Alappuzha: Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) will launch a campaign seeking fish sanctuary status for Vembanad Lake to prevent violations of CRZ and Ramsar site regulations as illegal encroachments on is banks continue unabated. “It’s important to preserve existing fish wealth and protect the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people,” district president P.V. Joseph said. “The encroachers include even a present minister. If it gets the status of a fish sanctuary, strict wildlife rules apply to them. We will soon petition the government on this."
Researchers have found Vembanad, spread 2033 sq.km in three districts, as one of the most polluted water bodies in the world, despite being declared as a Ramsar site in 2002 and classified as critically vulnerable coastal area (CVCA) under CRZ Act in 2011. They say it had shrunk by 33 percent in the last 50 years. On August 1, 2013, the Supreme Court had urged the state government to report CRZ violations here within six months. The district administration issued notices to Kapico Kerala Resorts and Green Lagoon Resort to demolish illegal constructions within ten days.
Legislators and religious leaders then petitioned Chief Minister Ommen Chandy to report to the apex court that it did not affect tourism development. But KSSP came out against the move. Meanwhile, Vembanad Fish Count – 2016 has observed 37 species of finfishes, eight crustaceans and three molluscs - slightly lesser fish diversity from the previous year. “The reason for the pathetic condition is economic, agricultural and industrial developments overlooking resource conservation and management," says Dr Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, a senior researcher. “If KSSP goes with the campaign, they have to be clear on which law they can convert it into the sanctuary, the Wildlife Act or wetland conservation act."