Biological productivity and potential resources of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of India
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An assessment of the biological production and the potential fishery resources has been made based on the data collected over a period of 15 years (1976-1991). The entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), measuring 2.02 million km sup(2) was divided into 4 regions viz. Arabian Sea (0.698 x 10 sup(6) km sup(2)), Bay of Bengal (0.525 x 10 sup(6) km sup(2)), Lakshadweep Sea (0.230 x 10 sup(6) km sup(2)) and Andaman and Nicobar Seas (0.467 x 10 sup(6) km sup(2)). The shelf areas sustained higher production at various trophic levels and production decreased with increasing depth. In general, the northern regions of the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal were more productive than the other areas. Seasonal variability in biological production was discernible with maximum values obtained during south-west monsoon period. Benthic production (av. = 7.8 gm m sup(-2)) showed direct relationship with the primary production of the overlying water. Spatial and temporal variability in potential fishery resources in each degree square was calculated from the production data. The potential fishery resources including demersal fishery of the entire EEZ of India worked out to be 3.45 million tones yr sup(-1). Since the annual fishery production is around 2.7 million tones, the present study indicates that the fish production from the Indian EEZ can be increased substantially without adversely affecting the resources.
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