The one-day state-level collaborative workshop on the revitalisation of Kerala’s fisheries sector, jointly organised by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) and the Coastal Area Development Agency for Liberation (Cadal), strongly recommended that the State government enact legislation to safeguard the traditional rights of the fishermen community over fishery resources, including inland water bodies and the seashore.

The workshop called upon the Union government to withdraw its proposal to permit corporate entities to engage in large-scale, unrestricted mineral mining without due consideration for its environmental impact and harm to the marine ecosystem.

The resolution passed during the plenary session of the workshop firmly opposes mining activities at seashores, emphasising that such actions would jeopardize the marine ecosystem, habitats, and the livelihoods of fishermen.

Climate change

The workshop also urged the Centre to ensure the sustainable conservation of marine ecosystems and livelihood of fishermen folk while implementing the blue economy projects within the framework of stable development. It stressed the necessity for changes in the blue economy policy and approach to ensure that the economic benefits of these projects are distributed to fishermen and coastal residents instead of being exclusively claimed by corporate entities.

In addition, the workshop highlighted the importance of research studies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the fisheries sector. The recommendations and demands made during the workshop’s plenary session will be submitted to the government, Sabbas Ignatius, the Chairperson of the workshop and director of Cadal, said.

The workshop witnessed the participation of over 200 experts from various segments of the fisheries sector. The event was inaugurated by State Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian.

Research grant

Meanwhile, the Department of Aquatic Environment Management at Kufos has been awarded two research grants totalling ₹82.34 lakh. The first research project, valued at ₹30 lakh, has been sanctioned by the Space Application Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Ahmedabad. This project aims to develop algorithms for carbon and nitrogen-based productivity and their relationship to bio geo chemistry using in-situ and satellite data in the Arabian Sea.

The second research programme, worth ₹52.34 lakh, has been awarded to the University by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services in Hyderabad. This project will investigate the environmental parameters influencing the health of coral reefs in Lakshadweep.