Andaman and Nicobar Islands


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When Dugong meets the kids! (Dugong scholarship felicitation program)

Venue: Guptapara and Wandoor

Dates: 30/1/2019 and 31/1/2019

With latest addition of 21 fishermen kids as dugong ambassadors, the total number of students receiving the dugong scholarship has reached 71 in the South Andaman region. With an aim to expand the dugong scholarship program from the Ritchie’s archipelago to other regions supporting dugong population, two schools from Guptapara and Wandoor namely; Government middle and senior schools, were selected respectively. After the CAMPA-Dugong team (ANI) conducted dugong awareness programs in these schools, scholarship examination was conducted followed by selection of 21 students on merit basis. Felicitation programs were conducted on the 30th and 31st January 2019, to congratulate the selected students who will be participating in awareness programs on dugongs and seagrasses, in future. The program was successfully conducted under the supervision of headmasters Mr. Sushanta Biswas (GMS, Guptapara) and Mr. S. K. Mukherjee (GSS, Wandoor) and school teaching staff. Mrs. S. Simi (Range officer, Wildlife Division, Wandoor) was the chief guest who encouraged the students to participate in dugong awareness activities conducted by WII team, in the Islands. Lastly, the surprise element of the program was a dugong mascot meeting the kids, which was received cheerfully by everyone as the program concluded with kids running around the dugong. 

 

Awareness program in Pondicherry University

Venue: Pondicherry University, marine campus (Brookshabad)

Date: 28/1/2019

For channelling our sensitization programs to suitable stakeholders, an awareness workshop was conducted for 50 marine biology students from the Pondicherry University, Port Blair. CAMPA_Dugong team (ANI) interacted with the students about their research activities carried out in the Islands and shared their research findings. An extremely enthusiastic audience came up with questions of dugongs and seagrasses and offered volunteering in our project. Our colleague, Ms. Sohini Dudhat, an alumna of the same university presented the implementation of recovery of dugongs in the islands program, which was well received with appreciation.  

 

Dugong scholarship program with fishermen kids

Venue: Government Senior secondary school, Rangachang

Date: 21/1/2019

A dugong scholarship program was conducted for 37 fishermen kids, studying in the government senior secondary school, Rangachang which happens to be a habitat for dugongs. An interactive session with kids on dugongs and seagrasses was followed by a quiz competition and scholarship examination.

 

Expanding the horizons!

Venue: Pranab Kanya Sangha, Date: 19/1/2019

Our awareness program on marine life with special emphasis on dugongs, reached a new level when CAMPA_WII team (ANI) conducted a short interactive session on marine life and dugongs with 31 girls from the Pranab Kanya Sangha, Port Blair. After realising low level of awareness about islands and marine life, we conveyed the importance of the islands, marine life, dugongs and endemism to the kids. The program was followed by a colouring competition with ‘Marine life’ as a theme.    

 

Fishermen kids visit Chidiyatapu Biological Park
Venue:  Chidiyatapu
Date: 18/1/2019

Fishermen form one of the crucial stakeholders in marine conservation programs owing to the depth of knowledge they have about the ocean and their dependency on its resources. This knowledge is then passed on, by these fisher folks to their children who also contribute to be an important stakeholder. Engaging these children in environmental friendly activities by disseminating knowledge about Islands and marine life has always been a mandate of the CAMPA_Dugong recovery program, implemented by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in the Islands. With the same approach, 37 children of fishermen folks were sensitized from the Government senior secondary school, Rangachang on 18th January, 2019. An outdoor session was conducted at Chidiyatapu Biological Park, to brief about the Island biodiversity and ecological importance of the Islands in supporting endemic species. The Nature trail was led by Mr. Saibabu (Forester, Chidiyatapu Biological Park) under the supervision of Mr. A. K. Singh (Range officer, Headquarters, Chidiyatapu Biological Park). During the nature trail students learnt about endemic animals in the park. The outdoor session was followed by a presentation by WII researchers on Dugong and marine biodiversity which covered general biology, importance, threats and need of conservation. During the discussion students were actively sharing their experiences regarding the wildlife and the marine life. In future, these students will be engaged in various activities like beach clean-up and intertidal marine walk.

