The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 158 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1828 wetland sites, totaling 169 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. .
Ashtamudi Wetland. 19/08/02. Kerala. 61,400 ha. 08°57'N 076°35'E. An extensive estuarine system, the second largest in Kerala State, which is of extraordinary importancefor its hydrological functions, its biodiversity, and its support for fish. The site supports a number of mangrove species as well as over 40 associated plant species, and 57 species of birds have been observed, including six thatare migratory. Nearly 100 species of fish sustain a lively fishing industry, with thousands of fishermen dependingdirectly upon the estuary for their livelihood. Population density and urban pressures pose threats to the site,including pollution from oil spills from thousands of fishing boats and from industries in the surrounding area and conversion of natural habitat for development purposes.Ramsar site no. 1204. . .
Sasthamkotta Lake. 19/08/02. Kerala. 373 ha. 09°02'N 076°37'E. The largest freshwater lake in Kerala state in the southwest of the country, spring-fed and the source of drinking water for half a million people in the Kollam district. Some 27 freshwater fish species are present. The water contains no common salts or other minerals and supports no water plants; a larva called "cavaborus" abounds and eliminates bacteria in the water, thus contributing to its exceptional purity. The ancient Sastha temple is an important pilgrimage centre. WWF-India has been of great assistance in preparing the site's designation. Ramsar site no. 1212. .
Vembanad-Kol Wetland. 19/08/02. Kerala. 151,250 ha. 09°50'N 076°45'E. The largest brackish, humid tropical wetland ecosystem on the southwest coast of India, fed by 10 rivers and typical of large estuarine systems on the western coast, renowned for its clams and supporting the third largest waterfowl population in India during the winter months. Over 90 species of resident birds and 50 species of migratory birds are found in the Kol area. Flood protection for thickly-populated coastal areas of three districts of Kerala is considered a major benefit, groundwater recharge helps to supply well water for the region, and the value of the system for the local transport of people and trade is considerable. Ramsar site no. 1214. .