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Chilika Lake

Context:

The Odisha government has proposed to ban movement of mechanised fishing boats in the Mangalajodi area of the Chilika lake, an important haunt of migratory birds, to provide the winged guests an undisturbed ecosystem for six months every year.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Species in news, Conservation of Ecology and Environment, Protected Areas in News)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About Chilika Lake
  2. Threats to Chilika Lake ecosystem

About Chilika Lake

  • Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India.
  • It is situated at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef.
  • In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  • It has been listed as a TENTATIVE UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent, hosting over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season.
  • Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Kazakhstan, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here.
  • Geological evidence indicates that Chilika Lake was part of the Bay of Bengal during the later stages of the Pleistocene period (1.8 million to 10,000 years BP).

Threats to Chilika Lake ecosystem

  • Over the years, the Chilika lake ecosystem of the lake encountered several problems and threats such as:
  • Siltation due to littoral drift and sediments from the inland river systems
  • Shrinkage of water surface area
  • Choking of the inlet channel as well as shifting of the mouth connecting to the sea
  • Decrease in salinity and fishery resources
  • Proliferation of freshwater invasive species and
  • An overall loss of biodiversity with decline in productivity adversely affecting the livelihood of the community that depended on it
  • Fights between fishermen and non-fishermen communities about fishing rights in the lake and consequent court cases

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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