1903-1986* Chlorophyceae Pheaphyceae Rodophyceae Cyanophyceae Sea grass Foraminifera Tintinida Sponges Coelenterata (non-coral) Corals Polyzoa Polychaeta Copepoda Cumacea Amphipoda Ostracoda Isopoda Lobster Prawns Leptostraca Schizopoda Mysidae Squillidae Anomura Brachyura Mollusca Chaetognatha Echiompdemata Hemichordata cephalochordata Urochordata Fishes Turtles Birds Mammals Totals Species 32 35 59 3 13 51(2) 12 275(31) 123 (48) 128 (42) 100(15) 75(22) 223(63) 10(9) 52 (28) 57(23) 18(9) 5 41(4) 1 1 1 25(2) 38(1) 172 (13) 731 (23) 264 (2) 1 (1) 6 (1) 59 (38) 580 5 61 11 3268 1993-1997*

Groups

27 21 6

3 24

95 75 17 116 2 2 79 581 6 6 1050

Figures in parenthesis indicate number of endemic species * Complied by CMFRI, Kochi from studies carried out by different authors (refer list of references)

# Based on survey undertaken by ZSI (Anonymous 1998)

Table 3.7 Status Report of Biota of Gulf of Mannar
Sr. No. Species Common Rare (C) Phylum : Protozoa Class : Forminifera 1. Trochammina (R) Endangered (End) Endemic (En) Commercially Threatened (CT) Scientific Collections (SC)

X

inflata
2. 3. 4.

Robulus limbosus Nonionia scapha Operculina gaimairdi

X X X

5. 6.

Bulimina elegans Bolivinia rhomboidalis

X X

7. 8.

Bolivinia robusta Bolivinia subrenlusts
X

X

9.

Streblus catesbyarus

X

10.

Poroeponides lateralis

X

11.

Cancris auriculus

X

Phylum : Porifera Class : Desmosponglae 12. Heteronema oracta 13. 14.

X X X

Spongta officinatis Dysidea fragilis

Sr. No. 15. 16.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R)

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Haliclona exigua Callyspongia fibrosa

X X

17. 18.

Callyspongia difusa Spirastrella coccinea

X X

19.

Spirastrella cuspidifera

X

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

Cliona carpenteri Cliona orientalis Cliona vastifica Ecionemia acervus Myriastra purpurea Paratettlla baca Dercitopsis ceylonica

X X X X X X X

27. 28.

Dercitopsis minor Pellona ditchela
X

X

Phylum : Coelenterata Class : Anthozoa Order : Scleractinla 29. Psammacora

X

contigua
30.

Pocillopora damicomis

X

Sr. No. 31. 32.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R) X X

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Pocillopora danae Acropora corymbosa

X

33. 34. 35.

Acropora Formosa Acropora nobills Acropora multicaulis

X X X

36. 37. 38. 39.

Acropora surculosa Acropora lnimilis Acropora crythraea Montipora granulose

X X X X

40. 41.

Montipora digitata Montipora divaricata

X X

42.

Montipora turgescens

X

43. 44. 45. 46. 47.

Montipora verrtilli Montipora foliosa Pavona decussata Coscinaraea monile Goniopora duofaciata
X

X X

X X

48.

Goniopora nigra

X

Sr. No. 49.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R)

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT) X

Scientific Collections (SC)

Porites mannarensis

50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

Porites solida Porites lutea Porites somaliensis Porites lichen Favia favus Favia valenctennesii
X X

X X X X X X

56. 57. 58. 59.

Favia pallida Favites abdiata Favites pentagona Goniastrea retiformis

X X X X

60.

Goniastrea pactinata

X

61. 62.

Platygyra lamellina Leptastrea transvera

X X

63.

Echinopora lamellose

X

64. 65. 66.

Galaxea fascicularis Symphyllia recta Turbinaria peltata
X

X X X

Sr. No.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R) X

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Class : Hydrozoa
67.

Halammohydra octopodides

Phylum : Annelida Class : Polychaeta 68. Aphrogenia alba 69. 70. 71. 72. 73.

X

Photogenia indica Harmothoe minuta Iphione muricata Chloeia rosea Eurythoe complanata
X X X X

74. 75.

Syllis (Syllis) gracilis Ceratonereis mirabilis

X X

76. 77. 78. 79.

Perinereis cultrifera Perinereis nuntia Eunice antennata Eunice (Palolo) siciliensis

X X X X

80. 81.

Marphysa corallina Onuphis (Nothria) conchylega
X

82.

Malacoceros indicus

X

Sr. No. 83.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R) X

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Armandial lanceolata

84.

Axiothella obockensis

X

85.

Nicolea gracilibranchis

X

86.

Hypsicomus phaeotaenia
Class : Sipunculida

X

87.

Phascolosoma nigrescens

X

88.

Phascolosoma scolops

X

89.

Phascolosoma stephensoni
Class : Echiura

X

90.

Thalassema diaphanes

X

Phylum : Platyhelminthes Class : Turbellaria 91. Acanthomacrostom

X

um gerlachi
92.

Octoplana subterranean

X

Phylum : Nematoda Class : Aphasmidea 93. Anticoma

X

Sr. No.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R)

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

acuminata
94.

Halalaimus supercirrhatus

X

95.

Oncholaimus brachycerus

X

96.

Chromadora vulgaris

X

97.

Halichoanolaimus robustus

X

98. 99.

Latronema orcimum Metachromadora clavata

X X

100.

Desmodora brevicclis

X

101.

Camacolaimus prytherchi

X

Phylum : Arthropoda Class : Crustacea 102. Penaetus

X

semisulcatus
103. 104. 105.

Penaeus indicus Alpheus frontalis Alpheus macrocelas

X X X

106.

Pontophilus candidus

X

Sr. No. 107. 108.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R) X

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Pontophilus incisus Corallicaris gramines

X

109.

Leptocarpus potamuscus

X

110.

Perclimenes (Harpilius) agag

X

111.

Perclimenes (Perclimenes) digitalis

X

112.

Perclimenes (Perclimenes) impar
Anomura

X

113.

Clibanarius longitarus

X

114.

Clibanarius merguiensis

X

115.

Diogenes investigators

X

116.

Pagurus megistos

X

Brachyuran Crabs 117. Dromia dehaani 118.

X X

Portunus (Portunus) pelagicus

119.

Portunus (Portunus)

X

Sr. No.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R)

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

sanguinolentus
120. 121. 122. 123.

Scylla serrata Thalamita crenata Thalamita prymna Charybdis (Charybdis) anmulata

X X X X

124.

Charybdis (Charybdis) anisodon

X

125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133.

Trapezia areolata Trapezia cymodoce Trapezia ferruginea Halimede ochtodes Atergatis floridus Etisus laevimarus Chlorodiella nigra Cymo andreossyi Pseudoliomera speciosa
X X X

X X X

X

X X

134. 135. 136. 137.

Composcia retusa Phalangipus hystrix Schizophrys aspera Doclea canalifera

X X X X

Sr. No. 138. 139. 140. 141. 142. 143.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R)

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Myra fugax Philyra syndactyla Leucosia anatum Matuta lunaris Matuta miersi Grapsus albolineatus

X X X X X X

144.

Percnon planissimum

X

Phylum : Mollusca Class : Crustacea Order : Stomatopoda 145. Gonadactylus

X

chiragra
146.

Gonadactylus falcatus

X

147.

Heterosquilla jonest

X

Brachyuran Crabs 148. Cellana radiata 149. 150. 151. 152. 153. 154. 155.

X X X X X X X X

Trochus radiatus Angaria plicata Turbo intercostalis Lambis lambis Cypraea moneta Cypraea tigiris Fucus ficus

Sr. No. 156.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R)

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Chicoreus virgeneus

X

157. 158. 159.

Chicoreus ramosus Babylonia spirata Hemifusus pugilimus

X X X

160. 161. 162. Class 163. 164. 165. 166. 167. 168. 169. 170. 171. 172. 173. Class 174. 175.

Xancus pyrum Conus araneosus Conus fugilimus
: Bivalvia

X X X

Arca inaequivalis Arca fusa Modiolus sp. Lithophaga nigra Lithophaga gracilis Pernna viridis Pinna vexillum Pinna bicolor Placenta placenta Ostrea forskalii Cardium assimile
: Cephalopoda

X X

X X X X X X X X

Sepia aculeate Sepia pharaonis

X X

Sr. No. 176. 177. 178. 179. 180.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R) X

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT)

Scientific Collections (SC)

Sepia kobiensis Sepia brevimana Logigo duvauceli Octopus rugosus Octopus macropus
X X X

X

Phylum : Echinodermata Class : Asteroidea 181. Culcita

X

novaeguineae
182.

Pentaceraster regubus

X

X

183.

Dactylosaster cylindericus

X

184.

Disasterinaleptalac antha

X

Class 185.

: Ophiuroidea

Ophiomyza australis

X

186. 187.

Ophiactis savgnyi Ophiothrix (Keystonea) nereidina

X X

188.

Ophiocoma erinaceus

X

Class 189.

: Echinoidea

Diadema savignyi

X

Sr. No. 190.

Species

Common Rare (C) (R)

Endangered (End)

Endemic (En)

Commercially Threatened (CT) X

Scientific Collections (SC)

Echinothrix diadema

191.

Echinometra mathaei

X

Class 192.

: Holothuroidea

Holothuria (Halodeima) atra

X

193.

Holothuria (Haloteima) edulis

X

194.

H. (Lessonothuria) pardalis

X

195.

Holothuria (Metriatyla) scabra

X

X

196.

Holothuria (Thymiosycia) hilla

X

Phylum : Hemichordara Class : Enteropneusta 197. Ptychodera flauva

X

Table 3.8 Distribution of Phytoplankton in Gulf of Mannar (Number of Species Recorded During October ’98, August ’99) Sr. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Island Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Appa Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van Bacillario Phyceae 16 19 21 22 22 13 22 21 11 26 21 17 28 21 19 18 18 30 27 Dino Phyceae 3 3 2 2 4 1 2 3 3 2 1 1 4 4 5 3 2 4 3 Cyano Phyceae 0 1 1 2 0 0 2 0 1 1 1 0 2 0 0 2 0 2 1 Chloro Phyceae 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 Total 20 24 24 26 26 15 26 24 15 31 23 18 35 25 24 23 20 36 32

Source : Resources information system for Gulf of Mannar (India), GOI, DOD, Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001

Table 3.9 Maximum Diversity Index Values of Phytoplankton in 21 Islands of Gulf of Mannar
Sr. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Name of island Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Appa Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van Maximum diversity index 2.996 3.178 3.178 3.258 3.258 2.708 3.258 3.178 2.708 3.434 3.135 2.89 3.555 3.218 3.178 3.135 2.996 3.583 3.465

Formula : Maximum Diversity Index (MD) = log2 (TT) Where TT is total taxa Source: Evaluation of Fourteen Trophic State Indices for Phytoplankton of Indian Lakes and Reservoirs Environmental Pollution (Series A) 27 : 143-153 Editor : Sullivan P.I and Carpenter S.R (1982) The data of Poovaransapatti and Talairi island is not available

Table 3.10 Enumeration and Diversity of Phytoplankton
Total Phytoplankton (No.m3) 801300 121100 35400 120200 144300 130670 90320 220 250 400 Percent organisms in group Cyanophyceae 99.84 99.09 98.87 99.83 99.79 99.87 99.64 Bacillariophyceae 0.07 0.50 0.85 0.14 0.21 0.10 0.18 59.10 40.00 37.50 Dinophyceae 0.09 0.41 0.28 0.03 0.03 0.18 40.90 60.00 62.50 Shannon Wiener Diversity Index 0.03 0.14 0.12 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.40 2.59 2.28 2.13

Location

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Table 3.11 List of Phytoplankton Recorded
Sr. No. Station Name of Alga Cyanophyceae 1. Trichodesmium Theibautii Bacillariophyceae 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Rhizosolenia sp. Coscinodiscus sp. Biddulphia sp. Pleurosigma sp. Bacteriastrum hyalinum Gunieardia sp. Thallasiothrix sp. Chaetoceros sp. Dianophyceae 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Peridinium sp. Ceratium sp. Dianophysis caudata Diplosalis lenticulata Triceracium sp. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

7. 8. 9.

+ -

+ -

+ +

+ +

-

+

+ -

+ -

+ -

+ -

Table 3.12 Distribution of Zooplankton in Gulf of Mannar (Number of Species Recorded During October ’98, August ’99)
Sr. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Island Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Appa Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van Granuloret Iculosa 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Hydrozoa 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Polyhymeno phora 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 Polychaeta 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 Crus- Sagi- Thalitacea ttoidea acea 17 18 17 24 12 19 19 14 15 21 18 18 17 19 18 20 18 24 31 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Total 24 21 19 28 17 22 23 16 19 25 19 19 20 22 22 22 22 26 36

Source : Resources information system for Gulf of Mannar (India), GOI, DOD, Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001

Table 3.13 Shannon Weaver Diversity Indice of Zooplankton Recorded at various Coastal Waters in India
Area Bombay High Bombay Bassein Heera ratna Tapti Surat Jamnagar Sursanyam Kaveri basin Godavari basin Manglore Gandhar Gopalpur kavaratti Agatti Kolaba Worli Kashid Bay Muttukadu (near Chennai) Palk Bay (present study) Gulf of Mannar (present study) Year 1989 1989 1989 1989 1997 1992 1989 1989 1989 1988 1991 1996 1997 1997 1991 1991 1991 1995 1998 1998 Diversity indices 0.5-4.04 1.21-3.93 0.72-3.89 2.23-3.47 1.00-2.55 0.48-2.80 1.50-2.04 1.00-3.72 1.69-3.42 1.07-1.45 0.70-2.16 1.8-3.4 0.97-3.26 1.38-3.74 1.00-3.09 0.92-3.25 0.95-2.76 1.80-3.08 2.94-4.24 2.36-3.68

Source : NEERI, Nagpur and CMFRI, Kochi

Table 3.15 List of Zoolplankton at Different Locations
Sr. No. 1. 2. 3. Name Cnidaria Medusae Ctenophora Beroe sp. Chaetognatha Unidentified Polychaeta 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. Polychaete larvae Pteropoda Unitentified Mollusca Molluscan larvae Cladocera Evadne sp. Penilia sp. Copepoda Acartia sp. Tortanus sp. Calanopia sp. Centropages sp. Pontella sp. Paracalanus sp. Canthocalanus sp. Eucalanus sp. Metis sp. Oithona sp. Decapoda Lucifer sp. Decapod larvae Appendicularia Oikopleura sp. Pisces Fish eggs and larvae Others + + + + + + + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + +

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

+ +

+ + +

+ + +

+ + +

+ + +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + -

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + -

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

-

+ +

-

+ +

+ +

+ + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + -

+ + + + + + + + +

+ +

+ +

+ +

+ +

+ +

+

+

+

+

+

Table 3.16 Maximum diversity index values of Zooplankton in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar Sr. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Name of island Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Appa Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van Maximum diversity index 3.178 3.044 2.944 3.332 2.833 3.09 3.135 2.772 2.944 3.218 2.944 2.944 2.995 3.091 3.091 2.3026 3.091 3.258 3.583

Formula : Maximum Diversity Index (MD) = log2 (TT) Where TT is total taxa Source : Evaluation of Fourteen Trophic State Indices for Phytoplankton of Indian Lakes and Reservoirs Environmental Pollution (Series A) 27 : 143-153 Editor : Sullivan P.I and Carpenter S.R (1982) The data of Poovaransapatti and Talairi island is not available

Table 3.17 Distribution of Benthic Organisms in Gulf of Mannar
Sr. No.

Island
Platyhelminthes Echinodermata Hemichordata 1 0 Arthropoda

Nemotoda

Sipuncula

Conidaria

Protozoa

Mollusca

Annelida

Porifera

Echiura

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Talairi Appa Poovarasanpatti Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van

7 10 5 4 7 7 10 -

5 6 3 5 8 11 7 1 1 1 1 1 -

14 19 16 13 13 26 30 18 11 15 11 11 12 22 23 7 17 26 9 15 15

13 12 8 15 12 16 18 1 1 -

1 1 -

2 3 1 3 2 3 3 -

2 1 1 1 1 2 2 -

8 7 4 8 9 8 8 -

25 26 14 21 28 31 37 7 6 8 10 2 7 9 8 1 2 2 2 1

16 18 6 11 19 21 26 4 3 3 4 5 4 6 3 3 1 2 1

4 8 5 1 7 13 11 1 3 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 1

111 63 81 106 139 153 29 21 30 26 14 27 39 39 10 24 30 13 22 18

Source : Resources Information System for Gulf of Mannar (India), GOI, DOD and Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001

Total 96

Table 3.19 List of Macrobenthos Recorded
Sr. No. Name Chlorophyceae 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Halimeda sp. Caulerpa sp. Ulva sp. Enteromorpha sp. Codium sp. Phaeophyceae 6. 7. 8. 9. Padina sp. Hydroclathus sp. Sargassum sp. Turbinaria sp. Rhodophyceae 10. 11. 12. 13. Galidiella sp. Gracillaria sp. Porolithon sp. Lithothamnion sp. Spermatophyta 14. 15. Phakellia sp. Euspongia sp. Porifera 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. Phakellia sp. Euspongia sp. Phyllospongia sp. Acarnus sp. Acathella sp. Clathria sp. Hiricinia sp. Spongilla sp. Raspailia sp. Petrosia sp. + + + + + + + + + + + + + 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10

Table 3.19 (Contd…) Sr. No. Name Alcyonaria 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. Juncella sp. Alcyonium sp. Alcyonid sp. Antipathes sp. Sclcrophytum sp. Sarcophytum sp. Scirpearia sp. Verucella sp. Virgularia sp. Acanthogorgia sp. Scleractinia 36. 37. Solitary coral Fungia sp. Hydroida 38. Halicornaria insignis Polychaeta 39. 40. Eunice sp. Nereid Brachyura 41. Uca sp. Anomura 42. Hermitcrab Gastropoda 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. Xancus sp. Lambis lambis Oliva sp. Conus sp. Murex sp. Terebra sp. Thais sp. Umbonium sp. Siliqua radiata + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10

Table 3.19 (Contd…) Sr. No. Name Bivalvia 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. Pecten sp. Pinna sp. Pteria sp. Arca sp. Cardium sp. Donax sp. Solen sp. Tellina sp. Pinctada sp. Sunnetta sp. Scaphopoda 62. Dentalium sp. Echinodermata 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. Clypeaster sp. Astropecten sp. Salmacis sp. Sticopus sp. Ophiuroid Hologhuria atra H. Scabra Protoreaster lincki Pentaceros lincki Luidia maculata Pentacta fucata Urochardata 74. 75. 76. 77. Rhodocynthia sp. Solitary ascidian Colonial ascidian Polycarpa sp. Pisces 78. Remora sp. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10

Table 3.20 Density and Biomass of Meiofauna in Sediment Samples
Station 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Number 32 44 111 110 98 120 93 28 118 115 mg (wet weight) 4.70 6.47 16.32 16.17 14.40 17.64 13.66 4.12 17.34 16.90

Values are expressed per 100 cm2 area

Table 3.21 Distribution Pattern of Corals, Live Corals (Percentage) and Seagrases
Sr. No. Name of Island Area (ha) Corals distribution (sq.km.) Live Corals (%) Sea grass distribution (sq.km.)

Mandapam Group 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal & Poomarichan Manoli & Manoliputti Musal 12.69 65.80 9.95 & 16.58 25.90 & 2.34 129.04 2.0 1.5 4.0 15.0 18.0 46 33 14 35 522 0.21 3.0 5.0 5.0 9.5

Keezhakarai Group
6. 7. 8. 9. Mulli Valai & Talairi Appa Poovarasanpatti & Valimunai 10.20 10.15 & 75.15 28.63 0.25 & 6.75 11.00 7.0 14.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 25 16 2 50 37 2.0 8.0 8.0 11.5 14.0

10. Anaipur Vember Group 11. Nallathanni 12. Pulivinichalli 13. Upputhanni Tuticorin Group 14. Kasuwar 15. Karaichalli 16. Vilanguchalli 17. Van

110.00 6.12 29.94

2.0 7.0 3.0

38 38 26

5.0 1.5 2.5

19.50 16.46 0.95 16.00

6.0 0.3 1.0 2.5

5 4 8 7

3.0 1.0 1.5 5.0

Source : Resources Information System for Gulf of Mannar (India), GOI, DOD and Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001

Table 3.22 Maximum diversity index values of Corals in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar
Sr. No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Formula : Source :

Name of islands Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Talairi Appa Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van

Maximum diversity index 2.48 2.56 2.39 2.48 2.48 2.56 2.48 2.3 1.79 2.07 0.69 1.61 1.79 1.79 1.61 1.94 1.38 0 1.79 1.79

Maximum Diversity Index (MD) = log2 (TT) Where TT is total taxa Evaluation of Fourteen Trophic State Indices for Phytoplankton of Indian Lakes and Reservoirs Environmental Pollution (Series A) 27 : 143-153

Editor :

Sullivan P.I and Carpenter S.R (1982)

Table 3.23 List of Fishlanding Centres within Sethusamudram Ship Canal Zone
Palk Bay Point Calimere Muthupet Adiramapattinam Karayur Street Sunnambukkarar Street Eripurakarai Kollakadu Pudupattinam Mallipallinam Chinnamanai Manova Colony Pillaiyar Thidd Sethubavachatram Kalumankuda Othaiveedu Karankuda Sambaipattinam Adamcathevan Senthalaipattinam Mantadipattinam Puthur Somanathanpattinam Vallabanpattinam Vadakur Kattumavadi Pradabiramanpattinam Krishnajiramanpattinam Thulasipattinam Thulasipattinam – South Ammapattinam Pudukudi – North Pudukudi – South Kottaipattinam Jegathipattinam Embavayal Palakudi Kumarappan Vayal Gopalpattinam Pudur Arsantarai Pudukuda Sundarapandiyanpattinam Theerthanthanam 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. Pasipattinam Damodarapattinam Naraneiyandal Valasapattinam Purakkudi Purakkudi Nambuthalai Soliyakudi Pudupattinam Mullimunai Karankadu Morepannal Thiruppalaikudi Devipattinam Mudiveerampattinam Pazhaneelavalasai Puduvalasai Pannaikulam Alagankulam Athankarai Thoppuvalasai Dhangavalasai Alagathanvalasai Eiyerumeeli Pirrappanvalasai Pillaimadam Munaikkadu Mandapam – Palk Bay Pamban light house Akkalmadam Nallupanai Thangachimadam Villundy Pillaikulam Vadakadu Narikkzhli Oolaiyadipallam Oolaikuda Changumaal Kariyur Cherankottai Kothandaramarkovil Moontayiruppuchatram Dhanushkodi

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

Table 3.23 (Contd…) Gulf of Mannar Oothaiputti Paradi Thavukadu Otthathalai Rameswarampudu Road Naduthurai Kadarpachapadu Punkammapadu Kundukaal point Chinnappaliam Therkuvadi Thonithurai Vedalai Seeniyappadharga Pudumadam Thalaithoppu Muthupettai Periyapattinam Kalimankundu Sethukkarai

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

Keelakkarai Sennaevadi Vallinokkam Mundal Mariyur Oppillan Mukaiyur Narippaiyur Rochemaanagar Vembar Keelavaipar Sippikulam Pattinamarudur Taruvaikulam Vellapatti Alangarathattu Tuticorin-North Tuticorin-Fishing Harbour Titocorin- South Tuticorin Harbour Point

Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998)

Table 3.24 Shannon Weaver Diversity Index (H’ value) for the Ornamental Fishes Recorded Around each Island in the Gulf of Mannar
Sr. Island No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Van Kasuwar Vilanguchalli Karaichalli Upputhanni Pulivinichalli Nallathanni Anaipur Valimunai Poovarasanpatti Appa Talairi Valai Mulli Musal Manoli Manoliputti Poomarichan Pullivasal Krusadai Shingle Source : Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001 Species Richness/ Density 1.96/10 sq.m. 1.76/10 sq.m 0.92/10 sq.m 2.80/10 sq.m 2.00/10 sq.m 2.52/10 sq.m. 3.24/10 sq.m. 2.52/10 sq.m. 2.40/10 sq.m. 0.88/10 sq.m. 2.68/10 sq.m. 2.36/10 sq.m. 2.36/10 sq.m. 2.36/10 sq.m. 2.64/10 sq.m. 2.64/10 sq.m. 2.16/10 sq.m. 1.52/10 sq.m. 0.60/10 sq.m. 1.24/10 sq.m. 2.00/10 sq.m. H’ value 2.46 2.47 1.35 2.34 2.47 2.78 2.54 2.92 3.40 1.09 2.72 2.27 2.39 2.29 2.78 2.56 2.60 1.46 0.76 1.24 2.81 Families Observed 21 22 23 21 22 22 22 21 20 12 23 20 18 19 23 23 22 19 10 17 20 Species Observed 49 44 11 70 50 63 81 63 60 22 67 5 5 59 66 66 54 38 15 31 50

