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| Last Updated:: 21/03/2014

Tranquil waterbodies

'Tranquil waterbodies':
Has brackish water with large variation in salinity (0.5–35 ppt). Sediment here is rich in nutrients. Has unique fauna – fishes, crabs, shrimps, mollusks, etc

1.What is a ‘coastal lagoon’?

    Has brackish water with large variation in salinity (0.5–35 ppt)

    Sediment here is rich in nutrients

    Has unique fauna – fishes, crabs, shrimps, mollusks, etc.

    Has unique plants – mangroves, seaweeds, sea grasses

    Shorelines of estuaries are the areas of dense human populations

2.Do we have coastal lagoons in our country?

    Yes, very much!

3.How many coastal lagoons are there in our country and what are they?

    The exact number of coastal lagoons we have is not known.
    But we can mention the approximate number of well-known lagoons, as follows:

    East coast lagoons [8]:

    1. Chilika lagoon
    2. Pulicat lagoon
    3. Pennar lagoon
    4. Bendi lagoon
    5. Nizampatnam lagoon
    6. Muttukadu lagoon
    7. Muthupet lagoon
    8. Gulf of Mannar lagoons

    West coast lagoons [9]:

    * Vembanad lagoon
    * Ashtamudi lagoon
    * Paravur lagoon
    * Ettikulam lagoon
    * Veli lagoon
    * Murukumpuzha lagoon
    * Talapady lagoon
    * Lagoons of the Mumbai coast
    * Lagoons of Lakshadweep

4.Which is the largest coastal lagoon in India?

    Chilika lagoon, Orissa.

5.Which is the largest coastal lagoon in the world?

    The Patos Lagoon, southern Brazil, is the largest coastal lagoon in the world.

    (Source: <>, retrieved on 6th April, 2009.)

6.Is there any country without lagoons?

    No significant lagoons in Canada, west coast of South America, Scandinavian Peninsula and China Sea Coast from Korea to south-east Asia.

    (Source: <>, retrieved on 6th April, 2009.)

7.Why do we like lagoons?

    *  They are like beautiful mini shallow seas, have the colour of the adjacent seas or oceans.
    * Their friendly tranquillity welcomes us for recreational activities (swimming, boating) and fishery purposes.
    * They support the lives of interesting, attractive and useful plants like mangroves, sea grasses, sea weeds, etc.

8.What are all the characteristic features of lagoons?

    Shallow water bodies, with ca 2–4 m depth
    Salinity may vary from 5 to 35 ppt (or zero to hypersaline) depending upon the freshwater in-flow
    Support the lives of many plants and animals, especially the submerged macrophytes
    Good breeding grounds and shelters for many marine fishes, shrimps, crabs, etc.
    Usually they are surrounded by thick human population
    They are the very good indicators of environmental degradation

9.Are lagoons connected with the rivers like estuaries?

    No, rivers are emptying only in some of the lagoons.    

10.What is the difference between estuary and lagoon?

    There are quite a few differences between estuaries and lagoons.
    But sometimes it is hard to differentiate them, especially in the cases where the rivers empty in lagoons.
    Generally lagoons have very less water currents or movements.
    Many other differences have to be probed.

11.What are all the uses of coastal lagoons?

    Their unique calm productive environment protects many fauna and flora.
    Often, their shores will be bordered with mangroves – heavenly sites to enjoy.
    They are excellent breeding grounds for marine fishes and crustaceans.
    They support human settlement to a larger extent.
    Support fisheries – both culture and capture fisheries.
    Helpful in salt production.
    They are excellent recreation spots – a good source of revenue.
    They are good habitats for the oysters and other molluscs.
    They are the sanctuaries for the birds like grebes, pelicans, ibis, egrets, herons, spoonbills, avocets, stilts, storks, flamingos, cormorants, kingfishers, fish eagles, etc.

12.What is ‘Ramsar Convention’?

    “The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, i.e., to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational values. It is named after the town of Ramsar in Iran [in February 1971].”
    (Source: <>, retrieved on 7th April, 2009.)
    Mission statement of Ramsar Convention: “The Convention’s mission is the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world (Ramsar COP8, 2002).”
    (Source: <>, retrieved on 6th April, 2009.)

13.What are Ramsar sites?

    Ramsar Convention has listed and classified the important wetlands of the world, based on their economic and scientific values, for effective conservation and sustainable utilization of their resources. These wetlands are called as Ramsar sites.

14.What are all the lagoons of our country listed under Ramsar Convention?

    East coast:

    1. Chilika Lake, Orissa, included in the list on 1-10-1981.

    West coast:

    1. Vembanad-Kol Wetland, Kerala, included in the list on 19-08-2002.
    2. Ashtamudi Wetland, Kerala, included in the list on 19-08-02.

    (Source: Annual Report 2007–2008, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, Annexure-VII B.)

15.What is the present status of our coastal lagoons?

    Not good, very much threatened just like estuaries.
    Please see the ‘estuaries’ webpage to know how the lagoons are threatened by us, humans.

16.What is the role of our ENVIS Centre in conserving these natural water bodies?

    Spreading scientific knowledge on coastal lagoons and other coastal ecosystems to implant the importance of them in people’s minds.
    We collect scientific information on estuaries.
    We disseminate the information in various forms and formats to the school and college students, scholars, teachers, scientists, ecologists, environmentalists, policy makers and to the common public.