MSSRF partners with WWF and Plum to enhance livelihoods of fisherwomen in Tamil Nadu
The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)’s Fish For All Research and Training (FFA) Centre, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India and Plum conducted a 15-day workshop on ghost gear upcycling from May 15 to May 30.
30 fisherwomen from Poompuhar, Vanagiri and Thenpathi villages of Mayiladuthurai district underwent training on design thinking, elements and principles of design, waving techniques, and product development to create products like wall hangings, table mates and coasters from ghost nets. Designers from WWF India trained the participants on creating ornaments from ghost gear. Besides seen as an initiative to tackle plastic pollution, the workshop provides a livelihood option for the fisherwomen.
‘Ghost gear’ refers to abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear, and is estimated to be ten per cent of all marine litter. It can be considered one of the deadliest forms of marine plastic debris, as animals that are caught in it can die a slow, painful death from suffocation or exhaustion.
At the valedictory function conducted on 30 May, Dr Vinod, Director, Coastal Program of WWF, India explained the dangers of plastic on the coast. Certificates were distributed to the participants. Dr. S. Velvizhi, Head Fish for All Centre expressed her wish to work with WWF in the future to take the initiative to other coasts.
FFA, established after the Tsunami in December 2004, aims to bring about collective and holistic changes among the coastal community in the fields of natural resource management, training and capacity building, sustainable livelihood options, and disaster preparedness and management. This workshop supports the Centre’s objectives of enhancing and diversifying the livelihoods of fishers and focusing on women for poverty alleviation, while protecting the environment and wildlife.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.