Resources Information System for Gulf of Mannar (India), GOI, DOD,

Table 3.25 Commercially Important Species Contributing to Fishery in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay
Silver belles : Leioganthus bindus Leioganthus dussumeiri Leioganthus jonesi Leioganthus brevirostris Leioganthus berbis Leioganthus equulus Gazza minuta Gazza achlamya Secutor insidiator Secutor ruconius Sardines : Sardinells fimbriata Sardinells gibbosa Sardinells albella Sardinells sirm Mackerel : Rastrelliger kanagurta Tunas : Auxis thazard Euthynnus affinis Sarda orientalis Thunnus tonggol Seerfishes : Scomberomorus commerson Scomberomorus guttatus Perches : Lenthrinus nebulosus Siganus canaliculatus Lutjanus spp. Epinephelus spp. Plectorhynchus spp. Diagramma spp. Upeneus spp. Plotosus spp. Psammoperca waigiensis Theropon spp. Serraus spp. Chaetodon spp. Acanthurus spp. Whitebaits : Stolephorus indicus Stolephorus batabiensis Stolephorus devisi
Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998)

7

Rays : Dasyatis bleekeri Dasyatis uamak Dasyatis sephen Rhinotera javanica Amphiotistius imbricatus Amphiotistius kuhni Aetobatus narinari Aetobatus flagellum Gymura poecilura Carangids : Seleroides leptolepis Caranx ignobilis Atule mate Carangoides malabaricus Carangoides sexfasciatus Prawns : Penulirus ornatus Lobsters : Panulirus ornatus Panulirus homarus Panulirus versioclor Thenus orientalis Sharks Carcharhinus sorrah Rhizoprionodon actus Scoliodon laticaudus Loxodon macrorhinus Sclaenids : Otolithes rubber Johnius maculates Johnius dussumieri Johnieops aneus Protonibea diacanthus Threadfin Breams : Nemipterus delagoae Nemipterus japonicus Goatfishes : Parupeneus indicus Parupeneus cinnabarius Upeneus sulphures Upeneus vittatus Upeneus sundaicus

Table 3.26 Major Fishing Gears used in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay Gear
Shoreseines (Kara valai type) Types of Fishes Operated with the help of thony (palnkbuilt Tuticorin type) fitted with outboard engine, targeting the small pelagics Operated with the help of vaththai )plankbuilt Tuticorin type) non-motorized boat, targeting mainly the shrimps anf the pelagics Operated with vallom (plank-built Tuticorin type boat with inboard engine) and fiberglass boat with outboard engine

Shoreseines (Ola valai0

-

Boatseine

-

Gillnets Chalavalai or koolabalai Vala valai or podivalai Paravalai Thirukkaivalai Namduvalai Chanku madi Paruvalai Hooks & lines Longlines Trawl lines Trawlers Kalamkatti valai Perches, catfishes, sharks etc. Seerfishes, tunas, sharks, carangids etc. Demersals Operated utilizing the tides, smaller inshore fishes prevented escaping with recording tide Reef fishes, lobsters Macro algae, holothurians Perches, oceanic tuna Raya Crabs, lobsters, Drepane spp. etc. Mainly small pelagics Mainly small pelagics

Traps Handpicking
Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998)

-

Table 3.27 Marine Fish landings in the Gulf of Mannar during 1992-96 (In Tonnes)
Year 1992 PELAGIC DEMERAL CRUSTACEANS MOLLUSCS TOTAL 30826 17256 2546 4697 55325 1993 1994 1995 1996 58759 33844 4265 6028 Average (1992-96) 42691 27364 4471 3985 78511 5 of Total (Average) 54.38 34.85 5069 5.08 100

Name of Group

30770 35872 57226 25756 30760 29107 2887 1627 7878 3699 4777 3871

61141 78210 94981 102897
44600 tonnes 42700 tonnes 35200 tonnes 37900 tonnes 800 tonnes 20% 14 tonnes 0.683 tonnes 14 tonnes 2.24 tonnes

Max. sustainable yield for Pelagic (A) Current production Max. sustainable yield for Demersal (B-D) Current production Exploitation in excess of sustainable yield GOM production in Tamil Nadu Production rate - per sq. km Production rate - per fishermen/yr Production rate - per sq. km Production rate - per active fishermen/yr Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998)

Table 3.28 Composition of Different Groups in Marine Fish Landings in the Gulf of Mannar (Catch in Tonnes)
Name of Fish ELASMOBRANCHS Sharks Skates Rays EELS CATFISHES CLUPEIDS Wolf herring Oil Sardine Other Saridnes Other Shads Stolephorus Thryssa Other Clupeids BOMBAY DUCK LIZARD FISHES HALF BEAKS] & FULL BEAKS] FLYING FISHES PERCHES Rock code Shappers Pig-face breams Threadfin breams Other Perches GOATFISHERS THREADFINS CROAKERS RIBBON FISHES CARANGIDS Horse Mackerel Scads Leather-jackets Other Carangids SILVERVELLIES BIG-JAWED JUMPER 0 2 115 3178 3776 140 0 4 61 2827 7228 81 25 1 141 4098 11024 44 16 39 443 4556 6548 325 91 74 552 4131 42354 64 656 467 2291 1443 984 1238 101 1225 1383 1264 649 4393 1540 1641 1085 44 949 561 1108 677 5184 1955 1439 1103 286 1736 91 779 636 4432 2571 3204 1097 152 1951 26 659 491 6266 2165 2707 732 42 2133 312 810 7 11680 109 2464 1180 1724 0 704 366 8 1245 26 14383 97 1042 1495 1297 17 1461 342 2 771 0 15124 383 1699 2473 3615 0 1288 343 1 590 1288 29052 641 1601 2337 2209 7 2100 452 2 1014 1419 31059 487 2225 1812 2941 0 1527 824 7 1855 194 1960 0 411 1401 61 3200 1 575 992 10 2399 1 180 929 62 2989 5 313 600 191 2509 43 553 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

Table 3.28 (Contd…) Name of Fish POMFRETS Black pomfret Silver pomfret MACKERELS India makerel Other mackerel SEER FISHES S. commersoni S. guttatus S. lineolatus Acanthocybium spp. TUNNIES E. affinis Auxis spp. K. pelamis Other tunnies BILL FSIHES BARRACUDAS MULLETS FLAT FISHES Halibut Flounders Soles CRUSTACEANS Penaeid prawns Non-penaeid prawns Lobsters Crabs Stomatopods MOLLUSCS Bivalves Gastopods Cephalopods MISCELLANEOUS TOTAL
Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998)

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

15 43 0 213 0 774 33 13 2 1376 279 3 16 137 1142 11 40 0 49 1562 6 252 726 0 10 13 4674 3151 55325

2 27 3 1145 0 1052 16 11 0 482 11 4 6 148 1666 14 259 0 23 1558 157 257 914 0 1 18 1606 2838 61141

54 85 0 556 0 1209 75 19 0 511 62 7 15 78 1487 105 130 17 27 4278 2347 309 944 0 2 137 3560 3959 78210

3 134 0 4620 3 2174 157 18 0 285 52 1 20 34 2467 40 95 0 46 3034 643 191 891 18 28 109 3734 4417 94981

21 73 0 3711 0 1797 3 13 0 582 27 0 19 135 2763 335 5 0 112 2529 108 132 1017 479 0 261 5766 2812 102897

Table 3.29 Composition of Trawl Catches in the Gulf of Mannar Types of Fishes
Elasmobranches a. Sharks b. Rays Catfishes Clupeids a. Wolf herring b. Oil sardine c. Other sardines d. Hilsa shad e. Other shads f. Anchovies Colilia Stolephorus Thryssa Other clupeids Rock cods Pig-face breams Threadfin breams Other perches Snappers Goatfishes Threadfins Croakers Ribbon fishes Caraginds a. Leather jackets b. Other carangids Silver bellies Big jawed jumper Pomfrets a. Black pomfret b. Silver pomfret c. Chinese pomfret Indian mackerel Seerfishes Barracuda Mullets Flatfishes a. Soles Crustaceans a. Penaeid prawns b. Non-penaeid prawns c. Crabs d. Stomatopods Cephalopoda Miscellaneous Total Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998) Percent

0.002 7.717 0.959 0.021 0.059 1.321 0.375 0.375 0.004 0.578 7.594 0.463 0.031 0.036 0.033 2.035 0.002 1.097 0.159 5.630 0.008 3.371 0.004 0.496 38.331 0.010 0.010 0.073 0.002 0.025 0.396 0.241 0.017 0.438 11.913 0.004 3.373 0.433 0.611 12.115 100.00

Table 3.30 Composition of the Trawl Catches at Pamban, Rameswaram and Tuticorin
Component Silver bellies Penaeid prawns Thryssa Rays Carangids Croaders Crabs Perches Sardines Goatfishes Stolephorus Catfishes Seerfishes Others
Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998)

Pamban and Rameswaram (%) 44.0 12.0 0.1 12.0 1.0 7.0 5.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 0.02 1.5 0.0 11.38

Tuticorin 28.0 12.0 21.0 0.1 10.0 3.0 0.01 2.0 0.3 0.0 2.0 0.02 1.0 20.57

Table 3.31 Pearl Oyster Paars in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay
Group Inner Pamban group Pamban Periya paar group Musal Tivu group Keelakkarai group Paars Pamban karai Pamban velangu Pamban periya paar Musal tivu paar Cholava karai paar Vallai malai karai paar Vallai malai velagu paar Anna paar Valinukam paar Valinukam thundu paar Nalla tanni tivu paar Uppu tanni tivu paar Vemabar karai paar Kumulam paar Vembar periya paar Vaipar periyar paar Devi paar Parnanthu paar Paduthamarikan paar Paduthanmarikan paar Cruxian paar Tuticorin kuda paar Cruxian thundu paar Vantivu arupagam paar Nagarai paar Uttipaar Petha paar Uduruvi paar Kilathi paar Athuvai aurpagam paar Patharai paar Attonbotu paar Pasi paar Tholayiram paar Koothadiyar paar Thundu paar Kanna tivu arupagam paar

I II III IV

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37.

V

Valinokkam group

VI

Inner Vemba group

VII VIII IX

Outer Vembar group Outer Vaipar group Inner Vaipar group

X

Cruxian group

XI

Utti paar group

XII XIII XIV

Pasi paar group Tholayiram paar group Kanna tivu group

Source : CMFRI, Kochi (1998)

Table 3.32 Distribution of Seagrass in the Islands of Gulf of Mannar
Sr. No. Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Nallathanni Karaichalli Valimunai Kasuwar

Poovarasanpatti

Manoliputti

Pullivasal

Krusadai

Species
Van

Poomarichan

Vilanguchalli

Anaipar

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Cymodocea serrulata Cymodocea rotundata Syringodium isoetifolium Halodule uninervis

+ + + +

+ + + + + + +

+ + + + + + +

+

+ +

+ + + + + + +

+ + + + + + +

+

+

+

+ +

+ + + + + + +

+ + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + +

+ + + + +

+

+

+

+ +

Halodule ovalis + Halophila ovata Thalassia hemprichii Enhalus acoroides Halophila stipulacea Halophila decipiens Halophila beccarii Halodule pinifolia + + + + + + + +
Source : DOD,

+ + +

+ + +

+ + +

+ + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

+ + + +

Resources Information System for Gulf of Mannar (India), GOI, Integrated

Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001

Shingle

Manoli

Talairi

Musal

Appa

Valai

Mulli

+ + + + + + +

+ + + +

Table 3.33 Maximum diversity index values of Seagrass in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar Sr. No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Formula : Source:

Name of island Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Talairi Appa Poovarasanpatti Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van

Maximum diversity index 2.39 2.48 2.48 2.48 2.48 2.48 2.48 2.39 2.39 2.39 2.19 2.19 2.19 2.39 2.39 2.39 2.3 2.39 2.39 2.07 2.19

Editor :

Maximum Diversity Index (MD) = log2 (TT) Where TT is total taxa Evaluation of Fourteen Trophic State Indices for Phytoplankton of Indian Lakes and Reservoirs Environmental Pollution (Series A) 27 : 143-153 Sullivan P.I and Carpenter S.R (1982)

Table 3.34 Maximum diversity index values of Mangroves in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar Sr. No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Formula : Source:

Name of island Shingle Krusadai Pullivasal Poomarichan Manoliputti Manoli Musal Mulli Valai Talairi Appa Poovarasanpatti Valimunai Anaipur Nallathanni Pulivinichalli Upputhanni Karaichalli Vilanguchalli Kasuwar Van

Maximum diversity index 2.48 2.56 2.39 2.48 2.48 2.56 2.48 2.3 1.79 2.07 0.69 0 1.61 1.79 1.79 1.69 1.94 1.38 0 1.79 1.79

Editor :

Maximum Diversity Index (MD) = log2 (TT) Where TT is total taxa Evaluation of Fourteen Trophic State Indices for Phytoplankton of Indian Lakes and Reservoirs Environmental Pollution (Series A) 27 : 143-153 Sullivan P.I and Carpenter S.R (1982)

Table 3.35 Mangrove Species in Coasts of Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar
Name Rhizophora apiculata Ceriops tagal Avicennia marina Derris trifoliate Cyanometra ramiflora Acanthus iliciformis Myriostachya wightiana Phoenix paludosa Type

True mangrove (Tree) True mangrove (Shrub) True mangrove (Tree) Mangrove associate (Tree) Mangrove associate (Shrub) Mangrove associate (Shrub) Mangrove associate (Grass) Minor Mangrove (Plam)

Table 3.36 Distribution of Mangrove Vegetation in the Islands of Gulf of Mannar
Sr. No. Vilanguchalli Upputhanni Nallathanni Karaichalli Valimunai Kasuwar

Poovarasanpatti

Manoliputti

Pullivasal + + + +

Krusadai + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Species
Van

Poomarichan

Pulivinichalli

Anaipar

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Avicennia marina Rhizophora mucronata Ceriops tagal Bruguiera cylindrica Lunmitzera racemosa Pemphis acidula Excoecaria agaloocha Aegiceras corniculatum Rhizophora apiculata

+

+

+

+

+ +

+

+

+ + + +

+ + + + +

+ + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + + +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+ +

+

+

+

+

+

+

ASSOCIATED SPECIES 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Salvadora persiea Pandanus sp. Sesuvitun sp Scaevola plumieri Suaeda sp. Salicornia brachiata Thespesia populnea + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Shingle + + + + + +

Manoli

Talairi

Musal

Appa

Valai

Mulli

Table 3.37 Annual Primary Productivity (Gross) in Certain Marine Environments as Grams Carbon per square meter Sea Surface
Locality Barents Sea English Channel Georges Bank North Sea Long Island Sound Off Hawaii (open ocean) Off Hawaii (inshore) Turtle grass bed (Florida) Hawaiian coral reef Shelf waters off New York (shallow coastal region) (Continental slope) North Central Sargasso Sea Temperature oceans Equator Barren tropical oceans Cochin back water West coast of India (within 50 m depth) East coast (continental shelf) Kavaratti lagoon (Laccadives) Minicoy reef Mandapam reef Andaman reef (Port Blair) Gulf of Mannar (inshore within 10 m depth) Source : Bull. CMFRI, No. 22 (1970) Production gC/m2/year 170-330 60-98 309 57-82 470 21 123 4650 2900 160 100 78 100-150 110-146 50 281 434 230 2250 3000 2500 1200 745

Table 3.38 Coral fauna around the Mandapam Group of Islands
Species of Coral Fauna Observed around Mandapam Group of Islands Genus : Pocillopora : P. damicornis Genus : I. Acropora A. formosa A. erythraea . surculosa (Dana) Genus : III. Montipora M. foliosa M. digitata (Dana) Genus : IV. Porites : P. solida (Forskal) P. thurstoni (Pillai) P. exserta (Pillai) P. (svnaraea) convexa P. lutea Genus : V Favia F. pallida Genus : VI Favites F. abdita (Ellis and Sollander) Genus : VII Goniostrea. Spp. Other coral species observed : Platygyra lamellina (Ehrenberg) Hydrophora spp. Leptastrea purpurea (Dana) Symphyllia spp. Leptoria phrygia (Ellis and Sollander) Leptastrea transversa (Klunzinger) Cyphastrea spp. Echinopora lamellosa P. fragosa (Dana) p. alveolata (Milne Edwards and Haime) P. compressa (Dana) P. nodifera (Klunzinger) P. mannarensis M. divaricata (Briiggemann) A. nobilis A. corymbosa (Lamarck) A. hyacinthus (Dana) p. danae

Source : (India),

Resources Information System for Gulf of Mannar GOI, DOD,

Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001

Table 3.39 Summary of Underwater Observations on Shelter and Food of Various Coral Reef Associated Fauna in the Mandapam Group of Islands
Family Name Holocentridae Species Sargocentron spp. (silver spot squirrel fish) Myripristis spp. Violet soldier fish Pomacanthus imperator Abudefduf saxatilis (Sergeant major) Amphiprion clarkii Shelter RE & RF URS RE & URS URS Food items Benthic crustanceans Plankton Sponges and encrusting Organisms Zooplankton Omnivorous associated with sea anemone Coral polyp soft corals coral polyp small Invertebrates Fish and crustacean Algae Algae Algae Fish and crustacean Fish and crustacean Benthic Invertebrates

Pomacanthidae

Pomacentridae

RE &

Chaetodontidae

Chaetodon collaris C. melanotus C. meyeri C. auriga Anyperodon leucogrammicus Scarus sordidus S. gibbus scarus ghbus Lutjanus bohar L.Monostigma

RE & URS RE & URS E & URS RF & URS RE & URS RF & RE RE RE URS URS

Serranidae Scaridae

Lutjanidae

Lethrinidae

Lethrinus spp.

RF & URS

Note: RF-Reef flat, RE-Reef edge, URS-Upper reef slope

Source : (India),

Resources Information System for Gulf of Mannar GOI, DOD,

Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Chennai, April 2001

Table 3.40 Marine Water Quality in Palk Bay (Latitude 9O44′)
Parameters Sample Location & Distance from shore 1 0.5 km (depth 2 m) Temperature, OC Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Surface Bottom Cadmium, µg/l Surface Bottom Lead, µg/l Surface Bottom Mercury, µg/l Surface Bottom 29.00 28.50 28.50 34.00 8.20 8.20 30.68 32.10 4.60 4.10 2.20 1.19 28.80 23.10 2.88 2.55 9.10 0.70 0.14 1.28 3.00 0.48 0.70 2 5.0 km (depth 4 m) 29.00 28.00 30.00 26.00 8.20 8.20 31.15 30.60 4.27 4.18 1.10 1.00 30.30 35.30 3.10 1.35 9.80 1.50 0.10 0.24 ND 2.40 0.10 0.27 3 10.0 km (depth 6 m) 29.00 28.00 28.00 34.00 8.10 8.10 31.60 32.50 4.48 4.08 1.60 2.40 32.10 34.00 2.43 0.08 13.30 0.68 0.68 2.64 3.94 0.21 0.19 4 15 km (depth 7 m) 29.50 28.80 30.40 23.00 8.20 8.10 31.50 30.50 50.00 4.18 0.80 30.8 29.70 1.37 0.31 8.20 0.22 0.62 2.02 2.18 0.46 0.63

Suspended Solids, mg/l pH

Salinity, ‰

Dissolved oxygen, ml/l Total phosphorus, µmol/l Total nitrogen, µmol/l BOD, mg/l

PHC, µg/l

Source : COMPAS report prepared by CECRI

Table 3.41 Distribution of Zooplankton in Palk Bay near the Proposed Channel Parameters
Biomass, ml/100m3

Levels Observed 0.48-1.92 6065-36837 8-12

Population no/100m3 Total groups no. Major groups, % Copepoda Foraminifera Ostracoda Polychaeta Cumacea Amphipoda Mysids Decapod larvae Stomatopod Larvae Fish Eggs Fish Larvae Euphasids

47-70 5.66-17.79 1.4-3.8 1.6-1.89 0.6-1.89 1.09-3.77 1.14-1.89 2.27-5.43 0.61-5.43 3.68-7.95 0.61-2.27 1.14-1.60

Source : COMPAS report prepared by CECRI

Table 2.42 Distribution of Decapods in Palk Bay Penaeus indicus P. latiulcatus Metapenaeus affinis Parapenaeopsis maxillipedo P. cornuta P. tenella Macrobrachium rosenbergii M. aemulium Hippolyty ventricosa
+++ + ++ + ++ + ++ ++ +

Table 2.43 Distribution of Desmospongiae and Corals in Palk Bay

Species
Demospongiae Spongia officinalis Heteronema erecta Hyattella cribriformis Ircinia fusca Fasciospongia cavemosa Dysidea herbacea Dendrilla nigra Psammaplysilla purpurea Haliclonia exigua Iotrochota baculifera Sigmadocia fibulata Taxadocia fibulata Orina sagittaria Damiria simplex Callyspongia diffusa Echinodictyum gorgonoides Damiriana schmidti Rhabderemia indica Endectyon thurstoni Tedania anhelans Acarnus thielei Aulospongus tubulatus Clathria, frondifera C. indica Mycale grandis Mycalecarmia monanchorata Zygomycale parishii Toxemna tubulata Biemna fortiis Axinella tenuidigitata Higginsia mixta Myrmekioderma granulata Trachyopsis halichondroides

Distribution

++ + + + ++ + ++ + + ++ + + + + ++ ++ ++ + + + + ++ ++ + ++ + + + + + + ++ ++

Table 2.43 Contd…

Species
Spirastrella coccinea Timea stellata T. stelligera

Distribution
+ ++ +

Suberites carnosus Laxosuberites cruciatus Aaptos aaptos Placospongia carinata Cliona celata C. vastifica Prostylyssa foetida Stellettinopsis simplex Epipolasis topsenti Tethya robusta T. diploderma Echionemia acervus Myriastra purpurea Aurora globostellate Geodia perarmata Geodia lindgreni Cinachyra cavemosa Paratetilla bacca Lophacanthus rhabdophorus Dercitopsis minor Pachamphilla dendyi Corticium candelabrum Corticium acanthastrum

+ ++ ++ ++ ++ + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + +

Plakina monolopha Plakina acantholopha Chondrilla sacciformis

+ + +

Table 3.44 Distribution (kg/hr) of Various Fishery Resources along Palk Bay SE Coast of India during 1985-90
Groups Elasmobranchs Carrangids Nemipterids Epinephelus sp. Lethrinus sp. Lutjanus sp. Lutianus sp. Pomadasys sp. Diagramma sp. Pentaprion sp. Other perches Cat fishes Sciaenids Lizard fishes Goat fishes Leiognathus sp. Sphryaena sp. Seer Fish Mackeral Dussumieria sp. Psenes indicus Psenopsis cyaena Priacanthus sp. Balistids Miscell. Fish Jelly fish Crustaceans and Cephalopods Total catch 10O/80O 0 6.62 0 7.43 10.05 5.48 0 17.14 2.74 1.37 2.05 0 0 0 2.45 11.22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.59 15.7 0 6.97 89.71

Table 3.45 Abundance of Demersal Finfish Resources (kg/hr) in SE Coast of India EEZ

Major groups/Species

Area 10O/80O 51-100 m depth 451 227 1 1 303 5 41 1035

Sharks Skates Rays Carangids Rastrelliger Kanagurta Silver bellies Threadfin breams Lizard fish Upeneus sp. Sphyraena sp. Priacanthus sp. Perches Platycephalus sp. Flat fish Trichiurus sp. Cat fish Other finfish Miscell. Fish Total

Table 3.46 Perches Abundance in kg along S.E. Coast (Palk Bay)

Depth (m)

Latitude

Lutjanus Lethrinus Serranids Plectorhynchus

Other Perches

Total

0-50

10O

3

-

29

-

18

50

51-100

10O

93

193

17

264

270

837

101-150

10O

14

-

-

-

-

14

4. Land Environment
The objective of the present study is to evaluate the environmental impacts on various land and ocean features in the project area as a result of dredging operations to be carried out in Adam Bridge area, parts of Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay to create the navigational channel. The dredged material is required to be assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively to arrive at option for its disposal either on land or in sea. It is therefore imperative to accurately define the baseline status of various environmental parameters pertaining to both land and the sea and to carefully examine the environmental impacts on them. The option of disposal of dredged

material has to be selected in such a manner so that impacts on Biosphere Reserves can be prevented/minimized. Satellite remote sensing data has proved to be highly reliable in delineating the landuse and land cover of any region in a very limited time and in a cost-effective manner due to its capability of providing very high spectral and radiometric integrity and consistency. Satellite remote sensing data also facilitates accurate detection of any change in the landuse pattern. The delineation of correct landuse pattern forms an integral component of environmental impact assessment.

