Dugong - Seagrass Conservation in Palk Bay, India

omcar
Publicado: 07 Abril 2022
Última edición: 07 Abril 2022
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Summary

OMCAR Foundation started for the conservation of dugongs and coastal habitats in Palk Bay. Our organization mapped the seagrass beds using acoustic technology, documented the stranding of animals for more than a decade to create awareness among fishers, and developed the policy in Government through our scientific publications and technical support. Dugong rescue and release groups (friends of dugongs) were formed at the grassroots by Tamil Nadu Forest Department with Wild Life Institute of India and OMCAR, which helped to rescue and release the dugongs from fishing nets. Additionally, omcar developed low-cost, eco-friendly seagrass restoration methods using bamboo and coconut coir ropes, which are being adapted for large-scale replication in the future. As a result of continuous effort, India's first dugong conservation reserve government order has been released in early 2022.

Classifications

Region
Sur de Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnacional
Ecosystem
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Pradera marina
Theme
Actores locales
Ciencia y investigación
Conocimientos tradicionales
Fragmentación del hábitat y degradación
Gobernanza de las áreas protegidas y conservadas
Marco legal y normativo
Restauracion
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Planificación de la conservación de especies
One Health
Sanidad animal
El vínculo entre biodiversidad y salud
Efectos en la salud debido al cambio climático y la contaminación
Aspectos sanitarios ligados a factores socioeconómicos, tales como: La pobreza, la educación, las estructuras de seguridad social, la digitalización, los sistemas de financiación y el desarrollo de la capacidad humana
Challenges
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Aumento del nivel del mar
Usos conflictivos / impactos acumulativos
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Cacería furtiva
Contaminación (incluida la eutrofización y la basura)
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Desarrollo de Infraestructura
Falta de acceso a financiación a largo plazo
Falta de oportunidades de ingresos alternativos
Extracción de recursos físicos
Falta de seguridad alimentaria
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Falta de capacidad técnica
Desempleo / pobreza
Sustainable development goals
ODS 14 - Vida submarina
Aichi targets
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 2: Valores de biodiversidad integrados
Meta 3: Incentivos reformados
Meta 5: Pérdida de hábitat reducida a la mitad o reducida
Meta 6: Gestión sostenible de los recursos vivos acuáticos
Meta 10: Ecosistemas vulnerables al cambio
Meta 11: Áreas protegidas y conservadas
Meta 15: Restauración de ecosistemas y resiliencia
Meta 17: Estrategias y planes de acción para la biodiversidad
Sendai Framework
Meta 2: Reducir el número de personas afectadas a nivel global para 2030
Meta 6: Incrementar la cooperación hacia países en desarrollo a través de apoyo adecuado y sustentable a fin de complementar sus acciones
Business engagement approach
Compromiso directo con asociaciones
Indirecto a través de los consumidores
Indirecto a través del gobierno

Ubicación

Velivayal, Pattukkottai, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India | Thanjavur District and Pudukottai District Coastal areas

Challenges

1.  Lack of baseline information about the dugong population and their feeding habitats (seagrass beds).  So, we worked more than a decade to conduct research and documentation.

 

2.  Lack of awareness among stakeholders about the conservation dugongs across all levels.  So, we regularly documented the local dugong deaths, strandings and seagrass associated animals and created awareness in villages, schools and by writing popular articles in news papers, websites and social media. 

 

3.  There was no conservation groups in grassroot level in Palk Bay.  So, Tamil Nadu Forest Department, Wild Life Institute of India and OMCAR formed such groups in the last five years resulting successful rescue and relase of dugongs. 

 

 

 

Beneficiaries

6 dugongs have been rescued (2016-2021)

 

32000 school students 

 

1159 trainees of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy 

 

13600 fishermen 

 

3750 University students

 

 

 

 

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

Creating awareness among the fisherfolks (building block 1) helped our organization to develop a good rapport with fishers. So, they participated in our seagrass mapping (building block 2) and also developed an eco-friendly and low-cost seagrass restoration method (building block 3) and dugong conservation.  It took nearly ten years to build the first three blocks.  Then, OMCAR conducted technical training for the government staff (building block 4) about seagrass restoration and dugong rescue and release and also organizes the local fishers for rescue and release of dugongs through networking (building block 5). As a next step, our organization has been working with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department for the declaration of dugong conservation in reserve in Palk Bay which is in progress.  

Impacts

1.  Increased awareness among local stakeholders helped to rescue and release six dugongs (total population is estimated ~150 in Palk Bay) with the joint effort of local fishers with WII, Forest Department, and OMCAR Foundation. 

2. Low cost and eco-friendly seagrass restoration methods are helpful to involve the local community and natural materials available from the local coast for seagrass transplantation in degraded sites. The material cost of the bamboo frame was 46% lesser than the PVC frame, and the same cost of the coir frame was 102% lesser than the PVC frame. The labor cost of the bamboo frame was 47% lesser than the PVC frame, and the same cost of the coir frame was 33% lesser than the PVC frame. Thus, naturally degradable bamboo and coir nets are better, whereas the coconut coir net method is the best as it is relatively low cost, easily available, and suitable for large-scale, community-based seagrass restoration. The situation of seagrass degradation has to be further improved after the implementation of the dugong conservation reserve in the later months of 2022.  

3. Our scientific publications on seagrass mapping, seagrass restoration, and dugong stranding records support the government for the establishment of a dugong conservation reserve in Palk Bay.  

Story

omcar

A group of fishers in northern Palk Bay went fishing like any other regular day. They are all poor fishers using shore seines in nearshore waters. They get up at the midnight and start fishing at 3 to 4 am, which includes both men and women. Suddenly they spotted a huge dugong caught in their fishing nets, which is traditionally considered a delicious food. However, these fishers attended awareness events organized by OMCAR and they are part of the "Friends of Dugongs Volunteer Group" formed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, WII, and OMCAR partnership.  

 

So, they immediately called the Forest department, OMCAR, and WII team to inform them about the dugong caught in their fishing net. The teams arrived at the spot and safely released the dugong back to the sea. This incident is a sample of how the dugongs have been safely rescued and released into the sea by local fisher groups after the continuous efforts for creating awareness among the fisherfolks for dugong rescue, release, and seagrass conservation.  

Contribuido por

Imagen de omcarfoundation@gmail.com

Balaji Vedharajan OMCAR Foundation

Other contributors

Light House Foundation
Light House Foundation
Rufford Small Grants Programme
Rufford Small Grants Programme
National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society