Biologists have discovered around 569 dolphins on the coasts of Sindhudurg, in Maharashtra. The findings, is seen as beneficial for growth of tourist activities in Sindhudurg, especially dolphin tourism, which is one of the major sources of income for local fishermen and hotel owners. Fishermen in the district operate ferry rides to tourists for dolphin watching, from which, a revenue of INR 4.5 crore is estimated annually.
The survey, conducted by the United Nations Development Programme, the Government of India and Global Environment Facility, was lead by a team of biologists who believe that the actual number of dolphins is higher. The Indian Ocean Humpback dolphin (sousa plumbea) and Indo-Pacific finless porpoise (neophocaena phocaenoides) were particularly found in the waters of Sindhudurg, along with which, the blue whale and Bryde’s whale is also said to be sighted.
Commenting on the findings, Santosh Kakade, owner of a local travel agency, Sanjana Travels, said, “Dolphin tourism had started around seven-eight years ago, but in the last two years, it has seen a huge growth. This update will attract more tourists into Sindhudurg. Businesses of local fishermen and hotels will also benefit from it. A lot of people are still not aware about Sindhudurg as a dolphin-watching destination. I hope the authorities will promote tourism in the district.”
According to the report, coastline between the villages Bhogwe and Mhapan, and Vijaydurg creek were indentified as the hotspots of Humpback dolphins. The biologists interacted with the local fishermen and hotel owners to understand the significance of dolphin tourism, and are also working on creating awareness among them and tourists.
The report also reveals that Devbag and Tarkali witness maximum dolphin tourism, among the 35 tourism units.