Dugong - Seagrass Conservation in Palk Bay, India

Publié: 07 avril 2022
Dernière modification: 07 avril 2022
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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.


Asie du Sud
Ampleur de la mise en œuvre
Herbiers marins
Écosystèmes marins et côtiers
Acteurs locaux
Cadre juridique et politique
Connaissances traditionnelles
Fragmentation et la dégradtion de l'habitat
Gouvernance des Aires protégées et conservées
Science et recherche
Conservation des espèces et interventions axées sur l’approche « Une seule santé »
Planification de la conservation des espèces
Une seule santé
Santé animale
Lien entre la biodiversité et la santé
Effets du changement climatique et de la pollution sur la santé
Aspects sanitaires liés aux facteurs socio-économiques tels que la pauvreté, l'éducation, les structures de sécurité sociale, digitalisation, les systèmes de financement et le développement des capacités humaines
Perte de biodiversité
Montée du niveau des mers
Utilisations conflictuelles / impacts cumulatifs
Perte de l'écosystème
Pollution (y compris eutrophisation et déchets)
Récolte non durable, y compris la surpêche
Développement d’infrastructure
Manque d'accès au financement à long terme
Manque d'autres possibilités de revenu
Extraction de ressources matérielles
Manque de sécurité alimentaire
Manque de sensibilisation du public et des décideurs
Manque de capacités techniques
Chômage / pauvreté
Objectifs de développement durable
ODD 14 - Vie aquatique
Objectifs d’Aichi
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 2: Valeurs de la biodiversité intégrées
Objectif 3: Attraits réformées
Objectif 5: Perte d'habitat réduite de moitié ou diminuée
Objectif 6: Gestion durable des ressources vivantes aquatiques
Objectif 10: Ecosystèmes vulnérables au changement climatique
Objectif 11: Aires protégées et conservées
Objectif 15: Restauration et la résilience des écosystèmes
Objectif 17: Stratégies de la biodiversité et des plans d'action
Cadre de Sendai
2: Réduire nettement, d’ici à 2030, le nombre de personnes touchées par des catastrophes.
6: Améliorer nettement, d’ici à 2030, la coopération internationale avec les pays en développement en leur fournissant un appui approprié et continu afin de compléter l’action qu’ils mènent à l’échelle nationale pour mettre en œuvre le présent Cadre.
Approches pour l’engagement des entreprises
Engagement direct avec des associations
Indirect par le biais des consommateurs
Indirect à travers des gouvernements


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


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. 





6 dugongs have been rescued (2016-2021)


32000 school students 


1159 trainees of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy 


13600 fishermen 


3750 University students





Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

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.  


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.  



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.  

Contribué par

Portrait de omcarfoundation@gmail.com

Balaji Vedharajan OMCAR Foundation

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