In a bid to improve marine ecology of the state, the Gujarat Ecology Commission would be transplanting corals from the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu to the Gulf of Kutch.
"We will be taking up a coral transplantation project on a pilot basis for five years to improve marine ecology in the Gulf of Kutch," GEC member secretary E Balagurusami told PTI.
"Under this project, we aim to transplant corals from Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu to Gulf of Kutch. This transplantation would be done in five to six islands," he said, adding this would be done with the help of Tamil Nadu forest department.
"Since the ecological conditions in Mannar and Kutch, including the salinity in water are identical, it has been decided to transplant corals from Gulf of Mannar," he said.
The total reef area in the Gulf of Kutch has decreased over the years, primarily due to natural and manmade causes.
Among the natural causes, the most significant are geographic isolation and extreme environmental conditions leading to the survival of only a few hardy species.
Siltation due to legal and illegal mining of corals, construction of harbours and industries in the vicinity of coral reefs are some of the key cause of reduction in species of corals in the Gulf of Kutch.
Balagurusami said that experts would begin assessment of places where the transplantation would be done after this year's monsoon season.
"In the first year, we plan to do transplantation in 200 sq mt area and gradually increase it to 2000 sq mt in five years time," the GEC member secretary said.
Balagurusami said the results of transplantation would take at least three years to become visible.
"After looking at the results, we would decide about transplantation in larger scale in the Gulf of Kutch area where the Marine National Park is located," he said.
"Which species to transplant would be decided by the experts who would be coming from Chennai after the monsoon," he said, adding that there are about 55 species of corals reported in the Gulf of Kutch.
According to Balagurusami, if the pilot project succeeds, they would take a decision on training locals in the region on transplanting techniques.
The whole stretch of coral reefs and mangroves in the Gulf of Kutch, covering an area of 295 sq km, was declared a Marine Sanctuary in 1980 while 163 sq km area was declared as Marine National Park in 1982 by the state government.