CHEC has been awarded £5000 by the Commonwealth@ 70 Committee for its Mangrove Project which has seen the publication of a special Mangrove issue of its journal, HUMAN ECOLOGY, and is now facilitating mangrove related activities in six Commonwealth countries: Fiji, Gambia, India, Malaysia, Maldives and Samoa.
The activities are greatly affected by COVID-19 restrictions, but the resourcefulness of our colleagues shows just what can be achieved with careful planning and a will to succeed. In India, under the leadership of Dr. Dinesh Kaippilly, Head of the Department of Aquaculture of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (www.kufos.ac.in), a remarkable series of programmes have been held in association with SOL Connect N Consult. It began on Saturday 27 June with an awareness programme on mangrove-based organic shrimp farming for 15 farmers from Kerala, India. The meeting was in the University Seminar Hall, but all participants wore masks and sat two metres apart.
Inauguration Ceremony of the 27th June awareness program at Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies with the speakers whose name are given on the meeting poster below.
The Awareness programme was inaugurated by Prof. Mohan Joseph Modayil, former Chairman of ASRB with a special online address by Prof. Ian Douglas, Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester. Prof. Riji John, Dean Fisheries, Dr. B. Manojkumar, Registrar, Dr. T.V. Sankar, Director of Research and Mr. Alex Ninan, Managing Director, Baby Marine Group of Companies and Dr. Dinesh Kaippilly have greeted the trainees. Other than the above dignitaries, Mr. Anil Sasidharan, Managing Director, JASS Ventures and Mr. Joe Antony, Representative of COOP Switzerland also delivered lectures.
On Sunday June 28th an awareness programme on the ecological significance of mangroves was held for 20 local fisher folk, with Dr. B. Manojkumar, Registrar, Prof. (Dr.) Riji John, the Dean of the Fisheries Faculty and Dr. Dinesh Kaippilly, Associate Professor and Head of Aquaculture at KUFOS as resource persons. A member of the local community, Mr. Velayudhan also contributed to the programme by explaining the uses of mangroves to their locality with an environmental perspective. The participants pledged to protect mangroves and to use the coastal environment wisely for ensuring the sustainability.
The next day, 29th June, an awareness programme was conducted for children. Being the Programme Coordinator, Dr. Dinesh Kaippilly sought permission from the local police to conduct the event during the Covid-19 restrictions as during the lockdown, students are not supposed to attend group programmes without prior permission. The Police authorities directed that children of less than 10 years old should not be included, so only older students were allowed for the programme. The event was inaugurated by Mr. Anandan Narayanan, a local priest and environmentalist by distributing learning materials to the children. Dr. Rachel Fernandez, Faculty of KUFOS, Mr. Jithin K, PhD Scholar, Mr. Kavin Duraisamy, Intern Scholar delivered the lectures.
In addition to the above, KUFOS team has set up an All India Essay competition for College students on “Mangroves and Environment” and an All Kerala Drawing Competition for school children on “Mangroves for protecting the earth”. Both have attracted much interest and enthusiasm among the student community and have received wide press and media publicity. Furthermore, they are planning a mangrove afforestation event, involving students, fisher folk and public on July 26th as part of the World Mangrove Day celebrations.