4.1

Objectives
The objectives of the present study are as follows :

Delineation of various landuse and land cover classes in the study region and estimation of their areal coverage through the analysis and digital classification of satellite data

Identification of potential dumping sites for dredged materials disposal

4.2

Data Used
Satellite data obtained in 1998 and 2002 has been used for delineation of

landuse pattern and identification of dumping sites. The data obtained in 2002 was mostly used to study change in landuse pattern and to select suitable dumping site close to Adams Bridge provided the quality of dredged materials is suitable for nourishment of soil. 1. Remote Sensing Data : In keeping with the climate of the area the following cloud free satellite data were chosen and the quality was checked for cloud and haze cover, striping, line drop out etc. The following data at the latitude (09°05’00"-09°25'00") N longitude (79005'00"-79035'00") E were used: A. Satellite data Merged data PAN sharpened LISS III IRS 1D LISS III scene Path: 102 Path: 102 Row: 67 dated 02 Jun 2002 Row: 67 dated 08 May 2002 IRS 1D PAN

B.

Collateral Data Detailed location map

IRS 1D LISS-III multispectral data and PAN offer very high spatial resolution of 23.5 m x 23.5 m and 5.8 m x 5.8 m with a swath width of 127 x 141 kms and orbital cycle period of 24 days. The data is sensed in four spectral bands viz., band 2 (0.52-0.59 µ), band 3 (0.62-0.69 µ), band 4 (0.77-0.86 µ) and band 5 (1.55-1.76 µ) with 8-bit radiometric resolution providing a dynamic display range of 0 to 255 which facilitates distinct representation of the various classes and also enables subtle tonal and textural discrimination among them. The spatial, spectral and radiometric resolutions of the remotely sensed data are the three primary governing factors in the correct estimation of various landuse and land cover classes through digital analysis and classification of the data. The discriminability among the various classes can be further increased using the different image interpretation keys of the existing geomorphic and cultural features in the scene such as size, shape, tone, colour, texure, pattern, association etc. 2. Toposheets and Thematic Maps : Relevant toposheets in 1:50,000 scale of the Survey of India and landuse map in 1:1,000,000 scale published by the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO) were used for registration of the satellite data. These were also used as collateral data in the digital analysis and classification of the satellite data. 3. Field Visit : In order to strengthen the classification scheme, field information plays major role in clarification of IRS LISS III imagery. This filed visit mainly includes collection of ground truth sample to establish ground control points which are required to reference the satellite imageries to a known map projection.

4.3

Hardware and Software Used
1. A highly configured computer was used for the digital image processing. The system offers an integrated platform to carry out complex tasks necessary for digital image processing. 2. Remote Sensing data was analyzed using EASI/PACE V 7.0 and Geomatica V 8.2 software loaded in a highly configured computer. The software package is

a collection of image processing functions necessary for pre-processing, rectification, band combination, filtering, statistics, classification etc. Apart from contrast stretching, there are large number of image processing functions, that can be performed on this station. Further analysis was

performed in GIS (MAP INFO Professional 6.2 and ARC/INFO software) environs.

4.4

Selection of Study Sites
Keeping in view the objectives of the study pertaining to land environment,

three different subscenes were extracted from the satellite data in order to map the various landuse and land cover classes with finer detail. The study sites are as follows: 1. 2. 3. Pamban island alone Pamban island and the coastal wedge of Mandapam Pamban island and an approximately 25 km. coastal buffer land stretching along the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar (1998 imagery)

4.5

Methodology
Landuse refers to man’s activities on land, which are utilitarian in nature,

whereas land cover represents the vegetation and other natural features such as barren land, stony land, water bodies, marshy areas etc. The remote sensing data records information essentially on land cover from which information on landuse has to be inferred. The landuse/land cover classification system standardised for mapping different agro-climatic zones by the Department of Space has been adopted. The classification system has six major landuse classes at level I and 28 at level II (Table 4.1). These are listed below: 1. Urban or built-up land : This comprises mostly cultural

features including commercial and industrial areas 2. Agricultural land : This includes cropped areas, fallow lands and plantation

3.

Forest: This includes all lands administered as forests such as dense, sparse, and degraded forests, mixed forest, scrub, forest plantations, agriculture in forests etc.

4.

Wastelands: Lands which have potential for the development of vegetative cover but not being used due to different constraints are classified under this category. This includes salt affected land, gullied/eroded land, waterlogged area, marshy and swampy area, sandy area and rocky outcrops etc.

5.

Water bodies : Areas persistently covered by water such as rivers/ streams, reservoirs/ tans, lakes/ponds, canals etc. are included under this category

6.

Others: Shifting cultivation, grassland, snow cover etc. are included in this class.

The task of delineation of various landuse and land cover classes and site selection for dumping of dredged materials was accomplished with recourse to the step-wise methodology described as under. Landuse and Land Cover Mapping i. Preliminary analysis and reconnaissance study of the raw band data and false colour composites (FCCs) generated in different band combinations with a view to understanding the spectral signatures of the various spectral classes occurring on the scene. This task was also supplemented through use of available toposheets and other thematic maps such as landuse map published by NATMO. The FCCs were stretched between 0 to 255 to utilise the full dynamic range of the display unit in order to use the complete gray level range and optimise the contrast between various features. It was felt that interpretation up to level II of the Department of Space is not possible with consistent accuracy using FCC alone. ii. Acquisition of representative ground truth samples from the field by means of a Global Positioning System (GPS), providing a geometric accuracy which is sufficient for accomplishing the task of digital image analysis successfully. The ground truths were used for selecting the training pixels of different classes on the FCCs with high geometric accuracy.

iii.

Selection of representative training signatures for various landuse/land cover classes on the basis of their spectral discriminability and ground truths.

iv.

Digital classification of the multispectral satellite data using maximum likelihood classifier using the training signatures extracted for the respective classes. All the four spectral band data have been used in the classification. Reject classes, and underrepresented and overrepresented classes have been minimised by interactive iteration through careful selection of the training area based on the a-priori probabilities of different classes.

Identification of Dumping Sites for Dredged Materials Subsequent to the generation of classified images of the study sites, dumping sites for the dredged materials were identified on the images by resorting to various criteria discussed in detail later.

4.6

Data Interpretation

Analysis of False Colour Composites (Merged FCCs) Using the imagery analysis program, merged false colour composites were generated using IRS 1D LISS III and PAN, for the different study regions viz., Pamban island and the coastal wedge of Mandapam, Pamban island alone in Red (band 3), Green (band 2) and Blue (band 1) combination as shown in Plate I and Plate II respectively. The interpretation of the FCCs was carried out using various image interpretation keys such as tone, colour, size, shape, texture, pattern, and association of the various landuse and land cover classes present in the study regions. In each composite, the dark red colour represents dense vegetation, moderately red colour represents moderately dense vegetation, and light reddish white colour represents sparse vegetation. The plantations mainly comprise coconut and palm, which are identified on the basis of both their reddish signature and characteristics pattern, and the sparse plantations are displayed in reddish yellow colour. The dense scrub mostly comprising Prosopis juliflora, a very common vegetation species occupying vast stretches of land in the study areas in dark blue colour. Marshy land, backwater and waterlogged areas appear in different shades of black. Water bodies appear in cyan wherever they contain water, otherwise they are whitish in appearance. The barren sandy areas are distinct by their characteristic white colour throughout the FCCs. The

interpretation of the FCCs was made easier using the ground truths and also, the collateral data such as toposheets and landuse maps. Morphologically the area is a coastal plain. The area is characterized by the formation of coastal alluvium, sand and clay. There are patches of shrub forest in the close vicinity of the project site and mostly towards the southern part of the Pamban Island, seen brownish red in the FCC. Also, general vegetation area mainly includes cropland or shrub forest. The shrubs are random and appears in different shades of brown tone. Fringe vegetation and sand bar is prominently seen along the coastline in the island. The central portion of the imagery is indicating the presence of barren sandy area as interpreted from characteristic whitish tone of the sand. The imagery also indicates the presence of turbid water towards northern part of the island and appears in cyan or dull green colour. The degraded barren land is also present towards the south-eastern part of the island as prominently seen in the FCC. Road network was visible in the monitor while performing image-processing though not visible in the FCC paper print, however the road network is colour coded in the classified image (Plate III). Analysis of Classified Images The colour coded output of supervised classification and maximum likelihood algorithm for Pamban Island and its surroundings is depicted in Plate III. In this

image, different colours are assigned to various classes as given in the legend. The fringe areas of the inland shallow and deep sandy areas i.e. areas located close to the sea are prone to flooding due to backwater intrusion in most part of the year. The area statistics of the different feature classes present on the classified image is given in Table 4.2 for the study region. The landuse/ landcover classification indicates 4.772 % area covered by turbid water, 53.328 % vegetation cover (crop land, shrubs, forests), 8.084 % fallow land etc. Different classes are identified, alongwith the corresponding area. Most of the water bodies are shallow containing turbid water. Few agricultural activities occur in the area. The yellow colour in the landuse map indicates the cropland. The fallow is found to be associated with agricultural lands. The shrub land is found to be present inside the forest as well as outside and is reported an area of 8.331 %. and is assigned by reddish colour. Small patches of water bodies are mainly concentrated

towards north-eastern part of the area and are assigned by the cyan colour in the land use map. The degraded land is present towards the south-eastern part of the Island and is assigned as deep brown colour. Road network as visible in full resolution is represented as red lines in the colour coded output.

4.7

Identification of Dumping Sites for Dredged Materials
The following criteria were used to identify potential sites for dumping of the

dredged materials: i. ii. Areas which are close to the proposed ship navigational route Areas which presently are not in use for any significant activity (commercial or other) iii. Shallow and deep areas which otherwise can be reclaimed for productive utility iv. Barren sandy areas which do not contain any vegetation cover and are also classified as unproductive v. Areas which are devoid of vegetation and areas which are not in close proximity to the dense vegetation vi. Areas which are not in proximity to the water bodies such as river, pond, back water etc. to ensure prevention of erosion and siltation of dumped materials into them so that their natural pristine status is conserved vii. Areas which are easily accessible and trafficable A detailed and thorough examination of the classified images of the satellite data was carried out using the above mentioned criteria and the following sites were proposed for dumping of dredged materials based on 1998 imageries. i. The shallow and deep sandy areas lying in the Pamban island since most of these areas are located in the narrow strip of the island through which the navigational channel is proposed to be constructed. Likewise, the barren sandy areas occurring in the island can also be used as dumping sites. The shallow and deep areas cover 20.32 sq.km. i.e. 2032 hectares which comprises 20.67% of the island whereas the barren sandy areas alone stretch over 21.76 sq.km. i.e. 21.76 hectares which covers

22.13% of the island. In other words, nearly 42.8% of the island alone which covers an area of 42.08 sq.km. i.e 4208 hectares can be selected for dumping sites. Even effective utilization of 50% of the available area would serve as major dumping sites within the island alone (i.e. nearly 20 sq.km. or 2000 hectares). ii. Barren sandy areas occurr in the Pamban island and in the coastal wedge of Mandapam area. The shallow and deep areas in this region are nearly same as that of the Pamban island alone because these areas are dominantly confined to the island only. However, an extensive barren sandy area is available in the coastal wedge of the Mandapam region (over 140 sq.km. or 14000 hectares). Effective utilization of a nominal 25% of the available area means that 35 sq.km. area is available for dumping of the dredged materials. Keeping in view the reduction in quantity of dredged material due to realignment of route using navigational depths available in Gulf of Mannar, the dredging activity will be restricted to an area in the vicinity of Adams Bridge over a length of about 5 km and a width of about 500m. The quantity could depend on bathymetry charts and the depth of dredging. It is proposed to dispose sand portion into sea at a suitably identified location and the silt and clay can be disposed on degraded land in Pamban island. The Plate IV shows proposed location for disposal of dredged material as indicated in the marked area spreading over 753 hectares. The area is degraded land and can be converted into cultivable land through nourishment by dumping silt and clay with some portion of sand from dredged material.

Table 4.1 Land use/ land Cover Status in Pamban Island, Based on the Satellite data of May, 2002
Category Inventory by IRS 1D LISS III + PAN May, 2002 Area, (ha) Vegetation Cover 1 Vegetation Cover 2 Fringe Vegetation Turbid Water Mud Flats Sand bar Fallow land Shrub Barren sandy Degraded land Total 717.835 2758.664 866.136 460.603 97.185 1261.951 776.699 804.056 427.754 1479.719 9650.602 % to Total 7.438 28.585 8.974 4.772 1.012 13.076 8.048 8.331 4.432 15.332 100

Table 4.2 Landuse/Land Cover Classification System

Sr. No.
1.

Level - I Built-up Land 1.1 1.2 1.3

Level - II Built-up land Road Railway Crop land Fallow (Residual) Evergreen/Semi-evergreen forest Deciduous forest Degraded/Scrub land Forest blank Forest plantation Mangrove Cropland in forest Salt affected land Waterlogged land
Marshy/Swampy land

2.

Agricultural Land

2.1 2.2

3.

Forest

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7

4.

Wasteland

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.6

Gullied/Ravinous land Land with or without scrub Sandy area (coastal and dessertic) Barren rocky/Stonywaste/sheetrock area River/Stream Lake/Reservoir
Tank/Canal Grassland/Grazing land

5.

Water bodies

5.1 5.2 5.3

6.

Others

6.1 6.2 6.3

Shifting cultivation Snow cover/Glacial area

5. Socio-economic
Environment
Along the coast in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, there are 127 villages and towns spread over 5 districts. Summary data on population area number of households etc. is presented in Table 5.1. Detailed information for each one of these villages/ towns is presented in Table 5.2 and 5.3.

5.1

Socio-economics of the Fishing Community
The project area contains a rich mix of people of different religions and castes.

There are 23,000 fisher-folk households with a population of 115,000 in about 70 fishing villages/ hamlets. There are about 35,000 active fisher-folk and about 70% of them are involved in direct fishing, 21% in fishing related activities and 9% in other activities. The literacy rate among the communities living along the coast of Gulf of Mannar is only 31%, far less than the state average (64%). While most of them (54%) do not have a dwelling of their own and live in huts along the sandy beaches, 25% have semi permanent and only 21% have concrete or tiled roof houses. Though majority (56%) of the fishermen still depend on traditional catamaran for their fishing activities, 95% of them could not operate continuously due to non-availability of net and other equipment. Only 10 percent of the fisherfolk have ownership of means of production above Rs. 1,00,000 indicating the most of the commercial trawlers are from outside the area. Hardly, 37% of the fisherfolk

households in the region have ownership on some sort of means of production. Per capita income of a fishermen is just Rs. 3,943/- (1990-91), far less than the state average. During this study a review of fishing activities in Ramnathpuram Dist. was taken up based on 2000 census data. The number of male population involved in fishing is 29570

whereas who are involved in trade, marketing, net making and other allied activities those are around 2200. The population of fisherwomen involved in fishing is about 1657 and women involved in allied activities including trade are about 5500. Income status of

fisherfolk in 2000 census has shown a positive trend as compared to 1991 census where per capita income was Rs. 3943/-. The per capita income according to 2000 census varies from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 15000/- as per 2000 census data. Income status of fisherfolk in Dist. Ramnathpuram shows 7849 people in less than Rs. 3000/- range, 13083 people in Rs. 30016000 range, 19425 people in Rs. 6001-12000 category and about 2000 people in Rs. 1200115000 range. As per 2000 census data the fishing crafts comprise mechanised boats (1804 no.) and non-mechanised boats (5078 no.). Currently the Gulf’s fishery is truly an open access resource. No property regime is in place to manage or control access to this resource and as a result it is under heavy, unsustainable pressure. Approximately 45,000 fisherfolk are currently fishing along the Gulf’s waters. Ninety percent of them are artisanal fisherfolk (using small wind or small engine powered craft) and 10% of them are mechanised trawler fishermen. Any person who desires to take-up commercial fishing need only register with the Fisheries Department. There is no limit on the number of fishing society in their local village or town. These societies serve primarily as a savings-type of institution, and do not provide the fisherfolk with the benefits of cooperative marketing, processing and management of the local fishing areas for the common good. The introduction of mechanised fishing to the region in the last 40 years has gradually led to the breakdown of the specialised artisanal fishing community (some fishing exclusively for prawn, others for sea cucumber, etc.) and has resulted in most fisherfolk fishing for whatever they can find. One of the serious problems in the area is the increasing human population at rates considerably faster than that occurring in metropolitan areas of India. The rate of increase in some villages could exceed 4% per annum, which is equivalent to a doubling of the population within about 30 years. Unless the population is stabilized it is unlikely that the ecosystems in the proposed reserve and surrounding areas will be sustainable. This problem will be aggravated by the inevitably greater demands on resources from individuals as economic development proceeds.

Currently there are very few, if any, income generating options for local fisherfolk. There are no organised programs to provide local fisherfolk with technical and business expertise in order to develop alternative livelihoods and income generating activities. Existing research programs in the area are developing appropriate technologies for seaweed farming, and pearl oyster farming, but they lack the mandate and expertise to transfer this technology to local people.

5.2

Sample Survey
As part of the present study, a rapid survey was conducted on the socio-economic

aspects of the population in the project area, and to assess the public opinion on the proposed canal project. The details of this survey alongwith the views expressed by the fishermen, the officials of the Fisheries Department, Rameswaram, Naval Staff of Coast Guard Station, Mandapam, and officials engaged in R&D work in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay on the project are presented hereunder. The Assistant Director of Fisheries, Govt. of Tamilnadu at Rameswaram was contacted for information on fishermen settlements in the project area that might be affected by the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project. Based on the information obtained, the following areas were visited for personal/group interviews on the ‘Socio-economic Component’ of the project. This survey represents a sample of 8000 to 10,000 fishermen from Pamban,

Natarajapuram, Ramakrishnapura, Kothandaramar Koil Nagar (near the temple) and Moonru Eruppu Chathram in the study area. Natarajapuram, a village on the way to Kothandaramar Temple, is situated at a distance of about 6 km from Rameswaram. The population of the village is about 4000, and fishing is the only occupation of the villagers. There is a Registered Fishermen Co-operative Society with Shri Chelladurai as the President of the Society. About 100 numbers of Vallam (non mechanized boat with outboard motors of less than 14 H.P.) are used for fishing per day. Each Vallam is manned by 5 people and so about 500 people are engaged in fishing per day. Since these villagers are dependent upon non-mechanized boats (Vallam) they can go for fishing only upto 3 km from the shore. The fish landing area of these people comprises the shallow waters in the vicinity of the shore. Eral, nethil varieties are more only in the Northern side and especially during June, July and August.

Nearly 25 people belonging to the fishing group were interviewed for their views about the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project, popularly known among the local people as “Sethu Calvai Thittam”. For the past 100 years the Government of India/ Tamil Naud have been talking about the project, and therefore, the people in this area are well aware of the project. The residents of Natarajapuram village were originally living in Dhanushkody

island. When Dhanushkody was engulfed by the severe cyclone of 1964, these people shifted their residence to Natarajapuram. A large number of them are occupying Government land, and have not been issued ‘pattas’ because of the proposed ‘Sethu Calvai Thittam’. Even though the Government has the intention to issue pattas to these people, it is not able to do so as the area required for the Sethu Calvai has not yet been identified and earmarked. Under these circumstances, the people of Natarajapuram village anxiously look forward to the fruition of the project at an early date, so that they will get the pattas for their lands. The people are in one voice in favour of the Sethu Calvai Thittam. Ramakrishnapuram village is in the vicinity of the proposed alignment of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal. There is a Fishermen Co-operative Society in this village. As per Shri Kumaresan, the President of the Society, there are 1432 registered mechanized

boats on both the islands. Out of these on an average 750 boats are used in a day for fishing operations in the islands. Since these people use mechanized boats (upto a H.P. of 114) they go for deep sea fishing thrice a week. The peak season lasts 5 months in a year. Here also the people are well aware of the project because of the century old propaganda by the elected representatives about implementing the project. While the people welcome the project, they have an apprehension that deepening the canal might result in a reduction in the fishery potential leading to a direct impact on the fishermen’s economic development. They also expressed concern that their fishing nets could be damaged during ship navigation when the canal comes into being. The fishermen suggested that, if the project comes into operation, they need a separate boat jetty in a convenient place to anchor their boats. Not withstanding the above, they all are in favour of the project. The settlement called ‘Kothandaramar Koil Nagar’ near the Kothandaramar temple has about 200 huts with a population of nearly 800. This village is very near the proposed alignment and the local fisher folk have no ‘Vallarns’ or ‘Thonis’ for fishing. They go for fishing to the Dhanushkody island by bus/walk. According to them fish is available in the shallow (2 to 3 feet) waters in the Dhanushkody island. The fish catch is transported to the

market by bus or as head loads. When interviewed, the people were of the opinion that the Sethu Canal project would severely affect their economic development. The proposed land cutting for the navigation channel between Kothandaramar Koi and Dhanushkody island, near ‘Moonru Eruppu Chathram’, will cut off the road transport facility between their dwelling places and Dhanushkody island, their only place of fishing. None the less, they are in favour of the project in the overall national interest and with the hope that they will get their ‘pattas’ from the Government once the project comes into operation. The Government of Tamilnadu permits fishing by licensed fishermen in the islands throughout the year. There seems to be competition between the fishermen having

mechanized boats on one hand and non-mechanized boats on the other resulting in over exploitation of fishing in both the islands. Since the Sri Lankan Government has banned the fishing operation for three months in a year, a sustainable fish potential is maintained near ‘Kachcha Thivu’ just two kms beyond the International Border Line (IBL) between India and Sri Lanka. The over exploitation of fishing in the Indian islands tempts the Indian fishermen to cross the IBL and get involved in fatal accidents by Sri Lankan Naval Staff. Under these circumstances, the Sethu Samudram Ship Canal Project may not have any direct adverse impact on fishing potential in both the islands. The Naval Staff of the Coast Guard Station at Mandapam are of the view that the implementation of the project will increase the potential for oil spill in the navigation canal. They also suggested that the above problem could be overcome by enanting a low by which any ship navigating through the canal and causing oil spill would not be allowed to use the canal in future. Otherwise, they are much in favour of the project as it would provide free protected access to fisherman between the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, illegal and clandestine activities in the project area and also improve the socio-economic status of the people living in Ramanathapuram, Rameswaram, Mandapam and Tuticorin. Some of the Government staff directly involved in R&D in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay were of the opinion that currently the increased activities in both the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay have been depleting the reserves of the 'BioParadise of the Gulf of Mannar'. They further observed that there were more of dead coral reefs than live ones. Under these circumstances, the proposed project with the canal alignment far away from the marine parks (islands) would not have any

significant adverse impact on the bio-sphere reserves of the Gulf of Mannar. They also are in favour of the project.

5.3

Existing Status
The entire GOMBR area comprises of 99 panchayats spread over

approximately 1600 sq. km area. The area has around 466 villages, varying in size and population. A population of around 2.79 lakhs live in the area depending on the sea, agricultural and allied livelihoods.

