brad brace

7/18/2006

NARIKEL JINJIRA (St. Martin’s Island), BANGLADESH CONSERVATION APPROACH AND THE REALITY

Filed under: bangladesh — admin @ 9:26 am

Narikel Jinjira, popularly known, as St. Martin’s Island is only Continental Island in Bangladesh located in the northeastern part of the Bay of Bengal. The island people own this island and the early settlement were started in 1880’s. The present population is about 5000 and the economy is based on seasonal fishing and natural resources like shell, cones, corals, sea-turtles eggs, etc.

Ecologically, the Island contains a variety of unique habitats and a number of rare (e.g. cone shells) and endangered (e.g. Lepidochelys olivacea) species in Bangladesh. Extensive algal and seagrass beds in the coastal waters may be important spawning and/or nursery grounds for a number of economically important fish and shellfish species. The island is also an important nesting ground for endangered marine turtle species (Lepidochelys olivacea and Chelonia mydas). It is the only continental island in Bangladesh with coral communities and associated flora and fauna, which are found on many true coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Narikel Jinjira is now identified as one of the Environmentally sensitive area in Bangladesh has suffered deforestation thrice in this century. On the other hand the extractable natural resources also depleting very quickly. Government of Bangladesh has passed a gazette notification saying that a marine park will be developed on the island and banned many of the economic activities of the island people without arranging the alternatives. Bangladesh navy has taken 20 acre of land which is the only available farming land of the island people on requisition to develop a naval base, Local Government Engineering Department did some embankment works around the island which has caused erosion on the west side and limited sea turtles nesting area on the west. This shows that there is no coordination between the government agencies to maintain the environmentally sensitive area like Narikel Jinjira.

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