Site: Karnataka Coastline
What is your personal relation to the natural coastal or marine site you represent?
70% of our body is water, so is the composition of planet Earth and it is impossible to disassociate oneself with this fact. My personal relation with marine site that I represent is as obvious as this fact, and hence my belief that something so huge, which is a part of our very existence, and is being exploited so cruelly draws my attention even more to this matter. I was deeply affected when I got to know about the experiences that fishermen shared of returning homes with empty nets day after day, making their struggle of survival all the more tough. How can one not be influenced by looking at all this and not take an action to do something about it in order to improve the situation. Considering that the presence of marine life is an important part of whole of the ecosystem that exists on this planet, I personally want to be instrumental in bringing about a positive change to the existing grave situation where fishermen communities are struggling day in and day out for meeting their basic needs of survival.
What are the specific problems and threats of your natural coastal or marine site?
According to the years of research done by Greenpeace the problems that have clearly come up are as follows:-
1) Decline in the income of traditional fishermen community because of the non-protection of marine ecosystem.
2) Greenpeace has worked mostly on the east coast, but this is symptomatic of the coastal protection across the country;
a) Lack of prioritization of marine conservation.
b) Lack of consultation with local communities.
c) An important observation of the adverse effects of illegal overfishing on the livelihoods of fishermen community and the close interrelation between livelihood and conservation of marine ecosystem.
Why do you think is it important to safeguard your natural coastal or marine site?
About 12.5 million people in India are directly dependent for their livelihood on fishing. Indirectly also there is a pretty good percentage of population dependent on fishing, including women folk and growing children. Also for many coastal communities fish is as food is extremely important since it is their only source of protein.
80% of fisheries have collapsed globally, a fact that cannot or to say must not be ignored. Overfishing, lacks of conservation, climate change, unsustainable industrialisation have all contributed to it. We need to learn from mistakes made by other industrialised countries and make sure that such a situation does not arrive in our country. Too many lives will come to an end if proper measures are not taken to improve the current situation of income loss of fishermen communities and the health of coastal and marine biodiversity.
There is a requirement of enforcing strict regulatory laws to take care of the over illegal fishing that happens at a very extensive rate, which intern tremendously disturbs the balance of the marine ecosystem and deeply affects the living conditions of traditional fishermen folk. It is highly important to safeguard the natural and coastal marine sites before it arrives at a final collapse. India as a host of CBD this year and having chosen marine biodiversity as the theme, is in a position to show leadership on the issue.