CORAL REEFS DISTRIBUTION
(ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS)
The Andaman islands (10º 30' - 14º N; 92 - 93º E) are the
emerged part of a mountain chain and lie on a ridge which extends southward
from the Irrawaddy delta area of Burma. The Nicobar islands (6º 30'
- 9º 30' N; 93 - 94º E) are high islands forming the southward
extension of this mountain chain.
There are about 321 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar group, with a
total land area of 8293 sq. km. 38 of these islands are populated.
Climate is typically tropical. These islands are subjected to the predominant
influence of south-west monsoon, with a total annual rainfall of about
3000 mm. Nicobars are affected by cyclones.
Reef Structure and Corals:
Coral reefs are of the fringing type, often several hundred meters wide
and separated from shore by a lagoon of similar width. The commonest corals
are Acropora, Porites, Pocillopora, Montipora, Heliopora, Tubipora and
Noteworthy Fauna and Flora:
These islands have a considerable stock of marine life. The islands have
important nesting beaches for Leatherback Dermochelys coriacea, Hawksbill
Eretmochelys imbricata, Olive Ridley Lepidochelys olivacoes and Green Turtle
Chelonia mydea. The sea cow Dugong dugong is also seen frequently in these
islands. Several hundred estuarine crocodiles occur in densities inversely
proportional to human population. Beside these, sea shells of different
sizes, varieties of fish like sardines, tuna, baracuda, mullets, mackerals
and flying fishes are abundant. Sharks, whales and dolphins have also been
Status of Reef & disturbance
Massive siltation of the marine environment is resulting from widespread
and uncontrolled deforestation in the hills is a serous problem. Several
resources like green turtles, corcodiles, sea cow and molluscan shells
are overexploited by the islanders.
Most of the islanders are engaged in farming or other commercial activities.
Fishing is and important industry along the coast. Harvest of molluscan
shells especially of Trochus and Turbo spcies is on commercially important
scale. Tourism is a fast-developing industry.