 

Marine awareness program in Coast Guard Kindergarten School
Venue: Coastguard kindergarten school, Panipath road, Port Blair
Date: 16/1/2019

Taking our awareness program to the Kindergarten level, a ‘Dugong Awareness Program’ was conducted on the 16th January, 2019 in the Coastguard Kindergarten School, Port Blair. The program organized by the CAMPA_Dugong team (ANI) received an overwhelming participation of 200 kids with 6 school teacher staff led by Mrs. Vidya (Headmistress) and Coastguard administrative officers.

The program commenced with a short interactive session with the kids, on marine animals followed by a colouring competition based on ‘Ocean life’ as a theme. Students enjoyed colouring various marine creatures like octopus, starfish, turtle, fishes, etc. Lastly a documentary session was conducted on dugongs for 30 students of Upper KG. Few copies of the student friendly story book ‘My Friend Dugong’ written by Mr. Chanchal Roy (Wipro Earthian National Award winner/School Teacher GSSS Kadamtala) was handed over to the principal and administrative officer for library. 

 

Standardizing fish survey methodology to be implemented in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Tamil Nadu field sites.
Date:
18 to 23 December 2018
Study site: Havelock Island

Surveys for assessing the fish fauna associated with seagrasses are being conducted at Andaman and Tamil Nadu field sites. There is a need to have a standard method to ensure that the data collected is comparable between the sites. The team dived at few known seagrass meadows and decided upon doing random point counts for assessing diversity and habitat use patterns. In this duration, the team dived at some meadows near Havelock and henry Lawrence to see how the method needs to be modified in cases of meadows having differing characters. Camera trapping method was also discussed and the teams are planning to implement the same to get an idea of fish behavior and movements in absence of disturbance caused by presence of observers.

Seagrass associated fishes-methodology standardization (Researchers- Ms. Sohini Dudhat and Ms. Chinmaya Ghanekar)

 

Fish market surveys to understand commercially important fishes associated with seagrasses, Havelock Island
Date:
12/12/2018 to 14/12/2018

Seagrass associated fish fauna is understudied from the Islands and to understand the dependency of fishermen on seagrass habitats, fish market surveys were conducted in Havelock.  On interaction with the fisher folk; information on type of crafts and gears used, island specific fishing ranges and fishes found in seagrasses and corals was studied.

Fish market surveys to understand commercially important fishes associated with seagrasses, Havelock Island (Researcher: Prasad Gaidhani)

 

Beach Cleanup activity with Dugong Ambassadors
Duration:
16/12/18
Location:
Havelock, South Andaman
Attendees:
Dugong ambassadors- Havelock, CAMPA_Dugong team-ANI, Havelock Forest Division

A novel initiative taken up as a part of the CAMPA_Dugong Recovery Program implemented in the Islands is the Dugong scholarship program which supports 50 fishermen children (Dugong ambassadors) from government senior secondary schools of Neil and Havelock Islands with 500 INR/ month for two years. One of the mandates of this program is to disseminate awareness about dugongs and in general marine life among the students and inculcate importance of conservation in them. With the same approach a beach cleanup activity was conducted on 16 December, 2018 with Dugong ambassadors of Government Senior Secondary School, Havelock Island.  The beach cleanup activity got an overwhelming response from the school authorities with 17 Dugong ambassadors accompanied by 2 teaching staff and volunteers from Dive India and SCUBA Love participated. The program was supported by the Havelock Forest Division under the supervision of Sh. Shaji P. Abraham (Divisional Forest Officer, Havelock Division).  A total of 25 bags of garbage were collected which comprised of plastic bottles, straws, fishing nets, Thermocol buoys, lighters, alcohol and medicine bottles. Students were explained while collecting garbage on how use of single use plastic like straw should be avoided as it hampers marine life. In one instance, students had to dig out garbage buried under the sand, as the beach profile keeps on changing which might affect activities like turtle nesting. The nature of garbage is also a reflection of the activities for which this stretch of beach is been used and highlights the collective responsibility and immediate need of all resort owners, dive shops and tourists to take up regular beach cleanup activities on at-least their part of the beach. All collected garbage was handed over to the forest department for proper dumping. The dugong ambassadors being the youngest volunteers for this kind of activity can set an example for public to keep their beaches clean.

