On June 9, delegates from various countries attending the plenary session of the Ocean Conference at the UN General Assembly hall in New York listened to a young woman from Kerala as she highlighted the role of traditional fishing communities in sustaining marine resources.
The daughter of a fisherman from the Pulluvila coastal village, near Thiruvananthapuram, Lisba Yesudas was one of the three delegates representing Friends of Marine Life, a local NGO. In her presentation, later e-mailed to the media, Ms. Yesudas spoke of the traditional knowledge of fisherfolk in Kerala, their profound understanding of seabed ecosystems, coastal and marine biodiversity, and sustainable fishing practices.
Describing how the commercialisation of fishing was affecting marine habitats and the livelihood of fishermen, she called for policy regulations and promotion of indigenous practices to conserve marine biodiversity and the coastal ecosystem.
Ms. Yesudas was one of the 53 speakers shortlisted to address the plenary session of the UN Ocean Conference. An Assistant Professor in Malayalam at St. Xavier’s College, Thumba, she is doing her Ph.D on coastal language. As a volunteer, she documents coastal language for Friends of Marine Life, one of the two stakeholder organisations from India to participate in the conference.
The meet focusses on conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas, and marine resources.
Earlier, Friends of Marine Life delegate Johnson Jament spoke about sustainable fisheries. Robert Pani Pillai, chief coordinator of the NGO, said the first secretary of the Indian mission to the UN interacted with the delegation.
The conference ended on Friday with a call for action to address ocean and coastal acidification, sea-level rise and increase in ocean temperatures, and to target harmful impacts of climate change on the ocean.