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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Mumbai: Experts to check for sea creatures at key beaches

Nikhil.M.Ghanekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 13, 2013
First Published: 08:33 IST(13/9/2013) | Last Updated: 08:40 IST(13/9/2013)

To avoid a repeat of the fish-bite incident on the last immersion day, a team of scientists from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) will survey the sea off the Mumbai coast on Friday to gauge the stingray and jellyfish presence at the key beaches witnessing large congregations.

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Based on the findings, the state may issue a detailed advisory to caution citizens against such incidents at key immersion points, such as Girgaum, Juhu, Dadar and Versova.

Starting Thursday night, gill nets will be placed 1-1.5 km from the coast into the sea at spots such as Versova and Girgaum, to check for colonies of marine creatures.

The marine biologists may also use trawlers.

On Tuesday, more than 70 devotees had landed in hospital after being stung by eels and stingrays while immersing their idols off the Girgaum chowpatty.

The state government had asked the fisheries department to carry out the survey after the incident.

On Wednesday mor ning CMFRI scientists had col lected samples of stingrays (Himantura Imbricata), eels and box jellyfish from Girgaum Scientists said that box jel lyfish, whose tentacles contain toxins, could be present in swarms on the coastline.

“The survey will help us to determine which marine crea ture caused injuries to citizens Occurrence of box jellyfish is uncommon on the western coast of Arabian Sea.

These creatures are not capable of swimming close to the shore and strong oceanic currents may have pro pelled an entire colony near the coast,” said GB Purushottama scientist, CMFRI.

Purushottama added, “The box jellyfish’s tentacles contain toxins and it is important to know if they will pose a threat to devotees during the immer sion days.”

Scientists also found a fish species known as rough flathead (Grammoplites Scaber) that has prickly scales on the exterior.


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