CAMPA_Dugong team (ANI) with Dugong ambassadors in beach cleanup activity, Havelock

 

One week compulsory course on ‘Illegal Trade in Wildlife and Role of Wildlife Forensics in Dealing with Wildlife Crime’ for IFS officers
Duration:
03/12/18 to 07/12/18
Location: Port Blair, South Andaman

To train the IFS officers on understanding the illegal wildlife trade, a one week compulsory course on ‘Illegal trade in wildlife and role of wildlife forensics in dealing with wildlife crime’ was organized by the Wildlife Institute of India in Port Blair, South Andaman. The organizers were Dr. Sandeep Gupta, Dr. Vinod and Sh. C.P. Sharma accompanied by the CAMPA_Dugong Andaman team Ms. Sohini Dudhat, Ms. Chinmaya Ghanekar, Mr. Prasad Gaidhani and Ms. Swapnali Gole. Aspects like how to identify wildlife crime, use of forensics in validating the crime and field based practical on the same were demonstrated during the course. On the last day, a talk on the implementation of Dugong recovery program in the Islands was given by Ms. Swapnali Gole.  

Talk on Implementation of Dugong recovery Program in the Islands by Ms. Swapnali Gole

 

SCUBA diving and underwater marine biodiversity monitoring training for frontline forest staff
Duration:
24/11/18 to 29/11/18
Location:
Havelock, South Andaman
Attendees:
Forest Ranger, Foresters, Head Forest Guard, Forest Guards, WII team

To strengthen the capacity of the frontline forest staff of the Andaman and Nicobar Forest department, a training program of ‘SCUBA diving cum underwater marine biodiversity monitoring’ was organized in the Havelock Island from 24th December to 30th December 2018 by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun as a part of the CAMPA_Dugong recovery program being implemented in the Islands. The course was attended by 11 frontline forest staff members (Forester/ Forest Guards) of three regions viz; the Havelock range, Wandoor Range and Mayabunder division. The participants were given hands on training to use basic field Equipments, conducting boat surveys and mapping seagrass habitats using random quadrat method. Later they underwent SCUBA diving training in collaboration with DIVE INDIA, Havelock where seven participants were trained for open Waters, one participant for advanced open water and one for specialty training as an underwater naturalist.

The overall program was facilitated by Sh. Shaji Abrahim, Divisional forest officer, Havelock division and received an overwhelming response. The primary objective of this course was to sensitize the staff about the importance of marine life in the Islands and its conservation implications. This program is a step towards involving the frontline forest staff in research and monitoring activities as they form a crucial stakeholder in marine life conservation.

Orientation workshop on importance and conservation implications of marine life in the Islands

Fieldwork training for frontline staff

 Participants trained for boat survey methods and handling equipment (Researcher- Ms. Swapnali Gole)

Participants being trained for seagrass mapping by random quadrat method (Researcher- Ms. Sohini Dudhat)

 

Consultation meeting with Mr. Jon Day for revising the management plan for Rani Jhansi Marine National Park
Place
: Port Blair, Andaman
International Expert:
Mr. Jon C. Day (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)

The meeting with international expert Jon C. Day was held principally for ‘Rani Jhansi Marine National Park Management Plan Revision’ consultation. In this meeting, existing management plan of Rani Jhansi Marine National Park from year 2015 to 2021 was discussed in detail and relevant changes were suggested by Mr. Day. Habitat characterization of the entire marine national park, including information about human habitation, land use patterns, water resource use patterns in and around National park, highlighting management concerns of fishing pressures, salt water crocodile areas, water currents, gleaning activities, pollution, boat noise and most importantly emphasizing management concerns and management actions were few of the crucial recommendations made by Mr. Day.

Consultation meeting with Mr. Jon Day for revising the management plan for Rani Jhansi Marine National Park (Researchers: Prasad Gaidhani, Swapnali Gole, Chinmaya Ghanekar and Sohini Dudhat)

 

IMMA meeting report writing
Date:
17th to 19th November 2018
Venue:
Neil Island
Attendees:
Dr. Tundi Agardy, Mr. Jon Day, Mr. Erich Hoyt, Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Ms. Swapnali Gole, Ms. Mahi Mankeshwar and Ms. Dipani Sutaria

After the successful IMMA meeting held on the 16th November, 2018, the IMMA team headed to Neil Island to draft a report on the suggestions/ recommendations given by the stakeholders involved for effective management of Southern Andaman IMMA. The IMMA team collectively discussed to identify the immediate pressures on the marine mammal species, the issues these pressures are causing and the priority of actions and recommendations to respective stakeholders which needs to be taken/ given. Research, management and governance were emphasized on as immediate measures to fill the research gaps and involve multi stakeholders in protection of the IMMA sites. 

