Eight locations in Konkan have potential for “Rocky Tide Pool” ecotourism.

The Konkan Coast has revealed a world of unusual species and provided Maharashtra with a wealth of ecotourism opportunities.

Eight sites along the coast of Maharashtra – three in Sindhudurg district, namely Tambeldeg, Kunkeshwar and Bhogwe, while five sites in Ratnagiri district including Katghar, Hedvi, Kharviwada, Velas and Velneshwar – have the potential for coastal tidal tourism as a livelihood option for the native communities.

The intertidal zone of the rocky shores is home to some amazing formations, including tide pools (also known as tide pools), which serve as micro-habitats for numerous coastal creatures. The rocky coast has the highest density of macroorganisms and the greatest diversity of animal and plant species compared to other tidal coasts. Numerous sea creatures use the tide pools as a refuge, food source and nursery.

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The Mangrove and Marine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation of Maharashtra funded the Sálim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) study through its Small Grants Program.

The study – Documenting the fauna of tide pool ecosystems along the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg coasts, Maharashtra – led by Goldin Quadros, Shirish Manchi and Siddhesh Bhave has found a wide range of marine animals totaling 303 coastal species in these rocky tide pools.

These included 30 species of algae and algae, 80 species of phytoplankton, 73 species of zooplankton, 90 species of megafauna, both vertebrate (mammals, birds, reptiles and fish) and invertebrates (crustaceans, echinoderms, annelids, amphipods, among others), and 30 species of bird species in the two coastal districts of Konkan covering an area of ​​288 km.

“The ecosystems in rocky tidal pools are important because they support a wide range of biodiversity. These pools may soon provide food security while also serving as a nursery for a number of species. Coastal youth can have a livelihood by understanding the diversity, functions and values ​​of ecosystems,” said Goldin Quadros, SACON senior scientist and author of the study.

According to Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Mangrove Cell and Executive Director, Mangrove Foundation, the goal was to systematically catalog the rocky tidal pools and locate the region’s rich biodiversity, which has demonstrated the area’s potential for widespread tourism .

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“While this study was intended from the perspective of assessing biodiversity, the results of this study went a step further to show the emergence of ecotourism opportunities. As the effects of climate change become more apparent, all of this also has the potential to reduce ocean biodiversity loss, provide biological treatments to clean up some areas of the ocean, and provide a new source of income for local fishing communities,” he said.

Tiwari added that there has been relatively little tidal research in India compared to other countries. As part of the ecotourism plan for these areas, the mangrove cell and foundation are now planning to introduce tidepooling – an outdoor activity along the coast at low tide to see this previously hidden biodiversity and ecosystem in such rocky intertidal zones. “We are evaluating the feasibility of introducing this activity at these eight sites by involving the local community and further plans for this will be developed based on the study,” he said.

Researchers surveyed 45 rocky shoreline areas and selected 25 sites with a continuous 500-metre stretch of rocky shoreline for this study.

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