Fishing for Information: Five centres in Tamil Nadu to inform fishing communities
Chennai, March 28, 2017: Tamil Nadu has set up five fisheries information centres across the state to support life and livelihood of fisher folk said Dr Beela Rajesh, IAS, Commissioner of Fisheries, Government of Tamil Nadu. She was speaking at the state-level stakeholder workshop on marine advisory services organized by MSSRF and INCOIS here today. The workshop was attended by representatives from fishing communities from 8 districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The five centres are located in Chennai, Cuddalore, Thoothukudy, Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram. MSSRF has been extending technical support for these information centres. Dr Beela said “Fishing is the 2nd most dangerous profession in the world. Life is most important and the government cares for fisher folks safety and security.” She urged them on priority to services such as the lifebuoy provided by the Government to protect themselves”. She spoke about the need to practice sustainable fishing, stop using banned nets and maintain hygienic conditions so the fish could get a remunerative price.
Dr V Selvam, Executive Director, MSSRF quoted a UNFAO statistic to emphasize that if sustainable fishing is not practiced, coastal fishing could be wiped out by 2050. Dr Sourav Maity, Scientist, INCOIS spoke about the services provided by INCOIS for deep sea fishing. He shared the potential of tuna fish that is economically very remunerative. Against the potential of 278,000 metric tonnes only 40,000 metric tonnes of tuna is being harvested which fishing communities could cash in on. Prof Manikandavelu, Department of Fisheries, Govt of Tamil Nadu and Dr Nammalvar, Anna University, also emphasized the need for value addition, for training for fisher folk and for sustainable fishing practices.
Ms Nancy J Anabel, Director IEC, MSSRF, gave an overview of the programme and Dr Velvizhi, Principal Scientist MSSRF explained about the activities taking place at MSSRF’s ‘Fish for All Centre’, Poompuhar. Fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry voiced their concerns related to pricing as well as issues of conflict and need for support for their practice. They shared their expectations of information services during the workshop. Representatives from Department of Fisheries, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, from academic institutions, besides scientists from INCOIS and MSSRF participated in the discussions. The meeting is an opportunity to understand the needs of fishing communities so information that is provided would be useful and enable further research for their development.
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.