IMMA meeting report writing, Neil Island

 

South Andaman IMMA stakeholders meeting
Date:
16th November 2018
Venue:
Coastguard Headquarters, Port Blair

The Southern Andaman Islands has recently been recognized as an Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) for dolphins, whales and dugongs. Acknowledging this importance, a meeting of key stakeholders was held in Van Sadan; Port Blair on 16th November 2018 jointly organized by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and key local research experts.  Attending the meeting were representatives of the Department of Environment and Forests, Indian Navy, Indian Coastguard, Chamber of Commerce, Directorate of Shipping services, Port Management Board, Directorate of Fisheries, Nature Conservation Foundation, Andaman and Nicobar Environmental team, Botanical Survey of India, Zoological Survey of India, Dive shops and game fishers. The international IMMA task force (Mr. Erich Hoyt, Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Dr. Tundi Agardy and Mr. Jon Day) were visiting the Andaman Islands to work with the local experts and were represented at the Port Blair meeting by Mr. Day. The primary objective of this meeting was to inform stakeholders about the IMMA and discuss the future sustainable use of the area. The meeting strongly acknowledged the importance of marine mammals and the need for effective management to maintain these important values.

IMMA meeting at Van Sadan with Multi stakeholders

 

Meeting with the DIG Ashish Mehrotra, Indian Coastguard (ICG) to deliberate the role of ICG in conservation of marine mammals in the Islands
Date:
15th November 2018
Venue:
Coastguard Headquarters, Port Blair
Attendees:
Ms. Swapnali Gole (WII), Ms. Mahi Mankeshwar, Ms. Dipani Sutaria.

Indian Coast guard (ICG) is one of the most potential stakeholders identified for the IMMA meeting, as conserving the marine life is one of their mandates. To explain the crucial role of the ICG in filling the existing research gaps in marine mammal research, a meeting was held with DIG Ashish Mehrotra, at the Indian Coastguard headquarters in Port Blair. The role of ICG in supplementing the researchers with marine mammal sighting records while patrolling the Island waters was explained in the meeting. This data will add to the present database on marine mammal species richness and distribution. The DIG gave a positive feedback on the same and agreed to help in the marine mammal monitoring program. The meeting was attended by Ms. Swapnali Gole (WII), ecologist Dr. Dipani Sutaria and marine mammal researcher Ms. Mahi Mankeshwar. 

 

Meeting with Mr. Aatish Kumar, Directorate of Tourism to deliberate the role of Tourism department in the IMMA meeting
Date:
14th November 2018
Venue:
Directorate of Tourism office, Port Blair
Attendees:
Dr. Tundi Agardy, Mr. Jon Day, Mr. Erich Hoyt and Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Ms. Swapnali Gole (WII), Ms. Mahi Mankeshwar, Ms. Dipani Sutaria.

The tourism activities in the Islands are known to be able to negatively impact marine mammal populations. To address this issue, a meeting was carried out with the Directorate of tourism (DOT) Mr. Aatish Kumar, to invite him for the IMMA meeting and deliberate the role of the tourism department in the IMMA meeting and know their perception of Andaman as an IMMA. The DOT briefed on the recent Restricted Area Permit relaxations for Indian and foreign nationals and the issues pertaining to tourism in the Islands. The meeting was attended by the IMMA taskforce, along with Ms. Swapnali Gole (WII), ecologist Dr. Dipani Sutaria and marine mammal researcher Ms. Mahi Mankeshwar. 

 

Meeting with the IUCN IMMA Task force
Date:
12th November 2018
Venue:
Port Blair
Attendees:
Dr. Tundi Agardy, Mr. Jon Day, Mr. Erich Hoyt and Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Ms. Swapnali Gole (WII), Ms. Mahi Mankeshwar, Ms. Dipani Sutaria.

