The third largest and gifted ocean on the world ‘Indian Ocean’ surrounds India on three sides. Very few of us are aware of the treasures that surround us. These marine resources are found in the oceans and seas. These are beneficial to humans. Resources include fish, coral reefs, fungi, minerals, etc.
Ocean resources represent wide range of resources present in it. Typically they are classified into 2 broad categories Biotic and abiotic resources.
Biotic resources comprise of fishes, seaweeds, planktons, sharks, turtles, marine mammals, etc.
Abiotic resources are sea mounds, energy resources (crude oil, natural gas), deposits (gold, red clay, manganese) and other dissolved elements (sodium chloride).
India has all different types of Marine Ecosystems present in the world. Zoological survey of India elaborated different ecosystems present in the ocean.
- Coral Ecosystem-Most dynamic ecosystem provides shelter and food to thousands o marine flora and fauna.
- Mangrove Ecosystem- It reduces coastal erosion, a source of wood products, and a nursery ground for marine products.
- Estuary ecosystem- Help in large scale of fishery wealth. It acts as a feeding and nursery ground for several marine spices.
- Seaweed ecosystem- seaweed contains many trace elements, minerals, protein, iodine, vitamin, etc. The food products like jelly, jam, pickle are manufactured.
- Pelagic Ecosystem-Most productive ecosystem in the marine ecosystem; maximum diversity is reported to occur in this region; sensitive to most environmental changes. Pelagic is upper portion of the sea water column where in different types marine organisms live
- Benthic Ecosystem- Productivity is relatively less to pelagic ecosystem; diversity is minimum, marine animals prefer this ecosystem. The Benthic ecosystem is the deeper part of the ocean where the sun light cannot reach. Even in the deepest ocean where light cannot reach millions of animals, bacteria live.
The tidal (low and high) zone is very important for organisms they live both in soil, water and need sunlight. In addition to it, tidal energy is itself a resource used by man to generate power. Another very important non extractable and commercial resource is navigable routes. This resource has expanded with the growing technological capabilities.
However, there are some common threats to marine ecosystem such as invasive alien species, overfishing, climate change, population, poverty, cyclone, tsunami, and earth quake and illiteracy are the major causes for decline in marine ecosystem.
India’s first research institute ‘National center for Marine and Biodiversity’ emphasis on coastal and marine area management and ensure sustainable development and hazard risk management.
All Indian Ocean Rim countries struggle with same issues and a lot of conservation effort is required to protect these resources. A common regional framework should be made to solve common problems.