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SAIME INITIATIVE - IAS Academy in Coimbatore


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In Sundarbans, a new shrimp farming initiative offers hope for mangrove restoration.

  • Under Sustainable Aquaculture In Mangrove Ecosystem (SAIME) initiative, farmers have taken up cultivation of shrimp at 30 hectares in West Bengal.
  • Additionally, they are restoring mangroves.
  • Started in 2019, the community-based initiative of sustainable shrimp cultivation is being conceived by NGOs- Nature Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS) and Global Nature Fund (GNF), Naturland, Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS).
  • The mangrove ecosystem is integrated with shrimp cultivation, but when fisheries were expanded inwards, the mangrove ecosystem was excluded.
  • Fishing, particularly shrimp cultivation, is one of the key occupations of the people of Sundarbans, which is a complex network of rivers and low-lying islands that face a tide surge twice a day.
  • Shrimp cultivation is practised in about 15,000 to 20,000 hectares of the unique ecosystem in India.

What is the Significance of the Sundarbans Delta

  • The Sundarbans hosts the largest mangrove forests in the world, lying on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal.
  • Mangrove ecosystem is a very specialised environment occurring in between the land and the sea in the tropical and subtropical regions.
  • Sundarbans is the natural abode of many groups of animals and a large number of species are known to feed, breed, and take shelter in this ecosystem.
  • It is home to many rare and globally threatened wildlife species such as the estuarine crocodile, water monitor lizard, Gangetic dolphin and olive ridley turtle.
  • 40% of Sundarbans lies in India and the rest in Bangladesh. Sundarbans was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 (India) and 1997 (Bangladesh).
  • Sundarbans Wetland, India was recognised as the ‘Wetland of International Importance’ under the Ramsar Convention in January 2019.