Owing to the productive waters of the Southern Andaman Islands with respect to marine mammal species richness and habitat importance, this region has been awarded as an Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) status recently. On the other hand, the vulnerability of the islands to natural and anthropogenic pressures poses threats to these marine mammal species. Considering this scenario, the experts on the international IMMA Task Force Mr. Erich Hoyt and Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara along with Dr. Tundi Agardy and Mr. Jon Day visited the Islands to conduct a day long consultation programme, to meet with Administrators and island-based stakeholders. WII team visited the taskforce to discuss their role in the meeting scheduled on the 16th November 2018. Researchers were briefed about the selection criteria of IMMA, importance of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as an IMMA site and role of researchers in filling the research gaps in marine mammal studies

Team IMMA (left to right: Dr. Tundi Agardy, Mr. Jon Day, Ms. Swapnali Gole, Ms. Mahi Mankeshwar, Ms. Dipani Sutaria, Mr. Erich Hoyt and Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara)
 

Dugong Ambassador Refresher Course held at Government Senior Secondary School, Neil Island (27 August 2018)

The team organized a Refresher Course for the 16 dugong ambassadors of the Neil Island, at Government Senior Secondary School with a similar approach used in Havelock.

Fig 1 - Dugong Ambassador Refresher Course held at Government Senior Secondary School, Neil Island
 
Orientation Workshop for Dugong Stranding Response (24 August 2018)
The team carried out an Orientation Workshop for the frontline staff of Neil Island, where in training was given to handle dugong stranding, sample collection and preservation techniques using standard protocols.
 
Dead Dugong stranding at Laxmanpur Beach, Neil Island (23 August 2018)
A stranded dugong was reported by forest department at Laxmanpur beach, Neil Island on the 23rd August, 2018. With the co-operation of the Forest Department, Camp Officer, Neil Island, Mr. Halder, frontline staff and the veterinary Dr. Baljeet Kaur, the team carried out the necropsy of the dugong. Dr. Baljeet Kaur performed the necropsy of the stranded dugong. Photographic documentation, morphometric measurements and sample collection (tissue and blubber) samples were collected using standard protocols.
Fig 2- Mr. Sagar Rajpurkar and team inspecting the stranded dugong with the Forest and Veterinary department.
 
Dugong ambassador Refresher Course held at Government Senior Secondary School, Havelock Island (16 August 2018)
The team organized a Refresher Course for the 17 selected Dugong Ambassadors of Havelock Island, at Government Senior Secondary School, Havelock. This program was held to follow up with the students who are receiving the dugong scholarship and refresh their knowledge. The dugong ambassadors performed an exercise to identify threats to the wildlife around them and asked to suggest ways to mitigate the same and also about the role they can play in conservation as dugong ambassadors.
Fig 3- Dugong Ambassador Refresher Course, Havelock Island, South Andaman.
 
Dugong scholarship and awareness Program at Government Middle School, Guptapara, South Andaman (2-3 August 2018)
Expanding the novel dugong scholarship program initiated last year, our team organized the scholarship and awareness program at Government Middle School, Guptapara, with the active cooperation of the Forest Department, in South Andaman.

A total of 75 students participated in the program where the students were first sensitized about dugongs and seagrasses along with marine life of the Islands through documentary screening and later candidates were shortlisted through a written test. Drawing competition was also organized for all the students of the school. Since Wandoor is a critical dugong habitat and team has had a dugong sighting around the area, this program would help increase awareness as well as community involvement in dugong conservation

Fig 4- Dugong scholarship and awareness program at Government Middle School, Guptapara, South Andaman
 
Dugong scholarship and awareness Program at Government Middle School, Wandoor, South Andaman (26-27 July 2018)
A similar approach as in Guptapara was used to conduct the scholarship and awareness program in the Government Middle School, Wandoor, South Andaman in which a total of 77 students participated.
Fig 5 – Dugong scholarship and awareness program at Government Middle School, Wandoor
 
Consultation Workshop To Develop An Action Plan For Mitigation Of Human Crocodile Conflict in Andaman Nicobar Islands (1-3 July 2018)
The Team helped organize the “Consultation Workshop to Develop an Action Plan for Mitigation of Human Wildlife Conflict in Andaman Nicobar Islands” held at Port Blair, which aimed to mitigate the human crocodile conflict issue in the islands. Several renowned national as well as international crocodilian experts attended the meeting, along with the officials from the Andaman and Nicobar Forest Department and shared their inputs to develop an action plan. Field visits to human crocodile conflict zones, consultation meetings with stakeholders etc. were conducted. The action plan will soon be developed to mitigate the conflict.
Fig 6- Consultation Workshop to develop an action plan for mitigation of Human Crocodile Conflict in Andaman Nicobar Islands
 
