MENGALORE: Located 20 nautical miles away from Bhatkal lies the heart shaped island of Netrani. The island is located approximately 10 nautical miles from the temple town of Murudeshwara. Besides pigeons, the other inhabitants of the island are wild goats. This island has some of the best sites for scuba diving which is accessible from Mangalore, Goa, Mumbai or Bangalore. It was a few years back that the Indian Navy was using the island for target practice.
Netrani is a coral island and suitable for snorkeling and diving activities. Many varieties of coral, butterfly fish, trigger fish, parrot fish, eels and shrimps can be seen here. Tourists of late have been flocking to this island to experience snorkeling and scuba diving for a nominal price of Rs 2000 for Indians and Rs 5,000 for foreign nationals.
The fishermen in the region have taken up the issue with the Udupi deputy commissioner to save the fish and the coral reef.
Raju Srinivas, a Bhatkal fisherman said, “It is not tourism which is bothering us. The tourists, usually foreigners like to stay in this island for many days catching local fish thereby leaving no catch for us.”
Raju said that the scuba divers carry electronic equipments which disturb the fish breeding areas of Netrani island.
Meanwhile, environmentalists have taken the issue with the Udupi deputy commissioner to stop snorkeling and fishing activity in the island.
The tourist agents from Goa have expressed their resentment and hoped that scuba diving and snorkeling activities will be allowed in the island.