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9 June, 2017 12:07:54 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 June, 2017 12:10:30 AM

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Nature’s treasure trove in Bay

Swatch of No Ground
Aminul Islam
Nature’s treasure trove in Bay

The Swatch of No Ground, a canyon or marine valley, located in the Bay of Bengal, is a bewildering treasure trove of minerals and biodiversity. The 173,800 hectares of the Swatch of No Ground or SONG forms the world’s second largest canyon, south of Dublarchar in the Sundarbans.

It is believed to have been formed some 125,000 years ago. It is one of the world’s 11 under-sea canyons. The canyon has been called Swatch of No Ground by the British because of its seemingly bottomless depth. A British battleship was lost in this area towards the end of the 18th century and thus the name was given. Known as the fish hub of the Bay of Bengal, it is home to whales, dolphins, sharks and rare marine turtles, besides innumerable species of fish. A group of researchers believe this expanse of the sea to be a safe breeding ground for marine species. This has given the zone a rich biodiversity and made it important for the proposed blue economy.
This marine valley spread over 1,738 sq km and has a depth of 900 metres. deep marine valley. It has an astonishing collection of sea mammals like whales, dolphins, large Irrawadi dolphins, Indo-Pacific dolphins, hunchback Indo-Pacific dolphins and mixed back (finless) dolphins. In the last week of March, an expedition by 13 adventurers, researchers and scuba divers scoured the area to get an idea of its biodiversity. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
coordinated the expedition, led by the Isabela Foundation, in which the Navy ship Korotoa took part. The expedition was named ‘In search of sea and life’.
Kabir Bin Anwar, DG (Admn) of the PMO and chairman of the Isabela Foundation, was the leader of the expedition. He said the continental shelf, descending step by step, created a natural sanctuary for hammerhead sharks to four types of dolphins. “We boarded fishing trawlers to see the types of fishes in their catch. Even the birds patrolling the sky above the canyon have been catalogued,” he said.
He also said thanks to the initiatives taken by Premier Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has got control over 100,000sq km of sea by winning legal battles against its neighbours. “In that context, we embarked on the first expedition to the Swatch. We’ll begin the next phase in coordination with all government agencies,” he added.
Naval maps were used during the expedition. Future exploration would involve seismic surveys to map mineral resources, including oil and gas.
Anwar said the PM’s directive prompted the government to explore both above and below the sea level. He also said the government was considering marking off the area as a conservation zone because of its rich mineral resources and biodiversity. The fauna of the area would be catalogued in great detail, he further said.
Another large-scale expedition was being planned in December, he added.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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