Presentation at World Seagrass Conference 11-17 June 2018
(Swapnali presenting ‘Study of seagrass habitats from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India’)
(Workshop on plant-animal interactions by Dr. Brigitta Tussenbroek and team)
 
Our researcher Swapnali Gole working in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands recently attended the World Seagrass Conference followed by ‘The 13th International Seagrass Biology Workshop’ (ISBW-13) held at the National University of Singapore from 11th-17th June, 2018. The theme of this conference was to 'Translate Science into Action’ by providing a platform for all seagrass researchers working in different bioregions, to share research ideas to conserve these extremely ecologically important 'uncharismatic habitats'. In the conference, she presented the seagrass habitat characterization work done by the Andaman team in the Ritchie’s archipelago, Andaman Islands. Further, she attended workshops in the ISBW-13 conducted by Dr. Brigitta Tussenbroek and Dr. Maricella Torre-Castro and team to understand the importance of plant-animal interactions in seagrass habitats and gender role in seagrass conservation respectively.
 
Orientation workshop for handling marine mammal stranding for Forest Department (Havelock range) 16 May 2018
(Swapnali Gole presenting the protocol for handling stranded marine mammals)
 

Around 15 members of Forest Department, Havelock range participated in a workshop conducted by Wildlife Institute of India researchers regarding handling of stranded marine mammals. The Havelock Range Officer Mr. Ramchandran along with frontline staff received a protocol on how to deal with live as well as dead strandings, how to collect samples for genetic analysis and how they can better document a stranding so that maximum information is recorded till researchers reach the spot. Vials for collecting and storing genetic samples were distributed. Researchers also distributed logbooks which they can use to record the sightings during patrolling activity of the range.

 
Seagrass surveys in Havelock and neighboring islands. (May 2018)
(Seagrass near Henry Lawrence island- sp. Halophila ovalis)
 

The team sampled intertidal and sub- tidal areas around Havelock, John Lawrence and Henry Lawrence islands for seagrasses. Representative sampling around each of the mentioned islands was conducted using Line-Intercept-Transect method. Species of seagrasses, the kind of substrate/sand they are growing in, invertebrates and fishes found in the meadow which are associated with seagrasses are recorded during the survey. This information can be added up to know the status of seagrasses as compared to previous records, their health, distribution and how they are utilized by organisms dependent on them. All this information in turn will be helpful knowing the productivity of seagrasses and in mapping critical areas for dugongs.

 
Coastlining boat survey around Neil and Hugh Ross (30 April 2018)
(Sohini Dudhat noting the water parameters during the survey)
 

The team conducted a boat survey around Neil and Hugh Ross island (also called ‘Çhhota neil’ by the local fishermen). Dugongs are spotted in shallow waters many times while they are feeding on seagrasses. This survey was an attempt to map areas where dugongs are spotted to get an idea about the areas usually occupied by them. Water parameters like temperature, pH, salinity are recorded along with the depth of the location. Floating litter around the island is also recorded to know how it overlaps the range of marine mammals like dugongs. Boat traffic and the kind of boats (fishing vessels, glass bottom boats and speed boats for recreational activities) present in areas where dugongs are sighted are also noted down so that researchers get an idea about the threats to dugongs in their most frequented areas.

 
Seagrass surveys around Neil and Hugh Ross (April 2018)
(Swapnali Gole during data collection)
 

The team intensively sampled areas around Neil island in April using Line-Intercept-Transect method. Representative sampling was also done near Hugh Ross island which is located to the south of Neil. The deepest point where seagrasses were found in Neil was 21m, where Halophila ovalis and Halophila decipiens were found. A seagrass meadow composed of species Thalassia hemprichii present in the intertidal zone was also intensively sampled. The team also keeps tabs of dugong activities by forming Dugong Monitoring network which includes SCUBA divers and fishermen. They inform sightings of dugongs on a regular basis helping to map critical areas.