The Sub-programme Area and the Households: Name of the Block No. of Panchayats No. of Villages Total households Total Population

Ramnathpuram District Mandapam 22 146 Thirupulani 22 130 Kadaladi 25 100 Ramnad 3 22 Tuticorin District Vilathikulam 20 50 Ottapidaram 7 18 Total 99 466 (Source : Compilation from Census 1991)

15,930 11,038 20,385 3,241 7,843 4,450 62,887

74648 53554 80855 14707 35193 20274 279231

The socio-economic development of the region is poor and requires intensive efforts for developing it. The reserve area as demarcated is predominantly dependent upon sea based activities which includes fishing and salt making. There however, exist opportunities for palm-based occupations and other incidental activities related to fishing. Agriculturally the area is characterized by severe drought with agriculture dependant on the monsoons. The yields of crops are generally low and risk-prone due to complete absence of irrigation facilities. The major source of irrigation is through the village tanks, which are solely dependent upon the rainfall. The existing sea based resources have become constrained and prone to conflicts and forcing the people in the reserve area into despair. Conflicts between intensive and artisanal fishers regarding equitable access to marine resources: The mode of fishing in the reserve area is through traditional fishing through catamarans and mechanised trawlers. There are many instances of conflicts between these two sectors, namely the traditional and mechanised sectors on the one hand, and also within the sectors, on the other, because of unequal opportunities. These lead to violent clashes in the open sea, cutting of nets setting boats on fire. The mechanised boats, which allegedly cross the international boundary line are often exposed to gunfire from the other side leading to loss of life and seizure of boats. The conflicts that arise in the fisheries sector are essentially due to the economic disparity that has developed between the fishermen who continue to use the age-old traditional crafts and gear to catch fish and the mechanised boat owners who

have been able to adopt and invest in modern technologies such as trawling. Artisinal fishers have a narrow range of operations closer to the coastline with propulsion depending on human muscle power and wind energy and passive gears where the fish should reach the gear for capture. The mechanised boat owners have a longer range for capture and operations away from the coastline and operate active fishing gear which goes after the fish for capture. This latter group goes for high value shrimps and fish and, because of their efficiency cause problems for conservation of the target resources. Due to shrinking economic returns, the former (artisanal fishermen), unable to meet their daily livelihood needs, resort to unsustainable activities such as coral mining, dynamite fishing, juvenile fishing, sea cucumber collection, intensive seaweed harvesting, and even attack protected and endangered species. They thus come into conflict with the law enforcement machinery. Almost every fishing village has a Fishermen Co-operative Society; some have more than one. There are also Fisher Women Co-operative Societies in most of the villages. Every fisherman is a member of a society. The main function of these societies seems to be implementation of government welfare and subsidy schemes for the fishing community. Marketing is left entirely to the merchants/ middlemen/ agents and auctioneers. In some cases fisherwomen undertake retail marketing. The Department of Fisheries plays an important role in dealing with issues related to fishing, regulations, conflict resolutions and welfare schemes. However, the content and character of marine fisheries have changed a great deal since the advent of mechanisation as also the opening up of export market for several of the marine products. On the one hand, the present marine resource use is becoming more and more unsustainable and, on the other, the livelihood security of traditional fishermen is getting eroded due to diminishing income. In such a trend, conflicts are bound to increase and become widespread. Marine-based livelihoods: The livelihoods of people in the coastal buffer zone partly depend on coastal and marine resources. However, agriculture and allied activities still play a major role in providing livelihoods for the poor. The activities of coastal-based people include fishing, salt making, seaweed collection or other marinebased activities are gaining importance. Ninety percent of these fisherfolk are artisanal

(using wind or small engine powered craft) and 10% are mechanized trawler fishermen. (Source: Paragraph 8 of GEF project brief) The mechanisation of fishery has displaced women from their traditional roles in processing, marketing and making of nets; forcing them to take up alternative livelihoods. As women play a major role in supporting the sector, they would be the primary beneficiaries. Existing livelihoods related programmes in the buffer zone area do not provide adequate economic alternatives and in particular do adequately address the needs of women fisher-folk. As a result, people’s only alternative livelihood option has been harvesting of wild seaweed or coral, which they have been over harvesting. (Source: Paragraph 9 of GEF project brief) As a result of the complexity of the types and efficiency of fishing craft and gear and the fluctuations in the available fishery resources, there are wide variations in the catch and income to the fishermen. More than 70% of the active fishermen work as labourers in the boats owned by others on share-basis or for wages. The fishermen working in the country crafts such as catamarans, vathai, thoni and vallam (not motorized) earn a daily income in the range of Rs.20-30, except on a few days during the peak fishing season. The fisherwomen are more burdened and try to supplement the family income through fishery related trades such as dry fish preparation and marketing, seaweed collection and net-making and mending, and non-fishery activities such as working as labour in salt pans, and beedi making. These activities are seasonal and possible only in certain areas and do not add much to the family income. The GOMBR coastal belt has a very large proportion of country crafts, about 87%, against the mechanised boats, about 13%, in the total crafts of about 1573. Thus a very large segment of traditional fishermen population has to work closer to the shoreline in shallow waters where the resources are poor and thereby their income also is poor. There are increasing number of instances where, due to poor catches and diminishing economic returns, the owners are selling the mechanized boats. The fishermen and fisherwomen, during discussion, expressed the desire for guiding them and training them in income generating vocations that will improve their socio-economic conditions. In respect of fishery technological options, Fish

Aggregating Devices (FAD's) for men and net making/ mending and fish by-products for women stand out significantly. In addition to fishing many are involved in various supplementary activities for their livelihoods viz., charcoal making, salt making, mat weaving, coir making and agriculture and allied activities. Availability of timely and adequate credit from the formal system and lack of support systems for marketing are the two main problems faced by the people. The detailed discussions on the calculations are given in the annexures. Agriculture-based livelihoods: In the buffer zone area, agriculture also plays an important role in the life of the people. The major part of agriculture thrives based on the irrigation available through the village tanks. These tanks are traditional water harvesting structures and provide ample scope for enhancing their existing livelihoods if rehabilitated and maintained properly. As per the recent statistics (1994) in the Ramnad region near the Reserve there exist around 71 tanks irrigating 3,750 ha. This constitutes around 21 % of the tankfed area near the Reserve. As the region is devoid of any other form of agriculture, tanks irrigate around 80 % of the lands under cultivation. Almost all the tanks in the reserve area are in need of rehabilitation. On the other hand, it is also reported that farm workers from hinterlands mainly tankfed agriculture farmers are leaving and joining as trawler workers. Though this is a seasonal activity the trend seems to be on the increase. The major reason attributed is due to lack of proper irrigation facilities like tanks, which are mostly under disrepair in the region. Any meaningful development of the Reserve should also include the development of tank irrigation and dependent agriculture. Financial services for poor: Existing livelihood related programmes in the buffer zone continue to ignore the development of sustainable alternatives. In a majority of the cases, people would continue to be forced to seek credit from the moneylenders at prohibitively high rates of interest, resulting in more pressure on the resource to repay the interest. Majority of the poor in this area depend on the indigenous systems and have least access to formal institutions providing these services. Predominant among savings systems include local chits, friends and relatives. People are involved in a local practice called ‘Seimora’ (offering of money to relatives on a social function)

which involves outflow of funds. Though this practice is a socially accepted mutual support system, people find it difficult to meet these commitments and depend on money lenders. A variety of local lending practices are in use and the interest rates range from 5-10% per month. In case of small consumption and emergency loans, the rates are as high as 10-20%. The formal financial institutions primarily rely on collateral and the procedures are lengthy resulting in undue delay in sanctioning of loans. Even if formal credit is available, banks provide credit only for selected economic activities, while the poor need credit for both income generation and social security. In order to sustain the economic activity and to insulate the liquidation of assets in times of emergency, the poor require continuous line of credit support for small consumption and emergency needs. As the livelihood of the poor in this area depends on the sea, there is a high risk of accidents and often leading to death of family members. This causes great set back to the whole family and affects their livelihoods. Though government sponsored social security schemes are in existence, this does not cover and reach all the needy in time. Incomes earned are high in cases of the marine or coastal-based activities but due to the problem of alcoholism, the income does not reach the family and is drained out of the system, keeping the families in perpetual debt leading to poverty. The programme related to building up financial services should also include insurance against the risks due to death, sickness and other calamities. Existing status of Fishing Activities in Rameshwaram The survey team had held discussion with general secretary of fishermen association at Rameshwaram. It is revealed that about 50000 fishermen are involved in fishing operation at Rameshwaram including all the villages in Pamban Island. Fishing is done in both Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. Some times fishermen go upto Lankan waters as prawn fishing in Palk Bay is not conducive due to rocky base. It was informed that fish catch in Palk Bay has decreased over last 10 years. Approximately 900 boats operate from Rameshwaram on alternate days. The fishing is done both by mechanised and non-mechanised boats. kg/boat whereas fish catch is 600 kg per boat. Prawn catch is 20-25

Table 5.1 Summary of Coastal Villages/Towns in the Study Area
Sr. No. District/Taluka No. of Villages/ Towns Population (1991 Census) Area (Ha) Number of Houses Households Population Density (Range)

District : Nagapattinam 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Sirkali Tharagamabadi Nagapattinam Vedaranyam Thiruthuraipoondi Nannilam 8 5 8 7 3 1 48170 31324 119442 52523 21997 1225 (1487055) 7874.46 3759.03 11520.91 6021.45 2090.01 311.48 10601 2811 24105 5442 776 265 10776 2829 24818 5448 797 266 2.97-17.26 3.09-19.22 3.72-58.44 2.54-33.99 5.76-11.27 3.93

Total population in Dist. (in 2000) District : Thanjavur 7. 8. Pattukottai Peravoorani 14 10

36030 11349 (2205375)

11386.44 3633.16

7946 2202

8034 2255

0.56-22.01 -

Total population in Dist. (in 2000) District : Pudukottai 9. Avudaiyar Kovil 17

49854 (1452269)

8664.38

9823

10003

0.05-21.54

Total Population in Dist. (in 2000) District : Ramanathapuram 10. 11. 12. 13. Thiruvadanai Mudukulathur Ramanathapuram Rameswaram 13 8 22 2

55626 33379 137812 56522 (1183321)

7389.99 13201.95 30651.39 624.92

5567 6549 22016 4656

5602 6685 22073 4688

0.27-24.69 0.13-4.13 0.5-29.84 52.36

Total Population in Dist. (in 2000) District : Tuticorin 14. 15. 16. Vilathikulam Ottapidaram Tuticorin 2 2 5

9548 6793 237419

5024.3 4118.61 20841.77

1818 1344 1157

1854 1358 1180

0.51-1.07 0.78-2.65 4.08-35.73

Table 5.2

Details of Coastal Towns/Villages in the Study Area (Palk Bay)
Sl. No. Name of Viallage/Town Taluk Population Area (Ha) No. of Houses Households Density

District : Nagapattinam 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. Perunthottam Pandaravadai Pudupattinam Thandavakulam Vedankudi Thirumullaivasal (Urban Panchayat) Thennampattinam Kilaiyur Vanagiri Kalamanathur Marudampallam Pillaiperumal Nallur Manikkapangu Taragambadi (Urban) Nagore Prathiba Ramapuram Thiruppundi Kilobotti Therkupovur Vilandawadevi Vellankanni Vettaikaran Iruppu Nagapattinam Kodiyakadu (Kodikarai) Kovilpattu Vellapallam Naluvedampatti Pushpavanam Sirkali Sirkali Sirkali Sirkali Sirkali Sirkali Sirkali Sirkali Tharagambadi Tharagambadi Tharagambadi Tharagambadi Tharagambadi Nagapattinam Nagapattinam Nagapattinam Nagapattinam Nagapattinam Nagapattinam Nagapattinam Nagapattinam Vedaranyam Vedaranyam Vedaranyam Vedaranyam Vedaranyam 4270 7444 4130 4646 11551 4138 6643 5348 2805 2802 2593 4243 18881 970 5779 4490 3600 5071 6155 6888 86489 1762 2747 5311 4938 5700 607.57 1530.28 1022.20 1563.00 669.24 784.33 896.76 801.08 811.26 502.16 839.25 624.00 982.36 1553.96 936.05 660.94 929.05 428.24 1168.82 5843.85 694.71 567.00 937.17 959.69 1370.31 984 1722 1059 1022 2299 898 1453 1164 658 617 626 910 N.A. 211 1315 1136 864 1164 1301 1794 16320 384 682 1241 1217 1405 989 1756 1059 1022 2395 914 1477 1164 658 617 626 928 N.A. 211 1315 1136 864 1165 1301 1795 17029 384 682 1243 1219 1407 3.72 4.80 5.85 5.46 14.37 7.96 58.44 2.54 4.84 5.67 5.15 4.16 7.03 4.04 4.04 2.97 17.26 5.28 7.41 6.68 3.46 5.58 3.09 6.80 19.22

(Contd…)

Table 5.2 (Contd…)
Sl. No. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. Name of Viallage/Town Periyaguttagai Vedaranyam Muthupet (Rural) Muthupet (Urban) Thuraikkadu Panagudi Taluk Vedaranyam Vedaranyam Thiruthuraipoondi Thiruthuraipoondi Thiruthuraipoondi Nannilam Population 2233 29832 18826 421 2750 1225 Area (Ha) 614.90 877.67 1670.45 73.12 346.44 311.48 111 665 265 111 686 266 No. of Houses 513 Households 513 Density 3.63 33.99 11.27 5.76 7.96 3.93

District : Thanjavur 33. Thambikku Nallavankottai Maravadakku Thambikku Nallavankottai Vadakku Thamarankottai Palanjur Adirampattinam Briparakkarai Vaullivayal Sarabendiraravanp attinam Rajamadam Kollukkadu Pudupattinam Andikkadu Kollivoyal Karisavayal Rowthanvayal Villunniyoyal Adikadevan Sendalaivayal Nadiyam Sedubavachattram Marakkavalasai Pattukottai 2575 2531.2 623 623 0.68

34.

Pattukottai

3522

1293.02

896

896

2.72

35. 36. .37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53.

Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Pattukottai Peravoorani Peravoorani Peravoorani Peravoorani Peravoorani Peravoorani Peravoorani

10277 2092 1591 2504 579 4563 2094 1795 1300 1409 65 1664 793 96 611 1167 2093 1225 1443

2309.60 1476.20 987.40 329.40 175.60 207.34 625.20 505.00 242.20 366.80 115.60 221.88 129.48 391.21 335.221 186.14 707.82 94.10 404.31

2433 494 241 530 126 780 513 368 251 324 15 354 128 27 27 212 454 237 286

2442 494 241 530 126 850 513 368 251 324 15 354 128 27 27 212 454 237 286

2.27 1.42 1.51 3.02 3.30 22.01 3.35 3.48 5.37 3.84 0.56 5.02 -

(Contd...)

Table 5.2 (Contd...)
Sl. No. 54. 55. 56. Name of Viallage/Town Ariyakuttithevan Thiruvathevan Kuppathevan Taluk Peravoorani Peravoorani Peravoorani Population 24 1922 1975 Area (Ha) 115.09 725.16 544.63 No. of Houses 5 410 416 Households 5 417 431 Density -

District : Pudukottai 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. Melastanam (3 part) Manamelkudi Kodikulam Kizhamanjakkudi Nattanipurasakudi Alaganvayal Enadi Subrahmanyapuram Revuthanvayal Pillaiyartidal Munpalai Avadaiyarpattinam Thandalai Periamadaipayachal Seyyanam Mimisal Palangulam Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil Avudaiyar Kovil 246 13627 10737 2081 7719 2627 298 3092 169 295 1616 390 1494 2995 1203 1244 21 386.96 1135.24 1028.64 594.50 916.21 238.45 331.53 239.96 36.87 168.37 873.69 18.11 598.54 778.30 761.35 124.74 432.92 56 2705 2178 413 1418 498 63 504 40 69 312 65 324 652 239 282 5 56 2710 2304 413 1436 498 63 528 40 69 312 65 324 652 239 289 5 0.64 7.63 10.44 3.50 8.42 11.02 0.90 12.89 4.58 1.75 1.85 21.54 1.58 2.66 1.58 9.97 0.05

District : Ramanathapuram 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. Marungur Uppur Tiruppalaikudi Vattanam Muthuramalingapattinam Valangudi Pudupattinam Chitturuvadi Valamavur Thondi Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai 5221 3574 7078 1780 254 218 3641 2145 384 19240 564.78 670.85 286.63 464.37 144.46 81.78 115.38 589.88 273.66 1554.12 924 713 1273 380 49 41 674 472 79 N.A. 924 713 1273 380 49 41 705 472 79 N.A. 4.46 24.69 0.33 1.63 2.67 11.08 3.64 0.27 12.38

(Contd...)

Table 5.2 (Contd…)
Sl No. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. Name of Village/Town Nambuthalai Kaliyanaguri Kanathankundu Mandapam Devipattinam Chittrakkottai Theruvadi Alagankukam Attangarai Enmahamkundan Pirappanvalasai Sattakkonvalasai Nochivurani Kalimankundu Tiruppullani Kanjirahgudi Rameswaram Taluk Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Thiruvadanai Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram rameswaram Population 6908 1978 3205 5709 8350 6667 5162 13364 2854 5159 3991 2108 2331 5476 6599 5431 32721 Area (Ha) 816.55 326.27 1501.26 2263.92 1520.79 2106.82 1054.97 2294.47 814.76 481.17 1070.61 1332.92 1305.20 1190.04 2929.02 1586.48 624.92 No. of Houses N.A. 427 535 1145 1634 1331 899 2636 601 1141 918 405 550 1254 1255 1049 Households N.A. 431 535 1145 1658 1337 899 2637 616 1151 918 406 550 1254 1255 1049 Density 8.46 6.06 2.13 0.50 5.02 3.16 2.82 2.78 3.50 10.72 2.40 1.58 0.57 2.09 0.63 3.42 52.36

Note : N.A. – Not Available

Table 5.3 Details of Coastal Towns Villages in the Study Area
SI No. Name of Village/Town Taluk Population Area (Ha) No. of Houses Households Density

District : Ramanathapuram 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. Pudumadam Attiyuthu Kilnagachchi Karan Rettaiyurani Periyapattinam Keelakarai Mayakulam Pattennedal Pamban Kannirajapuram Narippaiyur Kudiraimoli Periyakulan Vallindokkam Ervadi Mukkaiyur Mariyur Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Ramanathapuram Mudukulathur Mudukulathur Mudukulathur Mudukulathur Mudukulathur Mudukulathur Mudukulathur Mudukulathur 6940 2407 2328 3164 5446 7762 32834 3107 623 23801 4139 6214 637 5470 3482 7334 1820 4283 783.19 1162.58 954.12 1231.40 1382.33 931.75 2199.13 1374.12 681.60 N.A. 1002.06 1798.07 262.84 2898.76 1133.98 2300.95 1766.33 2038.96 1461 445 502 693 1300 1459 598 601 139 4656 779 1157 136 1101 544 1590 333 909 1461 445 502 693 1300 1459 598 601 139 4688 783 1178 136 1122 568 1644 336 918 8.86 2.07 2.44 1.73 0.65 6.63 29.84 2.26 0.91 N.A. 4.13 3.46 2.42 0.13 3.07 3.19 0.66 1.87

District : Tuticorin 19. 20. 21. Vembar Vaippar Kila Arasaid Mudukulathur Mudukulathur Ottapidaram 5122 4426 1368 1323.35 3700.95 1315.43 918 900 303 940 914 306 1.07 0.51 1.04

(Contd…)

Table 5.3 (Contd...)
SI No. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. Name of Village/Town Taluk Population Area (Ha) No. of Houses 165 876 1157 N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. Households 165 887 1180 N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. Density

Pattanamarudur Taruvaikkulam Sankarapperi Mullakkadu Tuticorin (Rural + Town) Milavittan Mappilaiurani

Ottapidaram Ottapidaram Tuticorin Tuticorin Tuticorin Tuticorin Tuticorin

838 4587 5376 2271 205766 10679 13327

1071.88 1728.30 1317.94 120.86 17574.01 298.88 1530.08

0.78 2.65 4.08 18.79 15.63 35.73 8.71

Note : N.A. – Not Available Source : Coastal Zone Management Plan for Tamil Nadu, Environmental & Forest Department, June 1996

6. Assessment of
Environmental Impacts
6.1 General
The major step involved in the process of environmental impact assessment is the identification of impacts as it leads to other steps such as quantification and evaluation of impacts. In order to identify and evaluate the impacts associated with the project, it is necessary to establish a general checklist and describe the existing environmental quality in the area under development, and the activities of the proposed project which may cause environmental impacts. While a number of techniques are available for identification of impacts, in the present case, the “Network Method” which involves understanding of the cause-

condition-effect relationship between an activity and environmental parameters has been adopted. This method has been basically advantageous in recognizing the impacts that would be triggered by the proposed activities and provides a “road map” type of approach for the identification of second and third order effects. The purpose is to account for the project activities and identify the type of impacts which would initially occur. The next step is to select each impact and identify the secondary and tertiary impacts which will be induced as a result. This process is repeated until all possible impacts are identified. The major advantage of this approach is that it allows identification of the impacts by selecting and tracing out the events as they are expected to occur.

6.2

Impact Networks
In the backdrop of data collected during the site visits, information provided by

the concerned authorities and the list of project activities described earlier in the report, the ‘cause-condition-effect’ networks for various components and activities of the project have been delineated as depicted in Fig. 6.1 through 6.2. In these illustrations, the lines are to be read as “has an effect on”. Pre-construction activities are those taken up prior to start up of the actual construction of the project and may include resettlement and rehabilitation. They may not have any direct impact on environment as such but may lead to socio-economic impacts on the local inhabitants who are likely to be displaced and relocated. Construction activities would cause land alternations in accordance with the project design and a variety of physical, chemical, ecological, aesthetic and socioeconomic impacts of varying duration and magnitude. Physico-chemical changes occur mainly due to dredging, and clearing of vegetation cover at the site and earthwork excavation thereby causing soil erosion resulting in turbidity in surface runoff. Ecological impacts occur due to loss of marine resources, removal of trees and shrubs and field habitats which result in destruction of terrestrial organisms. Socioeconomic impacts that occur during construction relate to generation of employment, displacement of families, removal of natural resources of the site etc. Operation phase involves various maritime and shipping activities all of which can cause impacts (positive or negative) on marine water quality, ecology, aesthetics and socio-economics of the project affected population.

6.3

Impacts due to Land Based Facilities
The project envisages construction of shore facilities to cater to needs of

canal in Adam’s Bridge area, viz. service jetties, slipways, buoy yard, repair workshop as also staff and administration buildings for facilitating regulated traffic in the vicinity of Adam’s bridge area. The locations of land-based structures, and the extent of area required for their construction is required to be identified on Pamban island in consultation with local authorities. Most of the land east of Rameshwaram is barren and covered by sand and scant vegetation. There are few hamlets at Arimunai and Dhanushkodi who are engaged in fishing. These fisherman will be displaced in the event the land based facilities are planned in this area. Temporary displacement of these fisherman is envisaged. A BSF check post will also be temporarily affected. Land on Pamban island has also been identified for disposal of dredged material (silt / clay / sand). The land cover, landuse as also the ownership of sites required for these project related activities will be firmed up once the modus-operendi of traffic regulation in canal portion is finalized. Hence, the extent of land acquisition, the need for resettlement and rehabilitation of affected population, if any, could not be assessed at this juncture. However, given that the canal will pass through Adam’s Bridge area, the pressure on land based facilities would be negligible in comparison to that envisaged in earlier studies where land locked canal cutting through Pumban Island was proposed. During the construction of the ship canal, it is anticipated that considerable sea-borne activity in the form of logistic and support services would take place. This, coupled with the dredging activity, would have significant adverse impact on the traditional fishing activities by the licensed fisher folk and consequently on their income levels.

6.4

Impacts due to Dredging
The major activity during construction phase of project comprises capital

dredging along the proposed alignment of the ship channel in Adam’s Bridge and Palk strait area. The area which require intensive dredging to achieve depth of 12 m across the Adam’s Bridge area is over a length of 20 km and in Palk Bay Strait area is about 54 km. The areas have been studied for its actual bathymetry, seabed characteristics and hydrography.

The study area near the Adam’s Bridge is depicted in Fig. 6.3 and the borehole data for this region has been collected in March 2004 and is show in Fig. 6.4. Sediments of different grain sizes mainly consists of sand silt and clay. The data is presented in Chapter 2 under geological strata. Bathymetry data computed for 5 different alignments in Adam’s Bridge area is shown in

Tables 6.1 to 6.5 and Figs. 6.5 to 6.9. Regressional coefficient for each graph was computed to arrive at actual quantity of dredged material generation for 12.0 m depth profile. The quantities of dredged material along each line are shown in Fig. 6.10. Total area under dredging in Adam’s Bridge section for 12 m deep,

300 m wide channel will be about 600 ha. The quantity of capital dredge material including slope and tolerance is approximately 38 x 106 m3 for 12 m deep channel. Requirement of capital dredging in Palk Bay/Palk Strait area have been computed. The proposed alignment in Palk Bay/Palk Strait is shown in Fig. 6.11. The Bathymetry along the alignment is presented in Fig. 6.12. The quantity of dredged material will be about 44 million m3 for 12 m deep 300 m wide channel as per bathymetry (Fig. 6.12). The proposal envisaged by Ministry of Shipping was for creation of navigation channel to suit different draught requirement viz. 9.15, 10.7 and 12.8 m requiring dredging depths of 10 m, 12 m and 14 m respectively. For 12.8 m draught channel width will be 500 m whereas for 9.15 and 10.7 m draughts, channel width will be 300 m. Based on hydrography data collected by NHO data collected by National Hydrography office, Dehradun

(Fig. 6.12) it is observed that navigation depths in Palk Bay are restricted to about 12 m only. The total length from Adam’s Bridge to Palk Strait is about 145 km. Based on the bathymetry data, requirements of dredging and quantity of dredge spoil likely to be generated have been computed for various options viz. 9.15 m draught (10 m deep), 10.7 m draught (12 m deep) and 12.8 m draught (14 m deep) channel with respective widths. The data is provided in Tables 6.6-6.8. It could be observed that quantity of dredged/spoil will reduce with the depths to about 39, 82 and 313 million m3 respectively besides reduction in length of channel to be dredged. In the event of proposal for 12.8 m draught requiring 14 m depth, dredging will require to be carried out in entire Palk Bay area to create a channel of 500 m width generating 313 million

m3 of dredge spoil. Dredging all along the length of the channel in Palk Bay will be detrimental to ecologically sensitive area of this region. It would also involve heavy additional expenditure on dredging and disposal of dredge spoil. Thus keeping in view environmental sensitivity and economic viability the proposal for 14 m depth (12.8 m draught) is not considered. Thus channel depth of only 10 m and 12 m are considered for studying environmental and economic impacts. The channel will be dredged with a bottom width of 300m to a depth of -10mCD or -12mCD in Palk Strait and adjoining parts of Palk Bay to achieve the required depth over a stretch of 36 and 18km respectively. In the Gulf of Mannar, navigational depths (more than 12 m) will be used from Tuticorin Port to Adam’s Bridge Area. A 20 km long channel with a bed width of 300 m. will be dredged to a depth of -10mCD or -12 mCD catering to vessels drawing a draught of 9.15 or 10.7m respectively. Though option for both 9.15 m and 10.7 m draught were evaluated, study carried out by shipping corporation of India for estimating traffic potential at 7, 9 and 11 draught recommended that a minimum draught of 10.7 m be kept to make channel viable. The savings based on expected number of transits through proposed channel for various considered draught is given in Table 6.9. The proposed channel will have a bed width of 300m which will provide a safe width for navigation of two way channel. The channel will have side slopes of 1:3. A cross section of channel is shown in Fig. 6.13. Besides capital dredging, annual maintenance dredging of about 0.1 million m is envisaged in Adam’s Bridge area based on data available for sediment transport across Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. The studies carried out by NSDRC signifies that the region around Adam’s Bridge forms an significant sink for littoral drift. The prolonged accumulation in this area may lead to emergence of new Island. In case of occurrence of cyclone in Gulf of Mannar, such prolonged deposition of sediments move north and enter Palk Bay through Pamban Pass and Adam’s Bridge. Once the sediment enter Palk Bay, the environmental condition favours immediate deposition. Hence the occurrence of cyclone in Gulf of Mannar and the associated northerly waves might, exchange more sediment from southern part of Peninsular India to Northern part of east coast. Thus the quantity of maintenance dredged spoil will increase in the channel across Adam’s Bridge in the event of cyclone.
3

The dredging of sea bed would result in increase of turbidity due to silt & clay both during dredging and disposal. Higher silt load in seawater prevents penetration of sunlight in water body and ultimately affect primary productivity.

