Tamil Nadu

Cuddalore fisheries official bags Kalpana Chawla Award

Cuddalore, 15/08/2019: P. Ramyalakshmi, assistant director, Fisheries Department in Cuddalore receiving the Kalpana Chawla award for bravery from Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami during Independence Day celebrations on Thursday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Cuddalore, 15/08/2019: P. Ramyalakshmi, assistant director, Fisheries Department in Cuddalore receiving the Kalpana Chawla award for bravery from Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami during Independence Day celebrations on Thursday. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Handout_E_Mail

Ramyalakshmi rewarded for curbing purse seine fishing

P. Ramyalakshmi, assistant director, fisheries, Cuddalore, hides an iron fist in a velvet glove.

The recipient of the Tamil Nadu Government’s Kalpana Chawla Award 2019 showed exemplary courage and daring enterprise in taking on the illegal practice of purse seine fishing that is not only depriving traditional fishermen of catch but threatening the marine ecosystem as a whole in the region.

The Kalpana Chawla Award consists of ₹5 lakh cash and a medal.

And her success in Cuddalore is inspiring similar interventions in other coastal belts.

Ms. Ramyalakshmi, who joined the department as a trainee AD (direct recruitment) in 2017, had soon thereafter been at the forefront of efforts to enforce the ban on purse seine fishing which was still being employed by 500 fishermen from about 10 villages.

“We had initiated several rounds of awareness meetings with the fishermen communities to raise awareness on the implications of purse seine fishing. In their 19 years of pursuing this method, none of them had told them about the downside, so it was only fair that awareness campaigns marked the first step” said Ms. Ramyalakshmi.

The fishermen community was even offered alternative livelihood if they abandoned the purse seine.

Simultaneous to the consultative efforts, Ms. Ramyalakshmi also led a drive to enforce the ban.

Earlier, this year, she, along with police, seized the boats in a daring operation at Cuddalore harbour. A committee including the District Collector was also formed to monitor the enforcement.

Now, after a series of crackdowns, that followed, including impounding purse seine boats returning with catch, most of the fishermen have abandoned the practice.

“We are now in the process of engaging the fishermen in alternative fishing-related pursuits,” Ms. Ramyalakshmi said.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:03:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cuddalore-fisheries-official-bags-kalpana-chawla-award/article29103887.ece

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