Madurai

Traditional fishermen against proposed eco-tourism project

Country boat fishermen and seaweed collectors staging a protest in Ramanathapuram on Monday.   | Photo Credit: L_Balachandar

Ramanathapuram

Traditional fishermen and fisherfolk engaged in seaweed collection staged a protest in front of the District Forest Office and the office of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park here on Monday, against installation of buoys around four islands in the Mandapam cluster of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

The buoys were being installed by the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras for the Tamil Nadu Forest Department for the proposed ‘Community based Eco Tourism’ in Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park to showcase the biosphere reserve to tourists and spread awareness on the need to preserve the dynamic ecosystems in the biosphere reserve.

As IIT-Madras began installing the buoys around the islands of Kurusadai, Poomarichan, Pullivasal and Shingle, the local fisherfolk apprehended that the proposed project would hit their livelihood and they would be prevented from fishing and collecting seaweeds around the islands.

Mr. Palsamy, who led the protesters, said traditional fishermen, mostly from Chinnapalam and nearby fishing hamlets, eked out a living by fishing around the islands while women collected seaweeds to supplement the family income.

They feared that the proposed eco-tourism project would deprive their livelihood he said and urged the authorities to stop installing the buoys and abandon the project.

Officials of Forest Department and Marine National Park explained to the fisherfolk that the project would be implemented only with community participation and it would no way affect their livelihood. The buoys were being installed only to demark the tourist zone and send signal to outsiders against trespassing in the eco-sensitive zone, they said.

In all, 26 buoys were being installed around the four islands in the space of 500 metres between two buoys, they said.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 7:22:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/traditional-fishermen-against-proposed-eco-tourism-project/article27264415.ece

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