Primary productivity, the only means of synthesis of organic matter is the basis to trophic web. Any damage to the lower trophic level would reflect into higher trophic including fish. If sunlight does not penetrate into the sea for days together, darkness would prevail on the bottom, which adversely affect the photosynthetic activity of the symbiotic algae in the molluscs and corals. Further when silt gets deposited on all living organism especially on sedentary biota - viz. pearl oysters, corals, algae, gorgonids, other molluscs, annelids, prochordates, echinoderms, the egg mass of many free swimming animals, etc, they get destroyed since these organisms have no / little locomotive power to move away from the dredging zone. Deposition of silt bury many small living organisms. Silt enters into the gills of the animals and impairs respiration. Silt also affects the planktonic life. siltation affects the solubility of oxygen and gas exchange due to mineralisation and pH changes and, thus, the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water is reduced. Owing to the destruction of seagrass and seaweed beds, larger animals such as dugongs, turtules and herbivorous fishes are also affected. It is true that the dissolved components of the silt would enrich the algal growth and trigger the planktonic bloom. But this blooming may not be of much use since the benthic and other fauna, which mainly feed on them, are either not available or destroyed owing to silt deposition. It is known that seabed strata is only sand hard pane and blasting which could adversely affect flora and fauna due to shock waves emanating from the blast is not required for excavation/dredging. Whatever may be the method of dredging that is employed, a part of sediments removed from the sea bottom would get spread to adjacent dredging area. This would form as a mat and bury the entire fauna and flora into it. Adverse effects are also to be expected from pollution owing to the use of machinery for construction and operating units. Spillage of oil and grease, rust and metallic wastes due to wear and tear, marine litter, float, including plastic bags, discarded articles would be the major pollutants. To minimize impacts due to dredging and disposal of dredged material, options for both land and sea disposal are considered. Suitable location on land as well as in sea are to be selected based on environmental viability. Likely impacts due to both the options are discussed in following section :

6.4.1

Dredged Material Disposal

6.4.1.1 Disposal on Land Based on recent remote sensing imageries for landuse and landcover, degraded areas in Pumban island have been identified (Plate IV referred in Chapter 4) for disposal of part quantities of dredged material. Visual inspection of the project site has revealed that a long stretch in Pumbam island between Kodandaramasamy temple and Dhanushkody could be one of the potential sites for dredged material disposal. Based on the analysis and interpretation of satellite data under the present study, a few sites including the above have been identified for land disposal of the dredged material. The suitability of these sites has been confirmed after detailed groundtruth verification of the sites. Composition of dredged material plays vital role in deciding its suitability for disposal on land. The degraded areas identified in Pumban island near Dhanushkody are sandy in nature. The dredged material has content of 58% clay and silt hence the spoil can be used for nourishment of degraded land for reclaiming it and promoting life and vegetative growth. However the site will require proper embanking/protection to prevent erosion due to wave action during cyclonic conditions. Keeping in view the reduction in quantity of dredged material due to realignment of route using navigational depths available in Gulf of Mannar, the dredging activity will be restricted to an area in the vicinity of Adams Bridge over a length of about 20 km and width of 300 m. The quantity of dredged spoil generated upto a depth of 12 m is 38 million m3 in this area. It is proposed that the top protion of the sea bed containing silt and clay (Approx. 7-8 million m3) be disposed on degraded areas of Pamban Island subject to approval under CRZ. The rest of the dredged material containing mainly sand with particle size varying from 125 µm to 600 µm is proposed to be disposed into sea (Gulf of Mannar) at a location varying from 30-40 m depth. The Plate IV referred in Chapter 4 shows proposed location for disposal of dredged material as indicated in the marked area spreading over 753 hectares. The area is degraded land and can be converted into cultivable land through nourishment by dumping silt and clay with some portion of sand from dredged material. The maintenance dredge spoil will mainly comprise silt / clay and will be used for reclaiming degraded areas in the vicinity of Pamban island / Mandapam.

6.4.1.2 Disposal in Sea Disposal of dredged spoil generated during capital dredging containing sand is proposed to be disposed in sea in the proximity of dredging activity where potential adequate dilution and dispersion is available. It is observed from the bathymetry data that a depth of 30-40 m is available about 25-30 km away from Adam’s Bridge in GOM area. An exercise using dispersion modelling was carried out to study impact of dredged spoil on turbidity of sea water. The Cornell Mixing Zone Expert System (CORMIX), evaluation version represents a robust and versatile computerized methodology for predicting both the qualitative features (e.g. flow classification) and the quantitative aspects (e.g. dilution ratio, plume trajectory) of the hydrodynamic mixing processes resulting from different discharge configurations and in all types of ambient water bodies, including small streams, large rivers, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, and coastal waters. The methodology provides answers to questions that typically arise during the application of mixing zone regulations for both conventional and toxic discharge. More importantly, this is accomplished by utilizing the customary approaches often used in evaluating and implementing mixing zones, thereby providing a common framework for both applicants and regulatory personnel to arrive at a consensus view of the available dilution and plume trajectory for the site and effluent discharge characteristics. Three different subsystems for discharge conditions are available in CORMIX. The model predicts the geometry and dilution characteristics of the effluent flow resulting from a submerged single port diffuser discharge, of arbitrary density (positively, neutrally, or negatively buoyant) and arbitrary location and geometry, into an ambient receiving water body that may be stagnant or flowing and have ambient density stratification of different types. To predict dilution and plume trajectory of discharged effluent, CORMIX typically combines the solutions of several simple flow patterns to provide a complete analysis from the efflux location all the way into the far field. The logic processing elements of CORMIX identify which solutions should be combined to provide the complete analysis. This process, called flow classification,

develops a generic qualitative description of the discharge flow and is based on known relationships between flow patterns and certain calculated physical parameters. PARAM is the program element that computes relevant physical parameters including the various length scales, fluxes, and other values needed for the execution of other program elements. Length scales are calculated measures of the length of dynamic influence of various physical processes. At the heart of CORMIX is a flow classification system contained in the program element CLASS. It provides a rigorous and robust expert knowledge base that carefully distinguishes among the many hydrodynamic flow patterns that a discharge may exhibit. These possibilities include discharge plumes attaching to the bottom, plumes vertically mixing due to instabilities in shallow water, plumes becoming trapped internally due to density stratification, and plumes intruding upstream against the ambient current due to buoyancy and many others. Theoretically based hydrodynamic criteria using length scale analysis and empirical knowledge from laboratory and field experimentation are applied in a systematic fashion to identify the most appropriate flow classification for a particular analysis situation. For all three subsystems, a total of about 80 generic flow configurations or classes can be distinguished. Once a flow has been classified, CORMIX assembles and executes a sequence of appropriate hydrodynamic simulation modules in the program element HYDRO1, 2 or 3. HYDRO consists of : (a) control programs or "protocols" for each hydrodynamic flow classification and (b) a large number of subroutines or "simulation modules" corresponding to the particular flow processes, and their associated spatial regions, that occur within a given flow classification. The simulation modules are based on buoyant jet similarity theory, buoyant jet integral models, ambient diffusion theory and stratified flow theory, and on simple dimensional analysis. The basic tenet of the simulation methodology is to arrange a sequence of relatively simple simulation modules which, when executed together, predict the trajectory and dilution characteristics of a complex flow. Each of the simulation models uses the final values of the previous module as initial conditions. For simulating discharge of dredge material in sea (tentative location shown in Fig. 6.14a), single submerged port discharge is used for predicting the movement of

suspended solids (Silt) in the ocean. Table 6.10 shows the calculation of silt produced during dredging operation and its concentration in the discharged water. The scenario is generated for steady state discharge of silty water having a concentration of 1,20,000 mg/l. The flow rate is taken to be 1.099 m3/s. The density of the discharged water is taken to be 1047 kg/m3 and the effluent is discharged having discharge depth of 25 m. The ambient water body is sea in which the effluent is discharged and is taken to be unbounded. The wave currents or velocity are taken to be 0.3 m/s and surface wind velocity have been taken as 5 m/s. Fig. 6.14 shows the threedimensional plume showing the movement of suspended solids (Silt). Fig. 6.15 shows the variation of the Centerline Concentration along the direction of ambient current velocity for Near Field and Fig. 6.16 shows for Far Field. Fig. 6.17 shows the dilution vs. centerline distance. It can be inferred from these graphs that the effect of the silty water when discharged will be localized and restricted to about 1500 meter from the discharge point. However the plume will not surface immediately and the concentration of suspended solids in sea water will return to normal after 1500 m in the line of advection. The capital dredging envisaged in Palk Strait area is 44 million m3 over a stretch of about 54 km including some portion in Palk Bay in proximity to shallow areas in Palk Strait. The quality of dredge spoil has been studied by NHO Dehradun. Depending on the quality, disposal options can be decided. In the event of higher silt content land disposal in proximity to dredging area avoiding sensitive locations viz. Point Calimer sanctuary will be thought off. As this area is close to Bay of Bengal where depth more than 25 m is available, disposal in sea would be a preferred option. However concerns of transboundary migration of sand and pollutant will govern the selection of site. The tracer studies have been initiated for further studies to select suitable location. In no case dredged spoil will be allowed to be dispersed in Palk Bay. Thus impact due to dredge disposal could be minimized by selecting option of land disposal for dredged spoil containing higher percentage of clay and silt. Balance dredged spoil containing sand could be disposed in sea. As sand particles have discrete setting, rise in turbidity of sea water at disposal location is not envisaged thereby minimizing impact on primary production. In the event of disposal of silt containing dredged spoil the turbidity zone will develop at the disposal location, however submerged disposal will not allow suspended solids plume to rise to surface

immediately thereby providing adequate dilution before the plume surfaces in the direction of current. However by the time the plume surfaces at about 1500 m, concentration of suspended solids would return to background level. The existing level of primary productivity in the project area will remain practically unaltered during the construction and operation phases of the ship channel as proposal for disposal of silt / clay on land should be the most preferred option. Even during sea disposal care would be taken to dispose material well below the sea surface so that plume of suspended solids will remain submerged and will not cause alteration in surface turbidity and primary productivity. There would not be any significant change in water quality including turbidity due to the proposed deployment of trailor suction hopper dredgers for capital and maintenance dredging. Moreover, the envisaged dredging activities in the area are likely to cause much less turbidity than the international threshold, and thus the likely risk to marine biota is going to be minimal. Disposal of sand (~30 million m3) in the form of dredge spoil will temporarily after the structure of benthic community. However the benthos will restructure and recover to original status after the capital dredging activity is completed. Due to dredging, the bottom flora and fauna on an area approximately 600 ha along the channel alignment in Adam’s Bridge will be lost permanently. This loss, however, will be very insignificant compared to the total area of 10,500 sq.km of the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserves.

6.5

Impacts due to Road and Rail Traffic
During the construction activity viz. creating infrastructure base on Pamban

island to support dredging activity, the shore-based structures, there will be considerable increase in rail and road traffic to and from the island for transportation of men, material, machinery and equipment. These would inevitably lead to congestion in traffic and increased levels of air and noise pollution with their associated impact on normal public life. This scenario may continue during the operation phase of the canal due to increased trade and commerce.

6.6

Impacts on Productivity and Ecology in GOM/Palk Bay

As the proposed alignment in Gulf of Mannar is more than 20 km away from the existing 21 islands in National Marine Parks in the Gulf of Mannar, the marine biological resources around these islands will not be affected to any significant level. The existing level of primary productivity in the project area will remain practically unaltered during the construction and operation phases of the channel. There would not be any significant change in water quality including turbidity due to the proposed deployment of cutter suction/trailor suction hopper dredgers for capital and maintenance dredging. Due to dredging the bottom flora and fauna on an area about 6 sq. km along the channel alignment in Adams Bridge and about 16-17 sq.km in Palk Bay/Palk Strait area will be lost permanently. This loss, however, will be very insignificant compared to the total area of 10,500 sq. km of the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve. In Adam’s Bridge area about 38 million m3 of dredge spoil comprising about 7-8 million m3 clay silt will be generated for achieving 12 m depth for 300 m wide channel including allowances for slope and tolerance. It is proposed that spoil containing a mixture of clay and sand will be disposed on degraded areas of Pamban island for reclaiming the land subject to approval of Forest and Environment Department (TN) for use of area falling under CRZ as dumping of wastes in CRZ area is not permissible activity. Balance 30 million m3 spoil containing mainly sand (particle size 125 µm to 600 µm) will be discharged in sea 25 km away from the dredging area keeping safe distance from medial line at depths varying from 30-40 m to minimise the impact. In the event of restricting the channel to 10 m depth to suit vessels with 9.15 m draught, the quantity of dredged spoil will reduce by 13.5 million m3 and material required to be disposed in sea will be 16-17 million m3 instead of 30 million m3 as envisaged for 12 m depth. This would further minimize impacts on sea bed due to disposal of dredged spoil. In Palk Bay area, about 44 million m3 of dredged spoil will be generated due to excavation activity in Palk strait and Palk Bay to achieve 12 m depth for 300 m channel including allowances for slope and tolerance. The NHO data indicate hard strata beneth soft sand hence spoil may contain silt, sand and hard material. The dredging may also require blasting if hard strata is encountered. In the event of blasting, adverse impact on sea bottom fauna is envisaged. The spoil is proposed to

be discharged in Bay of Bengal at suitable depth (25-40 m) to minimize impacts on coastal areas of Palk Bay. An option of using silt/clay for beach nourishment is also recommended. In the event of restricting the channel depth to 10 m the requirement of dredging in Palk Bay/Palk strait will drastically reduce to about 14.8 million m3 as against 44 million m3 envisaged for 12 m depth. This would minimize environmental impacts as well cost of dredging and disposal. It would be ideal to explore the possibility of dredging the channel to 10 m depth in first phase to cater to vessels of 9.15 m draught and monitor environmental status during construction and operation phases. The proposal of 12.0 m depth can subsequently be taken up in second phase provided adverse impacts on environment are not observed. During the construction and operation phases of the channel, the potential sources of marine pollution are spillage of oil and grease, marine litter, jetsam and floatsam including plastic bags, discarded articles of human use from the sea-borne vessels which will have to be controlled. The channel will facilitate the movement of fishes and other biota from the Bay of Bengal to the Indian Ocean and vice versa. By this way, the entry of oceanic and alien species into the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar, as also the dispersal of endemic species outside the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar could occur. A potential source of pollution of the marine environment during the operation phase of the project relates to ship discharges – oily ballast, bilge water and sewage, and accidental spills. Likewise, the effects of anti-fouling paints on bottom dwelling marine organisms, particularly clams and oysters, when the depth is relatively shallow and there are a number of crafts moored in the location, can be significant. Presently, stray turtles and marine mammals suffer from propeller cuts, ghost fishing, and death due to ingestion of jetsam and floatsam. Such instances may increase unless strict control is enforced in maintaining the canal litter-free, and shipping speed is under regulatory control. Despite significant shipping activities, it has been reported that Olive Ridley turtles from the deep seas migrate to Gahirmatha beach in northern Orissa via northern Sri Lanka and Paradeep Port for mass nesting during November-February each year. Reported mass killing of turtles in this region is primarily due to their getting

entangled in gill netters and also due to poaching by local people for turtle flesh. This observation indicates that the proposed canal project may not have any significant adverse impact on the migration and mass nesting of turtles. During the operational phase, the frequent ship movements in the channel, maintenance dredging of the canal which could increase turbidity, oil spill, bilge water, marine litter etc. may have negative impacts if they are allowed to travel to the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve which supports a very fragile ecosystem. Excavation of the channel in the Adams Bridge sector would provide a deeper passage in the sector, which is shallow at present, and serve only as a barrier. Underwater currents play a significant role, not only in the transportation of large marine organisms, plankton biota, fish eggs and larvae but also on shore dynamics, especially of the islands, reef and paars. Strong current would erode the banks of the canal and carry the sediments from one sector to another, which ultimately results in accretion of sand in one sector and erosion in another sector. Once the canal is deepened, the passage would greatly increase the movement of fishes and other large animals from Bay of Bengal to Indian Ocean and vice-versa. Hence, the entry of oceanic and alien species into Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar and also dispersal of endemic species outside Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar would be facilitated.

6.7

Impacts on Hydrodynamic Conditions
Because of the deepening of the channel, the course of water currents and

their speed as related to the prevalent biomonsoonal conditions may be altered. Currents play a vital role not only in the movement of large marine organisms, planktonic biota, the juvenile, larvae and eggs, but also on shore dynamics especially of islands, reefs and paars. Current related sediment transport might level up, bury or elevate certain locations, and yet other benthic sites may be eroded and deepended. This would play havoc on the benthic animals including pearl oysters. Hydrodynamic modelling was carried out to study the baseline spatial tidal current distributions in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, and to estimate the changes that could be brought about due to the proposed ship navigation canal. The focus has been to predict the change in direction and magnitude of the vector currents due to the change (increase) in bathymetry resulting from dredging. The geographical

domain Fig. 6.18.

considered

for

modelling

is

shown

in

A two dimensional (Ocean) Model, DIVAST (Depth Integrated Velocity and Solute Transport) has been used for the hydrodynamic modelling. The model simulates two dimensional distributions of currents, water surface elevations and various water quality parameters within the modelling domain as function of time taking into account the hydraulic characteristics governed by the bed topography, surface wind effects and boundary conditions. It is assumed that the flow (in the study region) is predominantly horizontal and nonstratified, and hence the two dimensional depth integrated representation of the system is adequate. The solute transport processes viz. advection, diffusion and dispersion are included. The temperature distribution is taken to be governed by air-water heat exchange. The finite different scheme used in DIVAST is based on the Alternating Direction Implicit Technique which involves the sub-division of each time step into two, for obtaining solutions in X and Y directions separately, using Gauss elimination and back substitution methods. The boundaries due to coastline or adjacent to structures are treated through closed boundaries conditions and water surface elevations are treated through open boundary conditions. The numerical treatment of flooding and drying in the tidal base is incorporated through iterative checks on the wet and dry cells. The numerical model allows for variable grid sizes in different zones allowing for better representation of discontinuities in the neighbourhood of locations of interest. 6.7.1 Tidal Current Distributions - Before and After Dredging The modelling exercise has been carried out on a HP Workstation under HPUNIX 10.1 Operating System. The source code of the model has been suitably compiled, and configured for modelling, after incorporating boundary conditions. The simulations have been carried out for 42 hours, for each case of ‘before dredging’ and ‘after dredging’ conditions. The present bathymetry is assumed to be not significantly different from the bathymetry data depicted in Naval Chart 317. For the purpose of model mapping, the bathymetry data was interpolated for the entire modelling domain in grid sizes of 358 m x 358 m.

Current (tidal stream) measurements, with the assistance of the staff of Chief Hydrographic Surveyor of India, were carried out at 10 locations in the study domain for spring tide conditions. The locations, and their latitudes and longitudes are shown in Fig. 6.19. The current measurements at a few representative locations in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar are depicted graphically in Figs. 6.20 - 6.21. The graphs depict the relative intensities of currents and directions and their variations over the tidal curve. The values of maximum speed at a few locations in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar are given in Table 6.11. The tidal variations with respect to time measured at a location close to Rameswaram Jetty are shown in Fig. 6.22. The proposed ship navigation alignment considered for modelling is shown in Fig. 6.23. The depth, width and draft along the proposed alignment for modelling the hydrodynamic conditions is taken as 12 m, 300 m and 10.7 m respectively. The model has been calibrated and the calibration curves for tide and currents are shown in Figs. 6.24-6.25. The curves show good match between the measured and the model predicted values. The spatial distributions of tidal currents have been modelled for two conditions : i) ii) with the present bathymetry with the increased depths along the proposed alignment

The currents predicted by the model for a new patches (sub areas) within the study domain are shown in Figs. 6.26-6.27. The sub areas are chosen for being geographically close to the coral reefs and the proposed alignment. The sub areas are referred as Patch I, Patch II, Patch III and Patch IV in the Figs. 6.24-6.25. The magnitudes and angles of the current vectors for each sub area are given in Table 6.12 through 6.15. The directions are with respect to the model axis. The model axis is assumed to be North-South direction and the angles (in degrees) are measured in clock wise direction from the model axis starting from North. The arrows on the tidal curves in Figs. 6.24-6.25 indicate the time point on the tidal curve for which the current vectors are shown. Patch I is spatially located close to the coral reefs which are shown in Figs. 6.28-6.29 (Source of Data-Digitized from SAC Maps). It is seen that there is no significant change in the magnitude and direction of current velocities.

Patch II and Patch III are close to the alignment in the South Approach Channel in the Gulf of Mannar. As in the case of Patch I, it is seen that there is no significant change in the magnitude and directions of current velocities. Patch IV is in the Palk Bay close to the approach channel. There is a significant change in magnitude and direction of current velocities near the proposed alignment. However, west of the proposed alignment the directions remain the same. 6.7.2 The Salient Conclusions Current vectors predicted by the model at the sensitive sub areas for highest spring water height point out the following : 6.7.2.1 Gulf of Mannar • There is no significant change in the current vectors due to dredging • The current directions remain nearly the same after dredging The average current direction is between 270O–350O, with respect to model axis, and geographically this represents approximately NorthWest direction (Model axis is South-North Direction, same as geographical South-North) • The maximum current speed is 0.7 m/sec • Speed and directions do not vary significantly with geographical locations close to the proposed alignment 6.7.2.2 Palk Bay (Near Adams Bridge) For the sub region close to approach to the Channel from Palk Bay :

There is a significant change in magnitude and directions for major portions near the proposed alignment Average direction before dredging is between 270o to 340o, towards North-West The current directions in the channel alignment change due to dredging. Average direction after dredging is 90O to 180O towards South-East

However, to the west of proposed alignment there is no significant change in current directions

The maximum current observed is 0.31 m/sec

6.8

Socio-economic Impact
The channel will establish a continuous navigable sea route around

peninsular coast within the Indian territorial waters, reduce shipping distance by about 400 nautical miles and voyage time of about 36 hrs as also the attendant operating costs. The channel will become a valuable asset from national defence and security point of view enabling easier and quicker access between the coasts. During the construction of the channel, the land access now available to the local fisher folk to Dhanushkody area for traditional fishing will be hindered unless alternative arrangements are made. The dredging and shipping operations will have to be so regulated as to cause minimum disturbance to the normal fishing activities. The project will provide employment opportunities and avenues of additional income through establishment of small ancillary industries. The project will also trigger development of coastal trade between the ports south and north of Rameshwaram consequently reducing the load and congestion on railways and roadways. Once the channel is in place the clandestine and illegal activities presently in vogue in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar will be minimised due to constant vigilance and regulation of movement of ships and vessels.

