To ensure that coastal tourism in Sindhudurg does not stress the marine environment by overcrowding at one spot, a project funded by the UN and the Centre has identified 12 locations where water sports such as scuba diving, snorkeling and others can be offered. Government officials said all the 12 locations are along the 121-km coast of Sindhudurg district and the sites are within 10 kilometers from the coast. “At present, a majority of these activities take place in the Malvan area of the district. This is impacting marine life, and in order to ease the pressure here, other places along the coast were scouted,” said a senior official.
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This exploration of new sites was funded by the United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and an interim report submitted to the state on October 30, 2016.
State officials said the move to look for more sea water activity sites in Sindhudurg would further promote the region as a tourism district, and it was wiser to focus on more areas. “It was a strategy to divert tourists from Malvan to nearby areas in the same district,” said Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) N Vasudevan, who was a part of the exploration.
Vasudevan added that the waters off the coast of Sindhudurg had special features with great potential to boost tourism. “The water there is the clearest along the coast and there is a diverse range of corals. Near Vengurla, there is a very high diversity in fish, which includes rare predator fish,” Vasudevan said.
A report has also been prepared on how tourism can positively impact livelihood of the local residents. “We expect close to 3,000 persons to be employed in various capacities once the new areas are developed. Currently in Sindhudurg, the batch of persons who were first affiliated with us earns at least Rs 40,000,” an official claimed.
“About 13 lakh tourists had visited Sindhudurg last year. The water sport activities here are more affordable, which is one of the reasons why it is an attractive spot,” said Sarang Kulkarni, marine biologist and chief instructor at The Indian Institute of Scuba Diving and Aquatic Sports (IISDA), which is the state’s sole scuba diving centre.
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