WCS – India’s marine conservation program team consisting of Dr. Vardhan Patankar, Head, Mr. Avik Banerjee and Ms. Zoya Tyabji, Project Associates, received an opportunity to attend a unique campaign against plastic pollution on board the Fishery Oceanographic Research Vessel (FORV), Sagar Sampada of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOES).
To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) organized a ‘Swatchata Hi Seva’ campaign to raise awareness on the menace of marine plastic debris. The event was held at the Cochin Port, where Sagar Sampada was docked. The main aim of the event was to campaign against the use of plastic and to educate and the research conducted by CMLRE on the research vessel.
FORV Sagar Sampada is a 72-meter multipurpose fishery oceanographic research vessel built in 1984. Since its commission, it has completed 343 scientific cruises in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, studying deep sea fisheries, plankton research, acoustics, and oceanographic factors, amongst others.
The WCS-India marine team met Dr. M. Sudhakar (Director, CMLRE), Sri. N. Saravanane (Scientist E, CMLRE) and Sri. Subramanian M. (Scientist C, CMLRE), Dr. Sherine Sonia Cubelio (Scientist D, CMLRE) and Dr. Smitha B.R. (Scientist D). Following which Sri. Sudanshu Dixit (Project Scientist B, CMLRE) gave an orientation of the ship, while the third officer explained the process of the research vessels’ navigation.
Many fruitful interactions with Dr. K. Chandrasekar (Project Scientist B, CMLRE) were held about the recent marine mammal sightings. The team was also introduced to the ‘Bigeye binoculars’ which are used for marine mammal studies., and were given an extensive equipment tour by Sri. Sudanshu Dixit, and Smt. Shahin Badesab (Project Scientist B, CMLRE), to gain insights of all onboard hydrographic and oceanographic equipment. Theseequipment included a hull-mounted doppler, current profiler, an automatic weather station, echosounder, grab sampler, egg sampler, echo sounder, bathymetry and navigation charts that depicts the routes of Sagar Sampada.
The visit ended with a discussion where collaboration on various fronts of conserving marine biodiversity was tabled.