6.9

Analysis of Alternatives for Route Alignment
The various proposals considered for the alignment of the Sethusamudram

Ship Canal including the one recommended as a channel in current study are depicted in Fig. 6.30. Between 1860 and 1922, as many as 9 proposals were formulated to connect the Gulf of Mannar with the Palk Bay in order to shorten the sea route between the west and east coasts of India. Most of these proposals envisaged cutting through Pamban Channel. But none of these materalised for want of financial resources. After independence, the Government of India in 1955 constituted the Sethusamudram Project Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir A. Ramaswamy Mudalidar. The Committee made detailed investigations and recommended a crossing through the mainland in keeping with the following : i) the site is directly in line between Tuticorin and Palk straight, ii) the sea rout will be entirely west of medial line, iii) this will obviate the use of vulnerable railway bridge at Pamban, iv) this alignment is

set to have little sign of hard material and v) scope for development due to its location in main land is more. The Committee further recommended the implementation of both the Tuticorin Port and Sethusamudram Canal as an integrated project. However, the Government sanctioned only the Tuticorin project. A high level Committee under the chairmanship of (late) Venkateswaram appointed by the Government of India conducted further investigations and submitted its report in 1968 recommending an alignment across the Rameswaram island in keeping with the following advantages : i) short crossings requiring less length of pilotage, and so less cost of pilotage, ii) quick transit of ships due to shorter length of channels, iii) greater number of ships can be handled, iv) less maintenance dredging of channels as the length of three channels is only 8 miles for this crossing as against 28 miles for the mainland crossing and v) no reef in this alignment of south approach channel while the south approach channel of Mandapam alignment has reef which is very difficult to dredge. The technical Committee, based primarily on cost and economic considerations, recommended the Rameswaram alignment (DE alignment) with an estimated cost of Rs. 37.46 crores for detailed investigation to cover all seasons w.r.t. tide littoral drift etc. The proposal was reviewed from time to time and the cost was updated in 1980 to Rs. 110 crores. The Laxminarayanan Committee, constituted in 1981 by the GoI, reviewed the above proposal and, on detailed inspection, noted that there was heavily built up residential area in the Rameswaram alignment. It examined an alternative alignment across Dhanushkody east of Rameswaram temple. After a study of the coastal morphology in relation to the latest hydrographic chart, the Committee recommended the K-alignment across Dhanushkody west of Kodandaramaswamy Koil with an estimated project cost of Rs. 282 crores (1983 prices). For the same alignment and associated quantities of work, the proposal has been updated for its economic viability by PTCS Ltd. in March 1996. In all the proposals listed as above, the only major criterion influencing the final recommendation has been the economic viability of the proposal with very little consideration to the environmental/economical aspects of the project. This can be attributed to the fact that at that time even at the national level environmental concerns of developmental projects were rarely addressed.

While detailed information for the above enumerated alternatives are not available, it would be apparent that any alignment of the proposed canal across the main land would have not only proved expensive due to the longer lengths of dredging and the associated socio-economic impacts particularly with respect to land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation. These alignments would have also been nearer to the 21 islands in the Gulf of Mannar (which have subsequently been declared as national Marine Parks) with their associated ecological impacts. The alignment proposed by the Venkateswaran Committee also suffers from similar problems as above, though relatively less in magnitude. The K alignment crossing the Rameswaram island cutting a land portion of only 800 m involves minimum of social disruptions. Shifting the canal towards Dhanushkody by another 3-4 km as recommended by the Steering Committee constituted by Ministry of Surface Transport, Govt. of India for the present study would further minimise the impact due to the land canal portion, and also be farther away from the National Marine Parks with the advantage of reduced cost of dredging without significantly increasing the total length of the canal. The alignment across the Dhanushkody island would not only require cutting across the coral reefs but perhaps also blasting during construction. From navigational considerations, this alignment with sharp turns is not considered desirable. Thus, from all considerations including environmental and ecological, the alignment recommended by the Steering Committee farther away from the Kodandaramasamy temple towards Dhanushkody and with the crossing of the land portion more or less at Moonru Iruppu Chatram appeared to be a better choice. The present study recommended the use of navigational depth in Gulf of Mannar by the ships to approach Adam’s Bridge from Tuticorin port. It could be observed that ships can reach Adam’s Bridge area, enter the channel in South-North direction parallel to medial line between Sri Lanka and India. The route thus would be around 20-25 km away from the GOM biosphere reserves. As most stringent regulatory practice for discharge of wastes from ship are recommended, the impacts due to operation of this route an GOM biosphere reserves will be insignificant. The dredged material will also be disposed 20-25 km away from GOM biosphere, the movement of silt toward the biosphere is not envisaged. Thus the route would become environmentally viable only if the management plans and recommended measures are strictly followed.

Fig. 6.3 : Study Area for Route Alignment in Adam’s Bridge Area

\\

Fig. 6.4 : Borehole Data in Adam’s Bridge Area

12 10 Depth (m) 8 6 4 2 0 0 5000 10000 Distance (m) 15000 20000
y = 1E-07x2 - 0.0019x + 12.544 R2 = 0.6954

Fig. 6.5 : Bathymetry Along Line 1

y

=

material to be dredge

x = length R2 = regretion wett

14 12 10 Depth (m) 8 6 4 2 0 0 5000 10000 Distance (m) 15000 20000
y = 9E-08x2 - 0.0018x + 12.842 R2 = 0.7058

Fig. 6.6 : Bathymetry Along Line 2

14 12 10 Depth (m) 8 6 4 2 0 0 5000 10000 Distance (m) 15000 20000
y = 1E-07x2 - 0.0021x + 14.129 R2 = 0.7281

Fig. 6.7 : Bathymetry Along Line 3

14 12 10 Depth (m) 8 6 4 2 0 0 5000 10000 Distance (m) 15000 20000
y = 7E-08x2 - 0.0017x + 13.886 R2 = 0.6426

Fig. 6.8 : Bathymetry Along Line 4

14 12 Depth(meter) 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 Distance(meter)
y = 6E-08x2 - 0.0017x + 14.224 R2 = 0.6709

Fig. 6.9 : Bathymetry Along Line 5

q

39

38.33 37.56 36.05 35.88

Material to be dredged x 10 -6 m3

38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29

32.58

Line 1

Line 2

Line 3

Line 4

Line 5

Different Channels
Fig. 6.10 : Quantity Dredged Material along Various Tracks in Adam’s Bridge

Fig. 6.13 : Cross Section of Proposed Channel

Fig. 6.14 : 3D Plume of Disposed Silt

Fig. 6.15 : Near Field

Fig. 6.16 : Far Field

Fig. 6.17 : Central Line Dilution

False Colour Composite

Fig. 6.18 : Geographical Domain Considered for Modelling

Location (Point) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Longitude 79O21’03” 79O25’00” 79O00’00” 79O11’02” 79O13’10” 79O20’59” 79O13’10” 79O20’59” 79O13’10” 79O20’59”

Latitude 09O22’21” 09O16’15” 09O13’29” 09O15’38” 09O12’15” 09O11’50” 09O07’49” 09O08’25” 09O00’00” 09O00’00”

1

2

Fig. 6.19 : Locations for Current Measurements

PAMBA Pt. 2 OCEAN SITE DATA COLLECTION SACM No. : 014856 RDU NO : 017182 DATE : 10/07/98 Speed (Knots) POSITION : LAT 09O22’21.46N LONG 79.O21’03.76”E

Speed (Knots) Time (hrs.)

Fig. 6.20 : Tidal Stream Observations

PAMBA Pt. 2 OCEAN SITE DATA COLLECTION SACM No. : 014856 RDU NO : 017182 TIDAL STREAM OBSERVATIONS Speed (Knots) DATE : 11/07/98 POSITION : LAT 09O22’21.46N LONG 79.O21’03.76”E

Speed (Knots) Time (hrs.)

Fig. 6.20 (Contd….)

Fig. 6.20 (Contd….)

Fig. 6.20 (Contd….)

Fig. 6.21 : Tidal Stream Observation

PAMBA Pt. 8 OCEAN SITE DATA COLLECTION SACM No. : 016926 RDU NO : 016552 TIDAL STREAM OBSERVATIONS Direction (Degrees) DATE : 10/07/98 POSITION : LAT 09O08’25N LONG 79.O20’59”E

Fig. 6.21 (Contd….)

PAMBA Pt. 8 OCEAN SITE DATA COLLECTION SACM No. : 016926 RDU NO : 016552 TIDAL STREAM OBSERVATIONS Direction (Degrees) DATE : 11/07/98 POSITION : LAT 09O08’25N LONG 79.O20’59”E

Fig. 6.21 (Contd….)

PAMBA Pt. 8 OCEAN SITE DATA COLLECTION SACM No. : 016926 RDU NO : 016552 TIDAL STREAM OBSERVATIONS Direction (Degrees) DATE : 11/07/98 POSITION : LAT 09O08’25N LONG 79.O20’59”E

Fig. 6.21 (Contd….)

Location : RAMESHWARAM (ND) R-J Date : 10/07/98

Fig. 6.22 : Tidal Observations

Hydro-dynamic Modelling

Fig. 6.23 : Proposed Ship Navigation Alignment Considered for Modelling

Location : 20, 20

Water Heights (above Datum) in Mtrs. Time (hrs) Fig. 6.24 : Calibration Tide Heights

Location : 8

Fig. 6.25 : Calibration Currents

Fig. 6.26 : Spatial Current Predicted by the Model – Before Dredging

Fig. 6.27 : Spatial Current Predicted by the Model – After Dredging

Fig. 6.28 : Locations of Coral Reefs in the Modelling Domain (Adjoining Mandapam and Pambam Islands)

Fig. 6.29 : Locations of Coral Reefs in the Modelling Domain (Dhanushkodi Portion of Pambam Island)

Table 6.1 Bathymetry along Line: 1 S. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Distance (km) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Depth (m) 8.7 8.0 7.7 7.4 6.9 6.8 5.8 4.6 2.7 1.4 0.9 1.3 3.7 4.5 5.9 7.2 10.4 12.3

Table 6.2

Bathymetry along Line: 2

S. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Distance (km) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Depth (m) 9 8.6 8.3 8 7.5 6.9 6.1 4.8 3 2.2 4.1 1.5 3.3 3.6 5.2 7 6.3 12.2

Table 6.3 Bathymetry along Line: 3 S. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 19 20 11.7 Distance (km) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Depth (m) 9.2 9.3 8.9 8.4 7.9 7.6 6.7 5.1 2.9 2.5 1.6 1.1 0.5 2.5 3.3 5.7 7.7 7.2 11.7

Table 6.4 Bathymetry along Line : 4

S. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Distance (km) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Depth (m) 9.5 9.3 9.5 9.1 7.59.1 9 8.3 7.3 5.6 2.8 2.4 1.1 0.8 1.1 2.7 3.4 6.1 6.7 8.3 8.3

Table 6.5 Bathymetry along Line : 5 S. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Distance (km) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Depth (m) 10.2 9.6 9.1 9.2 8.8 8.7 8.5 7.6 6 4.4 2.1 0.7 0.9 0.2 1.7 2.2 3.7 6.6 7.6 7

Table 6.6 Dredging Requirement for 10 m Depth (9.15 m draught) and 300 m Width Channel

Quantity : million cu.m.

Section (See Fig. 6.12) Adam’s Bridge A-B (CSD) A-B (TSHD) B-C (TSHD) Total Palk Strait E1-E2 E2-E3 Total

Bed Width Quantity 7.0 3.9 9.6

Slope Quantity 0.70 0.39 0.96

Tolerance Quantity 0.60 1.3

Total Quantity

7.70 4.89 say 4.9 11.86 say 11.9 24.45 say 24.5

2.4 8.2

0.24 0.82

1.79 1.29

4.43 say 4.45 10.31 say 10.35 14.74 say 14.80

Table 6.7 Dredging Requirement for 12 m Depth (10.7 m draught) and 300 m Width Channel
Quantity : million cu.m.

Section (See Fig. 6.12) Adam’s Bridge A-B (CSD) A-B (TSHD) B-C Total Palk Strait E-E1 E1-E2 E2-E3 E3-E4 Total

Bed Width Quantity 7.0 7.5 18

Slope Quantity 0.70 0.75 1.80

Tolerance Quantity 0.60 1.3

Total Quantity

7.70 8.85 or say 8.9 21.1 37.7 or say 38

1.72 14.25 16.84 2.43

0.17 1.43 1.68 0.24

1.29 1.79 1.29 0.49

3.18 or say 3.2 17.47 or say 17.5 19.81 or say 19.8 3.16 or say 3.2 43.7 or say 44

CSD : Cutter Suction Dredger TSHD : Trailor Suction Hopper Dredger

Table 6.8 The Quantity of Dredged Material for 14 m Deep 500 Wide Channel
Quantity : million m
3

Section (See Fig. 6.12) Adam’s Bridge A-B (CSD) A-B (TSHD) B-C (TSHD) Total Palk Strait C-D D-E E-E1 E1-E2 E2-E3 E3-E4 Total Grand Total

Bed Width Quantity 11.66 18.48 44.00

Slope Quantity 1.16 1.85 4.40

Tolerance Quantity 1.0 2.17

Total Quantity

12.82 21.33 50.57 84.72 say 84.7

33.25 39.00 17.52 43.56 42.48 13.06

3.32 3.90 1.75 4.36 4.25 1.31

5.70 6.00 2.19 2.97 2.16 1.62

42.27 48.90 21.46 50.89 48.89 15.99 228.4 313.1

Table 6.9 Expected Number of Transits through Sethusamudram Channel
Rs. in Crores 7m Draught Cargo Transits (Per year) 282 120 1,306 1,708 Savings (Rs.) 39.39 11.92 16.82 68.13 9m Draught Transits (Per year) 366 120 1,306 1,792 Savings (Rs.) 51.97 11.92 16.82 80.71 11 m Draught Transits (Per Savings year) (Rs.) 522 120 1,362 2,004 75.75 11.92 19.81 107.48

POL & Specialized Cargo Dry Bulk Cargo General Cargo Total

Table 6.10 Inputs to Model for Dredged Material Disposal (12 m deep Channel)

Dredge Material Disposal in Gulf of Mannar Water Volume of dredged material Composition of dredge Volume of Silt Total nos of day Per day silt disposal Silt disposed per sec Assumed solution of silt Volume of silt solution Density of solution Concentration of silt = = = = = = = = = = = 38x106m3 95% sand and 5% silt 19,00,000 m3 200 day 19,00,000/200 = 9500 m3/d 9500 /(24*60*60) = 0.1099 m3/s 10% 0.1099/0.1 = 1.099 m3/s 0.1*1.2 +0.9*1.03 = 1.047 g/cc 0.1*1200 = 120kg/m3 1,20,000 mg/l

Table 6.11 Maximum and Minimum Tidal Current (Speed) at Locations in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar
Location Palk Bay 1 2 Gulf of Mannar 3 4 8 09o 13’ 29”.0 N 09 15’ 38”.0 N 09 08’ 25”.0 N
o o

Latitude

Longitude

Maximum speed in knots

Minimum speed in knots

09o 22’ 21”.46 N 09 16’ 15”.1 N
o

79o 21’ 03”.76 E 79 25’ 40”.0 E 79o 00’ 00”.0 E 79 11’ 02”.0 E 79 20’ 59”.1 E
o o o

0.42 0.62

0.04 0.03

0.31 0.36 0.29

0.02 0.02 0.06

Table 6.12 Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-I Before Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec 5 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 31.26 27.29 26.48 24.02 30.15 26.08 25.18 24.33 23.35 23.54 22.80 22.14 22.14 21.19 21.93 21.47 6 17.03 24.02 24.19 23.19 19.24 23.02 24.08 24.19 23.35 22.56 21.59 21.84 21.19 20.62 18.36 17.89 7 13.42 19.03 20.02 22.09 22.02 22.00 22.02 22.20 22.36 21.38 21.59 20.88 20.88 18.97 23.77 22.85 8 25.63 22.00 21.00 23.00 22.00 21.00 21.02 21.10 21.21 21.38 20.62 20.62 20.62 22.85 22.47 21.93 9 23.41 24.08 25.00 24.08 21.00 20.00 21.02 21.10 21.21 20.40 19.42 19.65 19.65 21.02 19.31 18.38 10 22.56 22.36 17.12 18.49 18.03 19.00 20.02 20.02 20.10 20.22 20.40 20.88 19.92 21.19 18.97 18.97 11 22.02 22.02 19.03 17.12 17.03 18.00 18.03 18.03 18.11 19.24 19.42 19.65 20.25 18.97 18.97 18.03 12 24.19 22.09 19.10 16.00 17.00 17.00 17.03 17.03 17.12 18.44 19.42 19.65 19.92 18.97 18.97 18.03 13 17.89 18.44 18.25 19.03 17.00 17.00 17.03 17.03 18.25 18.25 18.44 18.68 18.68 18.97 18.97 17.72 14 15.81 17.46 17.12 17.03 16.00 16.00 16.03 16.12 17.26 17.26 17.46 17.72 17.72 18.97 18.03 18.03 15 15.30 16.12 17.03 18.00 16.00 15.00 16.03 16.12 15.13 16.28 16.49 16.49 17.72 18.03 18.03 17.72 Patch-I

Direction in Degrees
5 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 277 278 281 182 276 274 277 279 280 282 285 288 288 289 294 298 6 183 272 277 277 189 272 275 277 280 283 283 286 289 293 299 297 7 297 183 273 275 183 270 273 278 280 281 283 287 287 288 292 293 8 291 270 270 270 270 270 273 275 278 281 284 284 284 293 291 294 9 290 275 270 185 270 270 273 275 278 281 282 285 285 295 288 292 10 283 280 187 194 183 270 273 273 276 279 281 287 288 289 288 288 11 273 273 183 187 183 270 273 273 276 279 282 285 290 288 288 289 12 187 185 186 270 270 270 273 273 277 283 282 285 288 288 288 289 13 207 193 189 273 270 270 273 273 279 279 283 286 286 288 288 286 14 198 193 187 273 270 270 274 277 280 280 283 286 286 288 289 289 15 191 187 183 270 270 270 274 277 278 281 284 284 286 289 289 286

Table 6.12 (Contd…)

After Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec 5 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 28.28 25.32 24.74 22 27.17 23.09 22.2 21.38 21.59 20.88 20.25 20.25 19.7 18.79 19.72 18.87 6 15 22.09 22.36 21.38 17.12 21.02 21.1 21.38 20.4 19.65 19.92 19.31 18.38 17.89 16.64 16.64 7 12.53 18.03 19.1 20.1 19.03 19.03 20.1 20.22 19.42 19.65 18.97 18.03 18.38 17.46 21.47 20.12 8 24.17 20.02 19.03 20.02 19 19.03 19.1 19.24 18.44 18.44 17.72 18.03 17.72 20.12 20.12 19.72 9 21.54 22.09 23.02 22.02 19 18.03 18.11 18.11 18.44 17.46 18.68 17.09 18.03 17.89 17.89 17 10 20.62 20.4 16.03 14.32 16 17.03 17.12 18.11 18.25 17.46 17.72 18.03 17.09 17.46 17.46 16.55 11 20.1 20.02 17.03 15.03 15 15.03 16.03 15.13 16.12 17.46 16.76 18.03 18.38 16.16 16.16 16.55 12 22.09 20.02 17.03 14 15.03 15.03 15.03 15.13 15.3 16.49 16.76 16.76 17.09 16.16 16.16 16.16 13 16.55 16.28 16.12 17.12 15.03 14.04 14.04 14.14 16.49 15.52 17.76 16.76 17.09 16.16 16.16 15.23 14 14.87 15.3 15.03 14.04 14 14.04 14.04 14.14 15.3 15.52 15.81 15.81 16.16 16.16 16.16 15.23 15 14.14 15.13 15 16 14 13.04 13.04 13.34 13.34 14.32 14.87 14.87 15.23 16.16 16.16 15.23 Patch-I

Direction in Degrees
5 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 278 279 284 270 276 275 278 281 283 287 290 290 294 295 300 302 6 270 275 280 281 187 273 275 281 281 285 288 291 292 297 303 303 7 299 183 276 276 183 273 276 279 282 285 288 289 292 294 298 297 8 294 273 273 273 270 273 276 279 283 283 286 289 286 297 297 300 9 292 275 272 183 270 273 276 276 283 283 286 291 289 298 297 298 10 284 281 184 192 270 273 277 276 279 283 286 289 291 295 294 295 11 276 273 183 184 270 274 274 278 277 283 286 289 292 291 292 295 12 185 183 183 270 274 274 274 278 281 284 287 287 291 291 292 292 13 205 191 187 277 274 274 274 278 284 285 287 287 291 291 292 293 14 200 191 184 274 270 274 274 278 281 285 285 288 292 292 292 293 15 188 188 270 270 270 274 279 283 283 282 286 290 293 293 292 293

Table 6.13

Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-II Before Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec 30 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 11 11 11 10 10 10 12 16 15 14 13 31 11 11 11 9.5 10 11 11 9.4 8.9 8.9 8.5 32 11 11 9.8 9.5 9.5 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 8.9 8.5 33 11 11 9.8 9.5 9.5 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 8.9 8.9 34 11 9.8 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 8.5 8.9 8.5 8.5 9.8 35 9.8 9.5 9.5 9.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.9 8.5 36 9.5 9.5 9.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 37 9.5 9.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 7.6 38 9.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 7.6 7.3 7.6 39 9.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 7.6 8.5 7.6 7.3 7.3 7.3 40 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 7.6 7.6 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.3 41 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 7.6 7.6 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.3 42 8.5 8.5 8.5 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.3 7.3 7.3 43 10 8.9 8.5 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.3 44 9.8 10 8.1 8.5 8.5 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.3 45 10 10 10 8.5 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 Patch-II

Direction in Degrees
30 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 292 292 292 287 287 287 290 297 293 295 297 31 292 292 292 288 287 292 297 302 297 297 291 32 292 292 294 288 288 294 294 294 294 297 291 33 292 292 294 288 288 294 294 294 294 297 297 34 292 294 288 288 288 288 291 297 291 291 294 35 294 288 288 288 291 291 291 291 291 297 291 36 288 288 288 291 291 291 291 291 291 291 291 37 288 288 291 291 291 291 291 291 291 291 293 38 288 288 291 291 291 291 291 291 293 286 293 39 288 291 291 291 291 291 291 293 286 286 286 40 291 291 291 291 291 293 293 286 286 286 286 41 291 291 291 291 293 293 286 286 286 286 286 42 291 291 291 293 293 293 293 293 286 286 286 43 299 297 291 293 293 293 293 293 293 293 286 44 294 299 300 291 291 293 293 293 283 293 286 45 299 299 299 291 293 293 293 293 293 293 293

Table 6.13(Contd…) After Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec Patch-II

30 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 8.94 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.94 9.85 13.04 12.21 11.40 7.21

31 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.60 7.81 7.81 7.21 7.21

32 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.60 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.81

33 8.06 8.06 8.06 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.81 7.81

34 8.06 8.06 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.81

35 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21

36 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21

37 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 5.83 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40

38 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 5.83 5.83 6.40 5.83 6.40 5.83 6.40

39 7.21 6.40 6.40 5.83 5.83 6.40 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83

40 6.40 6.40 6.40 5.83 6.40 6.40 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83

41 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83

42 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83 5.83

43 7.81 5.66 5.66 5.66 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 5.83

44 5.66 6.40 6.40 7.07 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40

45 5.83 8.60 7.81 7.07 7.07 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40

Direction in Degrees
30 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 297 300 300 300 300 297 294 302 305 308 304 31 300 300 300 300 300 300 306 310 310 304 304 32 300 300 300 300 300 300 306 304 304 304 310 33 300 300 300 304 304 304 304 304 304 310 310 34 300 300 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 310 35 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 36 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 304 37 304 304 304 304 304 301 309 309 309 309 309 38 304 304 304 304 301 301 309 301 309 301 309 39 304 309 309 301 301 309 301 301 301 301 301 40 309 309 309 301 309 309 301 301 301 301 301 41 309 309 309 309 309 309 309 309 301 301 301 42 310 315 315 315 309 309 309 309 309 309 301 43 315 321 321 315 309 309 309 309 309 309 309 44 315 321 321 315 309 309 309 309 309 309 309 45 329 324 320 315 315 309 309 309 309 309 309

Table 6.14 Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-III Before Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec 51 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 52 53 12.53 11.18 9.85 8.54 7.62 6.71 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.21 8.60 54 55 56 9.22 12.53 10.77 10.30 8.94 7.21 7.21 6.40 6.40 6.40 7.07 7.07 7.81 57 10.82 12.08 11.18 11.18 10.30 8.06 7.21 6.40 5.66 5.66 6.40 7.07 7.07 58 8.00 59 0.00 60 0.00 7.00 8.54 14.32 11.18 9.43 9.22 7.81 5.66 5.66 5.66 6.40 6.40 61 0.00 0.00 7.00 13.00 10.30 10.00 9.22 7.81 5.66 5.66 5.83 5.83 6.71 62 0.00 0.00 0.00 8.49 10.82 10.00 9.22 9.22 8.49 6.40 5.83 5.83 6.71 63 0.00 0.00 0.00 10.63 8.49 9.90 10.82 9.90 8.60 7.21 7.21 6.71 6.71 64 0.00 0.00 0.00 7.00 77.31 15.81 10.00 8.49 7.81 8.06 8.06 7.62 7.62 65 3.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 10.00 15.00 10.00 8.49 7.81 8.06 8.06 7.62 7.62 Patch-III

