New Delhi: The Ministry of Earth Science has been actively working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA towards strengthening of ocean observations in the Indian Ocean with a view to improve understanding ocean process for better forecasting capabilities including studying the Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB). This information was given by Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr Y S Chowdary in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
As per Minister, the cooperation is primarily of two folds viz., (i) Develop HAB monitoring and prediction system for short-term prediction of sardine, mackerel and anchovies of the southeast Arabian Sea (ii) acquisition of ocean and atmospheric variables through moored buoys from the equatorial Indian Ocean for the betterment of the prediction of monsoon.
According to the agreement, ship-time of 60 days and related logistics and support had been extended by India, whereas development and deployment of buoys were carried out by NOAA. So far 36 out of 46 buoys have been deployed and all the data have been shared both by India and US scientists.
As part of this collaboration, 5 workshops were conducted in India and a hands-on training on phytoplankton toxin analysis given to Indian Scientists by NOAA experts at Cochin. The Ministry also has conducted regular surveys along the coastal and oceanic area of India and recorded altogether about 84 algal blooms during the period from 1998 to 2016. Studies suggest a marginal increase in the frequency of occurrence of these blooms over the years due to varied reasons. The data required have been reported for the concerned agencies to make assessment and take necessary action in the improvement of fishery management.