justice M Sathyanarayanan and justice P Rajamanickam observed that humans are unmindful of the act of damages caused to the ecology and environment. The court can take judicial note of the fact that banned nets are also being used for fishing. Since the habitat of the animals are taken away, they become extinct, the judges said.

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Plea to declare part of Palk Bay as dugong conservation reserve

Madurai: The Madras high court on Friday ordered notice to the central and state governments on a plea seeking to implement the proposal sent by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to the state forest department to declare Palk Bay stretch from Adirampattinam in Thanjavur district to Ammapattinam in Pudukottai district as dugong conservation reserve.

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The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by K Pushpavanam, a law student from Madurai. A division bench of justice M Sathyanarayanan and justice P Rajamanickam observed that humans are unmindful of the act of damages caused to the ecology and environment. The court can take judicial note of the fact that banned nets are also being used for fishing. Since the habitat of the animals are taken away, they become extinct, the judges said.


“It is high time the central and state governments take appropriate steps in this regard,” they said. Appreciating the endeavour of the petitioner for filing this petition after doing proper research, the judges suo motu impeded the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change as a respondent in the petition and ordered notice to the state and central governments.
The petitioner stated that he came across an article in The Times of India ‘More dugongs beach in TN, but poaching drops’ published on May 29 and came to know about the proposal sent by WII to declare the 400sqkm stretch of Palk Bay as dugong conservation reserve. He stated that dugongs play a vital role in the marine ecosystem and currently there are only 200 dugongs in Indian waters. The population of the mammal is continuously coming down and proper conservation is required to save the species from extinction.

There are three main factors that pose a threat to dugongs: Human activities like vessel strike, poaching, destruction of habitat due to pollution and decimation of seagrass off the coast. Though he sent a representation to the authorities seeking to implement the WII proposal, no steps were taken. Hence, the petitioner moved the court.

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