13.42 11.66 12.53 11.18 9.85 9.85 8.94 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 8.06 6.71 8.06 8.06 9.85 8.54 8.54 7.62 8.06 7.21 7.21 7.21 8.06 8.06 8.06

13.42 11.66 11.18 11.18 9.85 8.54 7.62 6.71 6.71 7.21 7.21 7.21 7.81 7.81 7.81 9.85 8.94 8.06 6.71 6.71 6.40 6.40 6.40 7.07 7.81 7.81

10.00 10.82 11.66 9.22 12.53 13.42 11.18 11.18 9.43 7.21 6.40 5.66 5.66 6.40 6.40 7.07 9.43 7.81 7.07 5.66 5.66 6.40 6.40 6.40

Direction in Degrees
51 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 297 299 294 294 297 300 300 300 300 300 297 300 300 52 301 297 294 291 291 293 300 304 304 304 300 300 300 53 299 297 294 291 293 297 304 304 304 304 304 310 306 54 297 297 294 291 293 297 297 304 304 304 310 310 310 55 301 297 294 297 300 297 297 309 309 309 315 310 310 56 311 299 292 299 297 304 304 309 309 309 315 315 310 57 326 294 297 297 299 300 304 309 315 315 321 315 315 58 0 307 301 299 297 302 304 309 315 315 321 321 315 59 0 326 311 297 297 302 310 315 315 315 321 321 321 60 0 0 339 295 297 302 311 310 315 315 315 321 321 61 0 0 0 293 299 307 311 310 315 315 329 329 333 62 0 0 0 315 304 307 311 311 315 321 329 329 333 63 0 0 0 319 315 315 304 315 324 326 326 333 333 64 0 0 0 0 315 305 307 315 320 330 330 337 337 65 270 0 0 0 0 307 307 315 320 330 330 337 337

Table 6.14 (Contd…) After Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec Patch-III

51 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 14.14 12.73 10.00 10.00 8.60 7.81 7.81 7.81 7.07 7.07 6.40 7.07 7.07

52 13.45 12.04 10.00 8.60 7.81 7.81 7.81 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.07

53 14.21 12.21 10.82 8.60 7.81 7.81 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.81 7.07

54 15.81 12.21 10.30 9.43 7.21 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.07 7.81 7.81 7.81

55 12.21 12.21 10.30 9.43 8.60 7.81 7.07 7.07 6.40 6.40 7.21 7.81 7.81

56 9.90 13.04 10.30 10.30 8.60 7.81 7.07 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 7.21 7.81

57 10.82 12.53 10.82 11.66 10.00 8.60 7.07 6.40 6.40 6.40 6.40 7.21 7.21

58 9.00 10.00 1.82 11.66 10.82 9.22 7.81 6.40 6.40 6.40 5.83 7.21 7.21

59 0.00 10.30 9.90 12.53 10.82 10.00 7.07 7.07 6.40 5.83 5.83 6.71 7.21

60 0.00 7.00 7.28 14.32 10.82 10.00 9.22 7.07 5.66 5.83 5.83 5.83 6.71

61 0.00 0.00 6.00 12.08 10.00 10.00 9.90 7.81 6.40 5.83 5.83 6.71 6.71

62 0.00 0.00 0.00 8.49 10.82 10.63 9.90 9.22 8.60 5.83 5.39 6.32 7.62

63 0.00 0.00 0.00 10.00 8.49 9.90 10.63 9.90 8.60 7.21 7.62 7.62 7.62

64 0.00 0.00 0.00 7.00 11.31 15.00 10.00 8.49 8.60 8.06 8.06 7.62 7.62

65 5.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 9.00 14.21 10.00 8.49 7.21 7.62 8.54 8.54 8.25

Direction in Degrees
51 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 315 315 307 307 306 310 310 310 315 315 309 315 315 52 312 312 307 306 310 310 310 315 315 315 315 315 315 53 309 305 304 306 310 310 315 315 315 315 315 320 315 54 305 305 299 302 304 315 315 315 315 315 320 320 320 55 305 305 299 302 306 310 315 315 321 321 326 320 320 56 315 302 299 299 306 310 315 321 321 321 321 326 320 57 326 299 304 301 307 306 315 321 321 321 321 326 326 58 0 307 304 301 304 311 310 321 321 321 329 326 326 59 0 331 315 299 304 307 315 315 321 329 329 333 326 60 0 0 344 295 304 307 311 315 315 329 329 329 333 61 0 0 0 294 307 307 315 320 321 329 329 333 333 62 0 0 0 315 304 311 315 319 324 329 338 342 337 63 0 0 0 323 315 315 311 315 324 326 337 337 337 64 0 0 0 0 315 307 307 315 324 330 330 337 337 65 270 0 0 0 0 309 307 315 326 337 339 339 346

Table 6.15 Speed and Direction of Currents for Patch-IV Before Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec Patch-IV

51 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 23.35 13.34 13.00 13.93 13.00 13.93 15.23 18.03 21.19 23.41 25.63

52 13.60 13.00 9.85 9.49 10.20 13.34 18.11 21.10 22.80 24.35 25.30

53 6.08 8.06 5.39 4.12 7.07 13.04 23.00 24.08 24.33 24.19 25.08

54 0.00 7.07 1.41 1.41 3.00 11.00 32.02 27.17 25.71 25.71 27.46

55 0.00 3.00 1.00 2.00 9.06 25.02 30.07 27.17 26.31 26.48 31.26

56 0.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 28.07 29.15 26.17 25.32 26.31 17.46

57 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 2.00 27.17 28.16 24.19 21.21 12.65 13.00

58 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 15.30 18.25 21.10 20.22 13.60 24.52

59 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 11.40 10.44 14.32 19.24 21.10 28.28 22.56

60 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 19.24 19.24 18.25 20.22 22.09 22.09 22.36

61 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 18.25 19.24 19.10 21.10 22.09 22.09 22.20

62 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 19.24 22.20 24.08 24.08 23.09 21.10 24.08

63 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 16.12 11.40 11.40 13.15 16.12 19.10 16.12

64 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 16.12 12.17 12.37 12.37 11.18 12.17 15.13

65 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 12.17 12.17 12.17 12.17 13.15 14.14 15.13

Direction in Degrees
51 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 350 347 337 339 337 339 337 341 341 340 339 52 343 337 336 342 349 347 354 355 345 341 342 53 351 353 338 346 352 356 0 85 81 83 85 54 0 352 315 225 0 0 88 84 77 77 80 55 0 0 0 180 84 88 86 84 81 79 83 56 0 90 90 90 90 86 84 83 81 81 77 57 90 90 90 90 90 84 84 83 82 72 67 58 90 90 90 90 90 79 81 85 82 73 78 59 90 90 90 90 90 73 78 81 85 82 77 60 90 90 90 90 90 81 81 82 85 85 80 61 90 90 90 90 90 81 84 85 85 85 82 62 90 90 90 90 90 82 83 85 85 85 85 63 90 90 90 90 90 75 75 81 83 84 83 64 90 90 90 90 90 81 76 76 80 81 82 65 90 90 90 90 90 81 81 81 81 82 82

Table 6.15 (Contd…) After Dredging
Currents Speed in cms/sec Patch-IV

51 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 4.47 3.16 5.39 5.39 5.39 6.40 7.81 8.49 8.60 12.04 13.45

52 4.00 5.10 4.12 3.16 2.00 3.61 3.61 5.39 10.00 16.12 17.00

53 3.16 2.24 2.83 1.41 1.41 1.00 1.00 4.47 10.77 15.30 20.10

54 0.00 1.41 2.24 3.16 5.00 6.00 8.06 9.49 10.82 10.82 10.30

55 1.00 0.00 1.00 3.00 4.12 5.10 6.32 7.62 8.06 7.81 7.21

56 1.00 1.00 1.41 2.24 3.61 4.47 5.00 5.00 6.40 5.66 5.66

57 1.41 1.41 1.00 2.00 2.24 3.61 3.61 3.61 4.24 5.00 5.83

58 1.41 1.41 1.41 2.24 3.16 3.00 3.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00

59 2.24 2.24 2.24 2.83 3.61 3.16 3.61 4.24 3.61 4.47 5.66

60 2.24 2.24 2.24 2.83 3.61 3.16 3.61 4.24 3.61 4.47 5.66

61 2.24 3.16 3.16 3.61 4.24 4.24 3.61 4.47 4.47 5.39 5.83

62 3.16 3.16 3.16 3.16 4.47 5.00 5.00 5.39 5.39 5.39 5.39

63 4.12 4.12 3.16 4.12 4.47 5.83 5.83 6.32 5.39 5.39 5.39

64 4.12 4.12 5.10 5.10 5.39 6.32 6.71 7.62 6.32 6.32 5.39

65 5.10 5.10 5.10 5.10 6.32 7.28 7.28 8.25 8.25 8.25 8.25

Direction in Degrees
51 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 339 297 288 292 292 292 309 310 315 306 318 318 52 270 191 194 198 270 304 326 338 323 330 332 53 252 243 225 225 225 270 0 63 68 79 84 54 0 315 333 342 0 0 83 72 56 56 61 55 180 0 0 0 76 79 72 67 60 50 56 56 180 90 45 63 56 63 53 53 51 45 45 57 135 135 90 90 27 34 34 34 45 37 31 58 135 135 135 117 108 90 90 90 90 90 90 59 153 153 153 117 108 108 124 124 135 117 112 60 153 153 153 135 124 108 124 135 146 153 135 61 153 162 162 146 135 135 146 153 153 158 149 62 162 162 162 162 153 143 143 158 158 158 158 63 166 166 162 166 153 149 149 162 158 158 158 64 166 166 169 169 158 162 153 157 162 162 158 65 169 169 169 169 162 164 164 166 166 166 166

7. Environmental Management Plan
7.1
7.1.1

Construction Phase
Acquisition of Land for Onshore Facilities Requirement of land in coastal areas of Ramnathpuram and Rameshwaram

towns has been envisaged by Tuticorin Port Trust for construction of administrative buildings, residential quarters, facilities for mobilizing and monitoring of construction activities in Adams Bridge area. The majority of land in Pamban island belongs to Govt.; however the fishermen inhabit the coasts in Dhanushkody and Arimunai area. Though land requirement has been minimized due to shifting of canal alignment, displacement of fisherman in Dhanushkody and Arimunai is envisaged during

construction phase. A proper rehabilitation plan will be drawn for fishermen during construction phase and maximum land will be returned to users after the construction activities are completed. 7.1.2 Dredging Activity Major phase of construction will involve dredging in Adam’s Bridge area resulting into generation of 38 million cu. m. of dredged spoil. From the shallow seismic data, it is observed that 0.5 to 1 m sea bottom comprise clay and silt followed by hard and soft sand upto a depth of 12.0 m below CD. It is proposed to use 7 to 8 million m3 of dredged spoil for nourishment of coastal area for its consolidation using clay, silt and sand present in excavated material. The degraded areas of Pamban island are proposed to be reclaimed using a portion of dredged spoil. The land thus reclaimed will be developed for vegetation and partially for habitation. Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT) in consultation with state authorities will identify area which can be acquired for development. These areas after development will be used for habitation and greenbelt plantation. A provision for budget to resettle the fishermen as well vegetation will be made by TPT. Balance dredged spoil, about 30 million cu.m. will be transported for disposal to sea at a location having depths ranging from 30 to 40 m and atleast 20 km away from Gulf of Mannar marine national park. Adequate distance from international medial

line will also be maintained. This is to prevent impacts on ecologically sensitive coastal areas in GOM and to minimize transboundary effects. About 44 million m3 of dredged material generation is envisaged during dredging in Palk Bay and Palk Strait area Dredge material will not be disposed in Palk Bay. It is proposed to dispose this material in Bay of Bengal at suitable depth (more than 25 m bathymetry) in open sea so as to avoid any impacts on coastal areas particularly in the vicinity of Point Calimere. This would involve high lead distances (between 30 & 60 km) for disposal vessel requiring higher investments on costs. During excavation and transportation of dredged spoil, fishing communities will be informed about the schedule so as to minimize impacts on fishing activities. During transportation of dredged spoil, precautionary measures will be taken to avert collision of ships with fishing boats, damage to fishing nets and also to marine animals crossing the path of the vessel/barges. During dredging activities, the equipments, vessels, barges required for dredging and transportation of dredged spoil will be maintained in secured area and spillage of oil or any toxic material including paints, anticorrosive agents etc. will not be allowed to spill in sea/coastal waters. Movement of barges for transporting dredged spoil to land area will not interfere with movement of fishing boats in both Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay region adjoining the Adam’s Bridge. During dredging and disposal activities monitoring of marine environmental quality be periodically done to assess the impact of dredging and disposal on water quality with respect to suspended solids load. It is also recommended that existing jetties at Rameshwaram which only cater to fishing activities presently should be augmented to cater to the requirement of handling dredging activities in Adam Bridge and Palk Bay area. This would provide fisherman with better facilities to operate during adverse tidal conditions. Transportation of construction material in the vicinity of Adam’s Bridge will be by sea route using the available navigational depths of heavy machinery. Transportation During transportation of heavy equipments and machinery by road, care will be taken to avoid traffic hazard, traffic congestion and if required roads will be augmented to meet the conditions of hazard free transportation.

7.2
7.2.1

Operational Phase
Route Alignment The proposed navigation route in Gulf of Mannar will be about 20 km from all

the 21 islands except Van Tiu which is about 9 km from Tuticorin Harbour. These islands falling in marine national park are ecologically sensitive due to presence of diverse flora and fauna. With a view to minimize impacts of developmental activity on this marine national park, the canal alignment in Gulf of Mannar is suggested in such a way that only navigational depths will be used hence no dredging activity will be required. The alignment in this region will be at depths greater than 20 m and would keep a distance of about 20 km from marine national park. The ships originating from TPT will however be about 9 km away from Van Tiu and later take a designated navigation route once out of Tuticorin harbour area. Ship traffic bypassing Tuticorin Port will maintain a distance of more than 20 km from biosphere reserves throughout the transit in Gulf of Mannar and Adam’s Bridge. In Adam’s Bridge area the 300 m wide channel will be along line no. 2 for which bathymetry was studied (pl. refer Fig. 2.48) 7.2.2 Discharges from Ships All the ships originating from Tuticorin Port will comply to Marpol Conventional 1973/78 and CPCB regulations for discharge of bilge, ballast, effluents etc. into sea. However keeping in view the sensitivity of the region, ships will not be allowed to discharge any effluents viz. bilge, ballast, treated sewage, deck washings, oily wastes, spillages etc. into sea so that water quality and living organisms are not affected. The traffic of ships carrying crude oil will be handled with strict vigilance so as to avoid possibility of spillage. Tuticorin port has been handling oil ships for last 25 years and not a single incidence of oil spill has been reported. The oil spill contingency plan in operation at TPT will be extended to navigation in new channel. It is suggested that a pilot should board the vessel from Tuticorin to navigate ship through GOM area up to Bengal Channel in Palk Bay. This will help in keeping vigil on discharges from ship as well as ship movement so that it would not drift towards marine park area. Traditional fishing using mechanised and non mechanised boats will not get affected as width of canal will be 300 m and rest of the sea is available for fishing. The channel will be properly marked by navigational light buoys. Accidents by collision of

ships with fishing boats will be totally prevented by slowing down the cruise speed and also alerting the fisherman by cautionary measures. During implementation and operational phases of the project, TPT will take action to avoid the collisions of ships with fishing boats or damage to fishing nets with cooperation from fishing communities, Navy, Coast Guards and other Govt. authorities. Suitable timings apart from ship transit will be given for fishermen to continue with their fishing activities. With the deepening of channel in Adam’s Bridge area it would be possible for fishermen to access fishing area in Gulf of Mannar from Palk Bay and Vice-Versa. No special permission would be required by fishermen to use the transit. It is recommended that TPT will provide a corridor both in terms of space and time to fishermen living in coastal areas of Rameshwaram, Mandapam and Ramnathpuram to access the canal for moving across the ridge from Palk bay to Gulf of Mannar and Vice-versa. Tuticorin Port Trust, keeping in view the sensitive coastal ecology, would ensure that there will not be any open sea accidents and ships will follow a defined sea waterway and the national and international regulations on safe navigation to avoid any oil spill. The defaulters will be punished with fines and imprisonment. An environmental watcher will board every ship that will transit the canal along with the pilot at Tuticorin to caution the ships about movement of fishes and marine animals, particularly movement of mammals, dolphins, sea cow, turtles etc. to prevent any damage to this biological wealth of Gulf of Mannar. Movement of fishing boats, placement of fishing nets will be watched by both pilot who also will be responsible on behalf of TPT to prevent any discharges from ships. The traffic management along the canal will be controlled by TPT. The port currently handles 1600 ships per annum at TPT. The traffic projected with 9.15 m draft will be 1792 whereas for 10.7 m draft it will be slightly more. Hence there will be marginal increase in traffic. Management facilities at TPT will be augmented to handle the increased traffic. TPT will ensure following from the ships transiting the canal : • Ships should not use paints, anti corrosive agents of toxic nature on ship bottoms • All the ships berthing at TPT will have sewage treatment facilities however no ship will be allowed to discharge treated sewage in Gulf of Mannar area

• Ships bypassing TPT and transiting the canal will also be inspected for its navigational safety measures before it is allowed to enter the canal alignment. 7.2.3 Maintenance Dredging Maintenance dredging of about 0.1 million m3 per year is envisaged in the Adam’s Bridge area and about 0.45 million m3 in Palk Bay area totalling to 0.55 million m3 for centre channel based on data available for sediment transport across Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. The dredged material will be mostly silt and clay and will not be disposed in sea. Instead it will be used to reclaim degraded areas on Pamban island, Ramnad and Mandapam coastal stretches. The studies carried out by NSDRC signifies that the region around Adam’s Bridge forms an significant sink for the littoral drift. The prolonged accumulation in the area may lead to the emergence of new islands. In case of occurrence of cyclones in Gulf of Mannar, such prolonged deposition of sediments move north and enter Palk Bay through Pamban Pass and Adam’s Bridge. Once the sediment enter the Palk Bay, the environmental conditions favours immediate deposition. Hence the occurrence of cyclones in Gulf of Mannar and the associated northerly waves might exchange more sediment from the southern part of Peninsular India to Northern parts of east coast. Thus the quantity of maintenance dredged spoil will increase in the channel across Adam’s Bridge in the event of cyclones. To cater to increase in trade envisaged due to this project and to transfer benefit to local fisherman, a minor port facility can be created at Rameshwaram in consultation with state authorities. An oil spill contingency plan will be drawn by Tuticorin Port Trust with preparedness to prevent spread of oil or any cargo spillage in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay and its immediate recovery by deploying equipments and ships.

7.3
7.3.1

Summary of Environmental Management Plan
Construction Phase • No dredging will be done in Gulf of Mannar except in Adam’s Bridge area

Alignment of navigation route in Gulf of Mannar will be minimum km away from marine national park

20

Land acquired for mobilization and monitoring of activity will be returned to users after completion of dredging activity

A proper rehabilitation plan for the fisherman at Dhanushkody will be drawn during construction phase

Dredged spoil comprising clay and sand upto 2 m of dredging depth will be used for reclaiming degraded land in Pamban island, subject to approval to under CRZ regulation. Balance dredged spoil will be disposed in sea at a depth 30-40 m, 20-25 km away from Gulf of Mannar islands. Dredged spoil generated in Palk Strait / Palk Bay area will be disposed in open sea in Bay of Bengal at depth more than 25-40 m, 30-60 km away from dredging area

• •

Safe distance from international medial line will be maintained During dredging activities, the equipments, vessels, barges required for dredging and transportation of dredged spoil will be maintained in secured area and spillage of oil or any toxic material including paints, anticorrosive agents etc. will not be allowed to spill in sea/coastal waters

Movement of barges for transporting dredged spoil to land area will not interfere with movement of fishing boats in both Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay region adjoining the Adam’s Bridge • It is also recommended that existing jetties at Rameshwaram which only cater to fishing activities presently should be augmented to cater to the requirement of handling dredging activities in Adam Bridge and Palk Bay area • Transportation of heavy machinery and construction material in the vicinity of Adam's Bridge will be by sea route using the available navigational depths

During transportation of heavy equipments and machinery by road, care will be taken to avoid traffic hazard, traffic congestion and if required roads will be augmented to meet the conditions of hazard free transportation.

7.3.2

Operational Phase • All the ships originating from Tutitcorin Port will comply to International Maritime Standards and follow MARPOL convention (MARPOL 73/78) • Discharge of bilge, ballast, treated sewage, solid wastes, oily wastes and spillage of cargo will not be allowed in the Gulf of Mannar area • The traffic of crude oil tankers will be allowed in this route with strict vigilance so as to avoid any possibilities of spillage in this region • It will be ensured that ships navigating in this region should not use such paints and anticorrosive agents on ship bottom which can cause damage to marine organisms • A pilot should be trained or environmental watcher will board the ship to watch marine animals viz. turtle, dolphins, sea cow etc. in the region and navigate the ship safely avoiding any damage to this fauna. • It will be ensured that all the ships berthing at TPT as well as all those using the route without touching TPT will have proper treatment facilities for sewage however discharge of treated sewage will not be permitted in GOM area • Ships bypassing TPT and transiting the channel will be inspected for its navigational safety measures before it is allowed to enter proposed navigation route • An oil spill contingency plan will be drawn by Tuticorin Port Trust with preparedness to prevent spread of spillage in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay area and its immediate recovery by deploying equipments and ships • To benefit large fishing communities in the coastal area of Ramnathpuram and Rameshwaram, a corridor both in terms of space

and time be provided to fisherman to use the channel in Adam’s Bridge area for moving across Palk Bay to GOM and vice versa for fishing activity • The jetties at Rameshwaram are in dilapidated conditions. A programme to construct a few Jetties at Pamban island to augment fishing activity in the region be supported by TPT • The traffic of ships carrying crude oil will be handled with strict vigilance so as to avoid possibility of spillage • The oil spill contingency plan in operation at TPT will be extended to navigation activities in new channel • A pilot will board the vessel from either from Rameshwaram or appropriate place to navigate ship through GOM area up to Bengal Channel in Palk Bay • • The channel will be properly marked by navigational light buoys Accidents by collision of ships with fishing boats will be totally prevented by slowing down the cruise speed and also alerting the fisherman by cautionary measures. During implementation and operational phases of the project, TPT will take action to avoid the collisions of ships with fishing boats or damage to fishing nets with cooperation from fishing communities, Navy, Coast Guards and other Govt. authorities • Suitable timings apart from ship transit will be given for fishermen to continue with their fishing activities • A corridor both in terms of space and time will be provided to fishermen living in coastal areas of Rameshwaram, Mandapam and

Ramnathpuram to access the channel for moving across the ridge from Palk bay to Gulf of Mannar and Vice-versa • Maintenance dredging of about 0.55 million m3 per year is envisaged in the channel based on data available for sediment transport across Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar

To cater to increase in trade envisaged due to this project and to transfer benefit to local fisherman, a minor port facility can be created at Rameshwaram in consultation with state authorities.

8. Bibliography
1. Agastheesapillai, A and Thiagarajan, R, Biology of the green turtle Chelonia mydas (linnaeus) in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay, J. Mar Fish, Res. Inst., 1979, 21, 4560 2. Vekatraman, a, Badrudeen M and Thiagarajan, R, Population dynamics of silverbelly leiognathus jonesi in Palk Bay, Indian J. Fish, 1981, 28, 1-2 65-86. 3. Pillai, N. G. ; Sathiadhas, R., Pair trawling strikes good grounds for white pomfret in the Palk Bay, Tamil Nadu, Mar. Fish. Inf. SERV. Tech. Ext. Ser, 1982, 39, 1-6. 4. Hamsa, K. M. S. A., Fishery of the swimming crab Portunus pelagicus linnaeus from Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. Indian. J. Fish. 1978, 25, 1-2, 229-233 5. Thomas, M. M. Food and feeding habits of Penaeus semisulcatus de Haan at mandapam. Indian - J, Fish. 1980, 27, 1-2, 130-139. 6. Ameer Hamsa, K. M. S., Some forminfera from the Palk Bay. J.- Mar, Biol. Assoc. India. 1976. 18, 3, 655-657. 7. Nair P. N. R., Badrudeen, M (Mandapam Reg. Centre, CMFR Inst. Mandapam, Camp. India) On the occurrence of the soft-shelled turtle, Pelochelys bibroni (Owen) in the marine environment. Indian -J- Fish., 1975, 22(1-2), 270-274. 8. Devanah, M. Nammalwar, P. Thiagarajan, T., Record of the Sunfish Masturus oxyuropterus (Bleeker) from the Indian Coast. J- Mar, Biol, Assoc., India 1976, 18, 3, 664-666.

