Science and technical expertise

Published: 12 January 2021
Last edited: 12 January 2021

Dredging, recognized as a serious threat to the marine turtles, was identified by IUCN as a priority.  IUCN, with experts from the Species Survival Commission’s Marine Turtle Specialist Group designed and developed a dredging protocol to be followed during port operations. These included installing turtle deflectors on all dredger drag-heads to help ensure turtles were not pulled into the dredger. Trained observers were assigned to all dredgers to monitor this process. These observers would check screens on inflow and overflow pipes on a 24/7 basis. These measures (deflectors, screens, and human observers) were put in place to ensure that the dredging was “turtle friendly”. Such measures were the first to have been put in place in the history of dredging activities in India.


Lighting was the second major threat identified because excess glare is known to distract turtle hatchlings as they instinctively move towards brightly lit areas and away from the sea. For this, the IUCN Commission experts provided specific guidelines for the port’s lighting plan, which was adopted by the port authorities. IUCN further supported Tata Steel in identifying the right design for these lights. Today, Dhamra Port is the first and only port in India to have installed “turtle friendly” lighting.


Alliance and partnership development
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase

Enabling factors

IUCN supported DPCL in developing an Environment Management Plan (EMP). This plan was scientifically robust and practically implementable, going beyond the existing legal requirements. Most importantly EMP was designed in such a way that it becomes the integral part of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of DPCL. This makes it different from other EMPs.

Lessons learned

Large-scale infrastructure can be designed to successfully incorporate biodiversity considerations.