The first project conducted by ReefWatch in Goa is the Veterinary Network for Stranded Marine Megafauna, established in March-end 2021. This veterinary wing ties into the existing “Ocean Watch” network (est. 2017), built by Terra Conscious in collaboration with Drishti Group and the Goa Forest Department. ReefWatch’s role in the network is to provide treatment to injured and diseased marine megafauna, which include sea turtles, sea birds, dolphins, whales and porpoises.
It has been a promising start to the project in Goa that we at ReefWatch hope to continue and grow along with our network partners. A treatment, and rehabilitation, facility is essential for the effective treatment of injured marine life. To effect any real change at a policy level, data is important. As the marine veterinary project progresses, we are identifying other avenues for research, such as the presence of antibiotics in marine fauna, the status of biodiversity in Goa’s waters, the effects of untreated pollution and effluent in the ocean, and the level of overfishing in the state.
While marine animals certainly qualify as stakeholders in the marine ecosystem, the next step would be to work with local communities, particularly those involved in fishing and tourism. As our work progresses, we hope to work with local governing bodies, volunteer organisations, youth organisations and schools, and other scientists based in Goa.