9.

Alagarswami, K.; Dharmaraj, S.; Velayudhan, T. S.; Chellam, A.; Victor, A. C.C., Emmbryonic and early larval development of pearl oyster Pinctada fucata (Gould). Proceedings of the symposium on coastal Aquacul ture, Cochin. January 12-18, 1980, 6, 598-603.

10.

Dharmaraj, S.; Chellam, A., Settlement and growth of barnacle and associated fouling organisms in pearl culture farm in the Gulf of Mannar. Proceedings of the Symposium on Coastal Aquaculture, Cochin from January 12-18. 1980 part II, 6, 608-613.

11.

Thomas, M.M., On a collection of deep sea decapod crustaceans from the Gulf of Manar. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. India, 1979, 21, 1&2, 41-44.

12.

Agastheesapillai, A.; Thiagarajan, R. Biology of the green turtle Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus) in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay. J - Mar. Biol. Assoc. India, 1979, 21, 1-2, 45-60.

13.

James, P.S.B.R.; Soundarajan, R. On a sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus stranded at Krusadai Island in the Gulf of Mannar. With an up to date list and diagnostic features of whales stranded along the Indian Coast. J - Mar. Biol. Assoc. India, 1979, 21, 1-2, 17-40.

14.

Marichamy, R.; Siraimeetan, P. Hydrobiological studies in the coastal waters of Tuticorin, Gulf of Mannar. J - Mar. Biol. Assoc. India, 1979, 21, 1-2, 67-76.

15.

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Environmental Impact Assessment for Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project

Executive Summary
1.0 Introduction
India does not have, within her own territorial waters, a continuous navigable route around the peninsula due to the presence of a shallow (1.5 to 3.5 m depth) ridge called ‘Adam’s Bridge’ between Pamban island on south-eastern coast of India and Talaimannar of Sri Lanka. While Rameshwaram is a major pilgrim centre on Pamban island, the tip of the island is marked by Arimunai. Consequently, the ships calling at ports on the east coast of India have to go around Sri Lanka entailing an additional distance of about 254-424 nautical miles and about 21-36 hours of ship time. The Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project under the consideration of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, envisages creation of a ship navigation channel to suit different draughts (9.15 m, 10.7 m and 12.8m) through dredging/excavation in Adam’s Bridge, parts of Palk Bay and Palk Strait. The navigation route will originate from the Tuticorin new harbour in the Gulf of Mannar (GOM) using available navigation depths (> 20 m) up to south east of Pamban Island, pass through a channel created in Adams Bridge within the International boundary and proceed parallel to the International Medial Line for fishing rights as the Bengal Channel. In Palk Bay area availability of depths in middle channel, capital dredging across Adams Bridge and in Palk Strait and continuous maintenance dredging along the proposed transit are the critical project related issues. The routes selected through earlier studies particularly in Gulf of Mannar area have been rejected, keeping in view sensitivity along the coastal stretch of GOM harbouring marine national park. Instead a navigation route keeping a minimum 6-8 km distance from Van Tiu near Tuticorin and more than 20 km from Shingle in Adams Bridge approach area has been suggested.

Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT), the nodal agency identified by Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India for the implementation of the project in pursuance of its decision to incorporate environmental considerations in the design phase of the project, retained, in March 2002, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the project. This report presents briefly the project setting, describes the baseline environmental status of the project area, identifies environmental issues, predicts and evaluates impacts due to the proposed project and delineates environmental management plan to mitigate potential adverse impacts. The EIA study has primarily drawn upon the available information on the proposed project, the hydrography, marine water quality and ecological resources in the project area, and the primary data generated during the course of study. This environmental impact assessment study with intensive data collection has resulted into fuller description and appreciation of the natural processes occurring in the study area, and delineates the environmental consequences including the ecological risk associated with the proposed project with or without proper environmental management plan.

2.0

Project
The proposed Sethusamudram ship channel will have two legs, one near the

Point Calimere called the Bay of Bengal Channel and the other across the Adams Bridge. The Bay of Bengal Channel traverses the Palk Bay wherein the sea-bed is mostly soft to hard clayey-sand in nature. Some hard strata has been reported beneth the soft sand during recent survey by the National Hydrographic Office, Dehradun. The area adjoining Adma’s Bridge, Dhanushkody Peninsula on the North and the South is reported to be sandy by National Ship Design Research Centre (NSDRC), Visakhapatnam during their survey in connection with this project. While navigational depths will be used in Gulf of Mannar from Tuticorin Port to Adam’s Bridge area, a 20 km long, 300 m wide channel with 10.7 m draught with two way controlled traffic is proposed to be created as ultimate phase by dredging shallow area of Adam’s Bridge upto 12 m depth. Similar excavation will be done in Palk Strait and adjoining parts of Palk Bay to achieve the required depth over a stretch of around 36 km and 18 km respectively. A control station, administrative building and Vessel

Traffic Management System (VTMS) is proposed to be located at Rameshwaram island between Dhanushkodi and Koil Nagar village to control navigation, besides other infrastructure including administrative requirements.

3.0

Environmental Regulations
At the National level, the environmental clearance to the project is subject to

compliance with the stipulated safeguards under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1975; The Water (Prevention and Control Pollution) Cess Act, 1977. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981; and other rules and regulations in force. Land use on the coastline will be subject to regulation as per the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India in 1991 and subsequent amendments under the Environmental Protection Act. This notification is administered by the State Department of Environment and Forests. The Wildlife (Protection) Act of India (1972) provides legal protection to many marine animals including reef associated organisms. Chapter IV of this Act dealing with Sanctuaries, National Parks etc. is equally applicable to marine reserves, marine national parks and biosphere reserves. The Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve (GOMMBR) has been notified in 1989 through an executive communication from the Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu. During the operational phase of the project, the most important instrument to be complied relates to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78) for which India is a signatory.

4.0
4.1
4.1.1

Key Findings
Environmental Status
Marine Environment

The Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar covering an area of 10,500 sq. km in which the proposed ship channel is to be created are biologically rich and rated among the highly productive seas of the world. Its diversity is considered globally significant. In the Gulf of Mannar, between the coast line and the proposed alignment, there are 21 islands which have been declared as National Marine Parks by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department and the MoEF, Government of India. While the proposed channel alignment in the Tuticorin Port area shall be about

6 km from Van Tiu the nearest island, in Adam’s Bridge area it will be about 20 km from Shingle Island which is a part of National Marine Park. The data on physico-chemical characteristics and marine biological resources was collected from various sampling stations in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay. Primary data on physico-chemical characteristics of marine water shows no significant variation in alkalinity (102-106 mg/l) and pH (8.0-8.2) along the proposed channel alignment. The DO values varied from 3.2 to 5.7 mg/l and the silicates from 0.003 mg/l to 0.017 mg/l. No significant variation in salinity is observed between surface and bottom samples. An inverse relationship between salinity and silicates has been observed. The nitrate concentrations vary from 0.78 mg/l to 1.1 mg/l. Data from secondary sources in coastal areas of Palk Bay near Palk strait shows pH ~ 8.2, D.O. 5.8-6.5 mg/l and Total nitrogen content of 0.4 mg/l. Sediment samples collected along the proposed channel alignment show the presence of organic carbon, total nitrogen, total phosphorous and sulphates in concentrations adequate for biological growth. Almost all the sediment samples show presence of oil & grease. The concentrations of heavy metals are high in some of the sediments in the Palk Bay as compared to other locations. Biological Resources The gross primary productivity along the proposed channel alignment vary from 142 to 472 mgC/m3/day indicating that the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay are biologically productive regions. The zooplankton are dominated by copepod. Macrobenthos represented by 78 varieties exhibit fairly good diversity. The meiofauna comprised larval polychaetes, nematodes and worms. The corals along the proposed channel alignment in Adam’s Bridge do not exist though major groups of biological resources like sea fan, sponges, pearl oysters,

chanks and holothuroids at various sampling points have been recorded. In general, the density of economically/ecologically important species along the proposed alignment is not significant. All the three groups of prochordata organisms, considered as the connecting link between invertebrates and vertebrates, viz., hemichordata, cephalochordata and urochordata comprising 1, 6 and 59 species respectively have been recorded around the islands of the Gulf of Mannar. There are 87 fish landing stations between the south of Point Calimere and Pumban in the Palk Bay, and 40 stations in the Gulf of Mannar between Pamban and Tuticorin. Out of over 600 varieties of fishes recorded in this area, 200 are commercially important. During 1992-1996, the fish production has increased gradually from 55,325 tonnes in 1992 to 2,05,700 tonnes in 2001. Biodiversity Non-conventional fishing in the region is represented by pearl, chank, sea weeds, ornamental shells and holothurians. There has been a declining trend in the production of these organisms as evidenced by the revenue received by MPEDA. Rare and endangered species of sea turtle, dolphin, sea cow and whale are recorded in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. The sea cow inhabitates the shallow shore regions where grasses occur, while other endangered animals mostly prefer deep sea. Several species of green algae (32), brown algae (35), red algae (59), blue green algae (3) and sea grasses are recorded in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. A few of the 21 islands are reported to possess patches of mangroves predominated by Avicennia sp. And Rhizophora sp. Most of the habitats of the sensitive biota, viz., corals, pearl oysters, chanks, sea cow, holothuroids and marine algae are along the coast and around the 21 islands, and mostly away from the proposed canal alignment. Point calimore wild life sanctuary sprawling over 17.26 sq. km. Area comprising tidal swamp, dry evergreen forests and mangroves is located in coastal areas of Palk strait in Nagapattinam District. The sanctuary is bestowed with population of varied wildlife such as Chital, Wild Bear, Bannet, Macaque, Black Buck,

Flamingoes, Teals, Gulls Tems, Plovers and Stilts, Dolphins and Turtles are seen close to shore area. 4.1.2 Land Environment Based on an analysis and interpretation of IRS IC LISS-III satellite data, merged with PAN data, degraded area in Pamban island has been delineated for anticipated disposal of dredged material to the extent possible with prior approval under CRZ regulations. A large stretch about 753 hectare, of such land between Rameshwaram and Dhanushkody is available. There are no archaeologically significant structures along the proposed channel alignment. However, there are apprehensions of encountering cultural/ archaeological artifacts during the excavation of the channel though borehole data generated by the National Ship Design Research Centre (NSDRC) does not support such a situation. 4.1.3 Socio-economic Environment Along the coast in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay there are 138 villages and towns belonging to 5 districts. The socio-economic profile of the

fishermen in the villages of Gulf of Mannar coast is low, and more than 40% of families are in debt. The local people are of concern that the creation of channel would result in the reduction of their income due to fishery.

4.2

Oceanographic Status
The hydrodynamic studies of the seabed in Adam’s Bridge and its adjoining

area have been carried out in May 2003 and February 2004 by retaining the services of National Ship Design Research Centre (NSRDC), Vishakhapatnam. The hydrographic charts bearing nos. 1584, 1586, 1587, 2069, 2197 and 96 have been referred while conducting the surveys. There are two circulations of water masses observed in the Bay of Bengal, the clockwise circulation in south-west monsoon and the counter clockwise circulation in the north-east monsoon. The tidal variations are between 0.05 to 0.7 m. The current velocities in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar are as mild as 0.2 - 0.4 m/s except

on few days during south-west monsoon when it rises upto 0.7 m/s. Water currents follow the directions of predominant winds. The analysis of current data shows no potential threats to siltation of channel. It is observed that during southwest monsoon the sediments move from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay and during fair weather the direction reverses. In annual cycle, a net exchange of 6000 m3 of sediment is found to move from Palk Bay to Gulf of Mannar through Pamban pass and 25000 m3 of sediment moves from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay through Arimunai. Geological strata in Adam’s Bridge area shows soft and hard sand upto 12 m with particle size varying from 65 to 600 µm. The bathymetry varies from 0.6 to 6.3 m. Depth in Palk strait averages to about 8 m. The hydrographic survey of Palk Bay and Palk strait area has been carried out during Jan. 25 Feb. 18, 2004 by the Naval Hydrographic

Department of National Hydrographic Office (NHO). According to the findings of NHO, the seabed in this region comprises of sand and mud with few broken shells. The depth contours in the sea are in agreement with those depicted on the existing navigational chart no. 358. While navigable depth (more than 12 m) will be used in about 78 km stretch in Palk Bay, a sizable stretch (about 54 km) will require to be dredged in Palk Strait and adjoining area. Subbottom profile studies indicate that though the upper layer of sediment is made up of mud and sand, there is some hard strata under the soft sediment. This hard strata if discovered to be rock, if would require blasting at the time of dredging to achieve the desired draught. The tides in the area are not similar. Both semi-diurnal and diurnal tides are observed at the tidal station set up. The range of spring tides vary between 0.4 to 0.7 m. The current in the area is N-S direction with speeds varying from 0.08 to 0.8 m/s and may reach 1.8 m/s (4 kt) in spring. No wrecks and obstruction have been observed during the survey.

5.0
5.1

Impacts due to the Project
Impacts on Landbased Facilities
The project envisages construction of shore facilities to cater the needs of

channel in Adam’s Bridge area, viz. service jetties, slipways, buoy yard, repair workshop as also staff and administration buildings for facilitating regulated traffic in the vicinity of Adam’s bridge area. The locations of land-based structures, and the

extent of area required for their construction is required to be identified on Pamban island in consultation with local authorities. Most of the land east of Rameshwaram is barren and covered by sand and scant vegetation. There are few hamlets at Arimunai and Dhanushkodi who are engaged in fishing. These fisherman will be displaced in the event the land based facilities are planned in this area. Temporary displacement of these fisherman is envisaged. A BSF check post will also be temporarily affected. Land on Pamban island has also been identified for disposal of dredged material (silt / clay / sand). The land cover, landuse as also the ownership of sites required for the project related activities will be firmed up once the modus-operendi of traffic regulation in channel is finalized. Hence, the extent of land acquisition, the need for resettlement and rehabilitation of affected population, if any, can not be assessed at this juncture. However, given the fact that channel will cut across the Adam’s Bridge area, the impacts on land based facilities would be negligible in comparison to that envisaged in earlier studies where land locked canal cutting through Pumban Island was proposed. During the construction of the ship channel, it is anticipated that considerable sea-borne activity in the form of logistic and support services would take place. This would have significant adverse impact on the traditional fishing activities by the licensed fisher folk and consequently on their income levels.

5.2

Impacts on Productivity and Ecology in GOM/Palk Bay
As the proposed alignment in Gulf of Mannar is more than 20 km away from

the existing 21 islands in National Marine Parks in the Gulf of Mannar, the marine biological resources around these islands will not be affected to any significant level. The existing level of primary productivity in the project area will remain practically unaltered during the construction and operation phases of the channel. There would not be any significant change in water quality including turbidity due to the proposed deployment of cutter suction/trailor suction hopper dredgers for capital and maintenance dredging. Due to dredging the bottom flora and fauna on an area about 6 sq. km along the channel alignment in Adams Bridge and about 16-17 sq.km in Palk Bay/Palk Strait area will be lost permanently. This loss, however, will be very insignificant compared to the total area of 10,500 sq. km of the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve.

In Adam’s Bridge area about 38 million m3 of dredge spoil comprising about 7-8 million m3 clay silt will be generated for achieving 12 m depth for 300 m wide channel including allowances for slope and tolerance. It is proposed that spoil containing a mixture of clay and sand will be disposed on degraded areas of Pamban island for reclaiming the land subject to approval of Forest and Environment Department (TN) for use of area falling under CRZ as dumping of wastes in CRZ area is not permissible activity. Balance 30 million m3 spoil containing mainly sand (particle size 125 µm to 600 µm) will be discharged in sea 25 km away from the dredging area keeping safe distance from medial line at depths varying from 30-40 m to minimise the impact. In the event of restricting the channel to 10 m depth to suit vessels with 9.15 m draught, the quantity of dredged spoil will reduce by 13.5 million m3 and material required to be disposed in sea will be 16-17 million m3 instead of 30 million m3 as envisaged for 12 m depth. This would further minimize impacts on sea bed due to disposal of dredged spoil. In Palk Bay area, about 44 million m3 of dredged spoil will be generated due to excavation activity in Palk strait and Palk Bay to achieve 12 m depth for 300 m channel including allowances for slope and tolerance. The NHO data indicate hard strata beneth soft sand hence spoil may contain silt, sand and hard material. The dredging may also require blasting if hard strata is encountered. In the event of blasting, adverse impact on sea bottom fauna is envisaged. The spoil is proposed to be discharged in Bay of Bengal at suitable depth (25-40 m) to minimize impacts on coastal areas of Palk Bay. An option of using silt/clay for beach nourishment is also recommended. In the event of restricting the channel depth to 10 m the requirement of dredging in Palk Bay/Palk strait will drastically reduce to about 14.8 million m3 as against 44 million m3 envisaged for 12 m depth. This would minimize environmental impacts as well cost of dredging and disposal. It would be ideal to explore the possibility of dredging the channel to 10 m depth in first phase to cater to vessels of 9.15 m draught and monitor environmental status during construction and operation phases. The proposal of 12.0 m depth can subsequently be taken up in second phase provided adverse impacts on environment are not observed. Hydrodynamic modelling studies using Depth Integrated Velocity and Solute Transport (DIVAST) model have shown that, even for the highest spring tidal water

conditions, there will be no significant change in the magnitude and direction of current velocities along the proposed alignment due to the construction of the channel in Adam’s bridge area. During the construction and operation phases of the channel, the potential sources of marine pollution are spillage of oil and grease, marine litter, jetsam and floatsam including plastic bags, discarded articles of human use from the sea-borne vessels which will have to be controlled. The channel may facilitate the movement of fishes and other biota from the Bay of Bengal to the Indian Ocean and vice versa. By this way, the entry of

oceanic and alien species into the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar, as also the dispersal of endemic species outside the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar could occur.

5.3

Socio-economic Impact
The channel will establish a continuous navigable sea route around

peninsular coast within the Indian territorial waters, reduce shipping distance by about 254-424 nautical miles and voyage time of about 21-36 hrs as also the attendant operating costs. The channel will become a valuable asset from national defence and security point of view enabling easier and quicker access between the coasts. Due to the construction of infrastructure in the island, the land access, now available to the local fisher folk to Dhanushkody area for traditional fishing will be hindered unless alternative arrangements are made. The dredging and shipping operations will have to be so regulated as to cause minimum disturbance to the normal fishing activities. The project will provide employment opportunities and avenues of additional income through establishment of small ancillary industries. The project will also trigger development of coastal trade between the ports south and north of Rameshwaram consequently reducing the load and congestion on railways and roadways. The project will help in saving considerable foreign exchange through reduction in oil import bill and generate revenue income from dues levied on ships transiting the channel which will add to the national economy.

6.0
6.1

Environmental Management Plan
Construction Phase
– No dredging will be done in Gulf of Mannar except in Adam’s Bridge area – Alignment of navigation route at Adam’s Bridge in Gulf of Mannar will be minimum 20 km away from marine national park – Land acquired for mobilization and monitoring of activity will be returned to users after completion of dredging activity – A proper rehabilitation plan for the fisherman at Dhanushkody will be drawn during construction phase – Dredged spoil comprising clay and sand upto 2 m of dredging depth will be used for reclaiming degraded land in Pamban island subject to approval of FED for CRZ. Balance dredged spoil will be disposed in sea at a depth 30-40 m, 20-25 km away from islands in National Marine Park in Gulf of Mannar. Dredged spoil generated in Palk Strait / Palk Bay area will be disposed in open sea in Bay of Bengal at 25-40 m depth, 30-60 km away from dredging area – Safe distance (about 4 km) from international medial line will be maintained – During dredging activities, the equipments, vessels, barges required for dredging and transportation of dredged spoil will be maintained in secured area and spillage of oil or any toxic material including paints, anticorrosive agents etc. will not be allowed to spill in sea/coastal waters – Movement of barges for transporting dredged spoil to land area will not interfere with movement of fishing boats in both Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay region adjoining the Adam’s Bridge

It is also recommended that existing jetties at Rameshwaram which only cater to fishing activities presently should be augmented to cater to the requirement of handling dredging activities in Adam Bridge and Palk Bay area

Transportation of heavy machinery and construction material in the

vicinity of Adam's Bridge will be by sea route using the available navigational depths – During transportation of heavy equipments and machinery by road, care will be taken to avoid traffic hazard, traffic congestion and if required roads will be augmented to meet the conditions of hazard free transportation.

6.2

Operational Phase
– All the ships originating from Tutitcorin Port will comply to International Maritime Standards and follow MARPOL convention (MARPOL 73/78) – Discharge of bilge, ballast, treated sewage, solid wastes, oily wastes and spillage of cargo will not be allowed in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay area – The traffic of crude oil tankers will be allowed in this route with strict vigilance so as to avoid any possibilities of spillage in this region – It will be ensured that ships navigating in this region should not use such paints and anticorrosive agents on ship bottom which can cause damage to marine organisms – A pilot should be trained or environmental watcher will board the ship to watch marine animals viz. turtle, dolphins, sea cow etc. in the region and navigate the ship safely avoiding any damage to this fauna. – It will be ensured that all the ships berthing at TPT as well as all those using the route without touching TPT will have proper treatment facilities for sewage however discharge of treated sewage will not be permitted in GOM and Palk Bay / Palk strait area – Ships bypassing TPT and transiting the channel will be inspected for its navigational safety measures before it is allowed to enter proposed navigation route

An oil spill contingency plan will be drawn by Tuticorin Port Trust with preparedness to prevent spread of spillage in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay area and its immediate recovery by deploying equipments and ships

To benefit large fishing communities in the coastal area of Ramnathpuram and Rameshwaram, a corridor both in terms of space and time be provided to fisherman to use the channel in Adam’s Bridge area for moving across Palk Bay to GOM and vice versa for fishing activity

The jetties at Rameshwaram are in dilapidated conditions. A programme to construct a few Jetties at Pamban island to augment fishing activity in the region be supported by TPT

The traffic of ships carrying crude oil will be handled with strict vigilance so as to avoid possibility of spillage

The oil spill contingency plan in operation at TPT will be extended to navigation activities in new channel

A pilot will board the vessel either from Rameshwaram or appropriate place to navigate ship through GOM area up to Bengal Channel in Palk Bay

– –

The channel will be properly marked by navigational light buoys Accidents by collision of ships with fishing boats will be totally prevented by slowing down the cruise speed and also alerting the fisherman by cautionary measures. During implementation and operational phases of the project, TPT will take action to avoid the collisions of ships with fishing boats or damage to fishing nets with cooperation from fishing communities, Navy, Coast Guards and other Govt. authorities

Suitable timings apart from ship transit will be given for fishermen to continue with their fishing activities

Maintenance dredging of about 0.55 million m3 per year is envisaged in the channel based on data available for sediment

transport across Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar – The dredged material will be mostly silt and clay and will not be disposed in sea. Instead it will be used to reclaim degraded areas on Pamban island, Ramnad and Mandapam coastal stretches – To cater to increase in trade envisaged due to this project and to transfer benefit to local fisherman, a minor port facility can be created at Rameshwaram in consultation with state authorities

5.4 km 14.4 km 19.8 km 14.6 km
9.6 m

E3

10.5 m

E4

E2

8.1 m

E1

E 11.6m

D

C

B

Km : Distance between points m : average depth within a section

Fig. 6.12 : Bathymetry along the Proposed Channel

Tirutturaippundi Pattukkottai Muttupet Atirampattinam Peravuruni Tiruvayppadi Manamelkudi Kottaippattanam Gopalapatnam Tiruvadanai Sundarapandiyanpattana 6.33 Karaitivu NW Point Karryappattinam Topputtural POINT CALIMER North Channel

PALK STRAIT
E3 E4

E

E1

E2

Point Pedro Shoa Point Pedr

Tiruvettriyur

D
Delft Channel

Kalmunal Pt.

Nakarkoy Chem

Moreppanai

PALK BAY
C
Uchipuli Land End B

Pooneryn Neduntivu Shoal Vallaipadu Mannar Island Near W Talamannar

LEGEN : E4 A : E C : Numbers :

GULF OF MANNAR
A1

A
Parayanpiddy Vidattaltivu

Fig. 6.11: The Alignment of the Proposed Channel

6.36a Fig. 6.14a : Tentative Location for Disposal of Dredge Materials in Sea

Proposed in 1961 Proposed in 1968 Proposed in 1996 Report Suggested by Steering Committee Considered by NEERI (1998) Present Proposal of NEERI

6..58 Fig. 6.30 : Plan Showing Various Alignments of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project and the Group of Islands (Marine Parks) in Gulf of Mannar 4.10

4.11

4.12

4.13

Annexure I
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