Fri, 16 Mar 2012 02:28:45 GMT | By Satarupa Bhattacharya
Photo feature: Hope floats on Indian seas

Glimpses and lessons from the special Indian voyage of Greenpeace’s Esperanza

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On the 12th of February, 2012, MY Esperanza, the campaigning ship of Greenpeace, docked at Port Blair off the Andaman coast with a mission to highlight, in the course of a one-month trip, the impacts of illegal and destructive fishing practices in the Indian waters and build public support for effective management that would protect India's staggering marine biodiversity.
2012 is a key year for the Oceans as countries have set themselves a deadline to establish a global network of marine protected areas, especially in the high seas. A host of environmental summits and conferences scheduled throughout the year will focus on Ocean conservation. The Esperanza tour sought to highlight issues and practices that would help Indian authorities to take the upper hand in governance of its seas, specifically with regard to marine ecosystems and livelihoods of coastal communities.

12 million people in India depend on coastal resources for their livelihoods, but Greenpeace activists allege that successive governments have turned a blind eye to the way that the coasts and oceans are mismanaged and to the unsustainable fishing practices that continue unabated in Indian waters.

Says Areeba Hamid, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace India, "We cannot let the status quo prevail anymore and the Indian government needs to act now to put an end to illegal and unsustainable fishing in India. India's fisheries need to be managed in such a way that it preserves and promotes the ecology and the unique marine life of the area as well as the interests of local fishermen." Thus, this unique eco-friendly vessel set sail on Indian seas, hoping to expose the mismanagement of marine resources and inspire positive action by the government and other authorities.

Take a look here at stunning glimpses of the majestic ship and find out what the campaigners aboard discovered.