Madurai

Sensitising fisherfolk to conservation of biodiversity

Troupe members of Arumbugal Trust, staging folklore programme to sensitise fisher folk on sea turtle conservation at Anandapuram near Ramanathapuram on Tuesday.

Troupe members of Arumbugal Trust, staging folklore programme to sensitise fisher folk on sea turtle conservation at Anandapuram near Ramanathapuram on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

Making the fisher folk assemble at a point and sensitising them to conservation of sea turtle and biodiversity was not an easy task but ‘Arumbugal Trust’, the Tirunelveli based non-governmental organisation, did it with ease in a folklore programme.

When a 12-member troupe, including six women gathered in front of the Panchayat union primary school at Anandapuram, a remote coastal hamlet, near here on Tuesday evening, the fisher folk looked perplexed but the troupe members, enacting skits and folk dances captivated them for over an hour.

After a customary welcome dance, the troupe members posed a one liner of ‘what is the problem in fishing’ and came out with range of problems in fishermen using five types of banned nets and posing threat to the endangered species such as sea turtle, dugong, sea cow, sea cucumber and coral reefs in the Gulf of Mannar.

After catching their attention, they subtly warned the fishermen in a skit that catching the endangered species, especially sea turtle, listed in schedule I of the wildlife protection act would not only land them in jail but cripple their livelihood.

‘Chinna pappa and Periya pappa’ the popular characters in a television serial came in handy for two women to convey the message.

Warning

The fishermen look stunned as they warned them that those who posed threat to the lives of sea turtles would attract seven years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000.

Suddenly, the school kids seated in the front burst into cheers as two men played a skit in ‘Dora and Buji’ and ‘Dholu and Kalia’ characters. The situation turned serious as Kalia explained the ordeal of sea turtles when fishermen used the banned pair trawling and purse seine nets.

The children and aged alike, watched in awe as Kalia went on to explain as to how the sea turtles were helpful to the fishermen for the development of marine resources.

Then came the troupe members posing as coral reef, sea cow, sea cucumber, dolphin and sea horse to explain the role they played in preserving the biodiversity and the fisher folk looked enlightened.

“The programme was very informative,” said K. Velu, a fisherman from Nammakoil Kudiyiruppu.

‘Arumbugal’ had been sensitising the stakeholders on eco-development, forest and marine conservation with community participation in tie-up with the forest department for the past 25 years, its Director V. Latha Mathivanan said.

The folklore programme was being implemented under the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project, said Deepak S. Belgi, Wildlife warden.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 4:52:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/Sensitising-fisherfolk-to-conservation-of-biodiversity/article16726660.ece

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