Tales from the Coast part 1- With rising sea level and overfishing, coastal communities in Tamilnadu switch to integrated fish farming

Feb 25, 05:03 AM
Poompuhar, a quaint, ancient, port town is in the Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu. The land has a history of a tsunami and sea-level rise, as many historians and scientists point out. The 2004 tsunami impacted the lives and livelihood of fishermen here. MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) set up ‘Fish for all Centre’ in Poompuhar, and worked with local communities on rebuilding their lives after the tsunami, and offering training programmes to better their livelihood for a sustainable income.

As overfishing, and exploitation of marine resources is becoming rampant, small scale fishermen cannot depend on one source of income for a sustainable livelihood.

Integrated Fish Farming was introduced by MSSRF and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to create community fishing ponds. Unutilised farm ponds were brought back to life and converted into fish ponds. Overall, 152 farm ponds were rejuvenated to convert them into fish ponds in the Nagapattinam district.

Along with this fish pond, farmers also diversified their livelihood through horticulture, floriculture, apiculture and other components. By integrating these components in their farmland, fish farmers had increased incomes and could reduce their livelihood risks in times of changing climate.