Fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM) of southwestern Bay of Bengal surface water during southwest monsoon consisted five fluorophores, three humic-like and two protein-like. The humification index (HIX) and humic fluorophores, viz., visible (C), marine (M) and UV (A) humic-likes indicated, better than biogeochemical constituents analyzed, that the northern-half region of the study area which is closer to the head bay (less salinity) is distinctly more terrestrially influenced. Similarly, the southernhalf region (less dissolved oxygen) is indicated as more in situ influenced. This region is enriched with tyrosine protein-like fluorophore (B), an indicator of bacterial metabolism in some of its samples due to upwelled water. Although chlorophyll 𝑎 is less in this (southern) region, the fluorescence based biological index (BIX) which is an index of recent phytoplankton production is about the same in the two regions, and the lower chlorophyll 𝑎 of southern region is attributed to greater grazing pressure. Fluorescence properties, e.g., BIX are more informative about phytoplankton production than chlorophyll 𝑎.