Women empowerment through mangrove integrate coastal aquaculture initiation

Chennai: The Centre for Research on New International Economic Order (CReNIEO)a registered Society in Tamil Nadu founded in the year 1979 by Prof.Dr.Rajaratnam (1921-2010), an eminent Economist and a visionary. The Centre is dedicated to holistically empower the economically poor and socially vulnerable groups of India’s rural population. Promoting quality of life, providing adequate education on environmental ­protection, empowerment of coastal community to sustainably manage natural resources, and promote entrepreneurial skills for economic self-reliance with special attention to the concerns of women and children of the Pulicat Lake Dalit and other tribal fishing communities are the mission of the organisation. The goals are being achieved with excellent support of various funding agencies in India and abroad mainly EU (European Union) and BMZ (German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development)projects through Global Nature Fund (GNF) and its Living Lakes network since 2005.

local women felicitating project manager Moses Inbaraj
local women felicitating project manager Moses Inbaraj

Pulicat Lake gives livelihood to more than 30,000 families living in about 70 villages. The increasing deterioration of the Pulicat Coastal Lagoon ecosystem that seriously threatens the livelihoods of the rural communities is addressed through successful implementation of large-scale mangrove restoration in relation to biodiversity conservation and their protection. About 265hectares of mangrove restoration attained by plantation of locally available Avicenna marina and Rhizophora mucronate saplings transferred from Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) mangrove forests and their constant monitoring. Mangrove forests as natural vegetation of the transition area between land and sea stabilise the soil with their extensive root system, retain fertile sediment from rivers, store enormous amounts of carbon, weaken the force of tropical storms and serve as nurseries for countless marine animals important in coastal fisheries and stabilizing local livelihoods, thus increasing the resilience of rural coastal populations.

With this background, CReNIEO is delighted to implement the present GNF-BMZ Project designed on empowerment of women of coastal communities in mangrove integrated brackish water aquaculture by demonstration of Asian seabass (Latescalcarifer) and mud crab (Scylla serrata) farming in land-based ponds at Kulathumedu village adjacent to Pulicat Lake. Kulathumedu village of Pazhaverkadu Panchayat – Pulicat has about 240 families primarily of ST – Irula Tribes and Hindu communities engaged in fishing with small nets, hand picking (fish, prawn, crab) and also crab fattening to a certain extent (only 30 families). The project technically supported by the primary National Research Institutions -the Central Institute of Brackish water Aquaculture (CIBA) and Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) and a few other experts of the country by involving 40 selected women beneficiaries from Irula-tribes fishing community as an alternative income generation.The period of the project is from January 2022 to December 2024

In this regard it is with great pleasure CReNIEO apprise that on Tuesday the 2nd August 2022 morning at 08.30hrs the seabass and mud crab seeds supplied by RGCA are scheduled to be released for farming in the two ponds selected and well prepared in the village amidst the august gathering of officials from CReNIEO, CIBA, RGCA, Forest, Educational Institutions, Environmentalists and the beneficiaries. This is the golden opportunity for the coastal community to augment their exposure on land-based and open net pen and cage farming/ rearing of seabass and mud crab in coastal belts in and around Pulicat Lake.

CReNIEO expresses its gratitude for the sponsors – the Global Nature Fund (GNF) and the Federal Ministry for Economic cooperation and Development (BMZ), the officials of both CIBA and RGCA, Department of Tamil Nadu Forest and all those associated in offering their technical support/ expertise for the successful operation of the project to attain sustainability.

Dr. K.P. Rajendran & Dr. A.R. Tirunavukarasu, Directors of RGCA Research Institute,  Former Principal Scientist Dr. M. Kathirvel, former Principal Scientist Dr. Senthil Murugan, present RGCA Special Scientist Dr. Shanmuka Arasu were the special guests on the occasion. Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department, Forest Department, Village Administration Officers, Pulicat National Matriculation School and other educational institutes and village elders participated and graced the program.

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