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Coral reefs – Underwater treasure of Goa

Funnily referred to as the ‘Housing complex’ of the ocean. Coral reefs in Goa add to its natural patrimony. Much like its beaches, these reefs are continuing to attract divers and visitors from across the globe. Some come to study these phenomenal structures of the ocean and some visit them for their beauty.

What are coral reefs?

Google defines coral reef as, “a ridge of rock in the sea formed by the growth and deposit of coral.”

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In simple terms, they are made up of calcium carbonate structures produced by coral (A type of marine invertebrates). These consist of polyps that belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria. Together they work to sustain each other along with the marine life that inhabits them.

Coral reef in Goa

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Coral reefs in Goa can be found in the proximity of three islands. According to the reports, Grande Island, Bat Island and St. George Island. Except for St. George Island, the other two islands have an active scuba diving operation set up to train diving enthusiasts and for tourists to enjoy.

“The most common form found are tabletop corals,” said Baban Ingole, fisheries scientist at NIO in a report.

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Tabletop coral

Benefits of coral reef in Goa

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Coral reefs support 25% of the marine life of the world, although it constitutes only about 0.1% area of the ocean.

“The aesthetic value of coral reefs has appealed to millions of people, but coral reefs also provide a place for fish to lay their eggs, breed, rest and hide from predators,” said Puja Mitra, state director, WWF-India in an report.

They also play an important role in decreasing sand erosion as they act as a barrier between the wave and land. Creating a natural buffer between the waves and land.

Threats faced by coral reefs

The effects of tourism have caused much damage to the potential of coral reef in Goa.

Tour boat operations

  • Many sources speak about harm befallen upon coral reefs due to tour boat operators dropping their anchors on them.
  • These anchors sometimes even break them.

Improper Garbage and waste management

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  • Tourist discarding their garbage such as beer bottles and cans etc, into the vicinity of these reefs also have an adverse impact on the sensitive ecosystem.

“Besides tourism, sewage flow and mining sediment have been found to be the main stressors,” states Mitra in the same report.

Lack of knowledge among the locals about the coral reefs seems to be the main reason for hindrance in its conservation. Dissemination of information on the coral reefs might do some good to protect them from being harmed.

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