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Empowering the villagers is definitely an objective but we also believe that it cannot be a one-sided affair. With this in the mind, we propose to do the following:

    • The village is by and large a fishermen’s community and fishing is their prime occupation. Till date as I have learnt we haven’t specifically focused on them. Hence we want to focus on them more
    • To understand the various facets of fishing as a business , we got in touch with a couple of NGO’s/companies (especially those interested in CSR activities) who could give us some ideas and insights as to what we might be able to do
    • The idea is to understand how the village functions as a unit with fishing as a primary activity. Understand the occupation on many fronts such as:
      • How does fishing as an occupation work, what impact does it have on their lifestyle, livelihoods etc.
      • The way they approach fishing as a business, understand their market, accessibility to the best practices etc.
      • What are their alternate sources of income during off-season

Keeping this in mind we spoke with people regarding this.

Firstly, we spoke with K.Y.Murthy (member of panchayat) and other fishermen regarding their issues in fishing. We identified three major hardships faced by them.

        1. They are very worried about the additional costs that will be incurred on fishing nets if they go deep into the sea. They told us that the kind of fish present in these areas will cut the net with their teeth and making it unusable
        2. Also the motor in their boats gets damaged if the water flows into the boat, which happens very often these days due to back– to-back cyclones.
        3. Due to the small scale fishing, true of most of the villagers, they incur losses in the market due to the additional costs caused because of the problems mentioned above.

When the fishermen demand an additional price in the market to recover their losses no one heeds them. They do not have any support price in the market and there is no government regulation in the market.

Also there are no proper storage facilities and so they have to sell the fish as and when they bring it to the shore.

          Secondly, we spoke with Ashwath’s father (our POC) about various issues in fishing.
          1. He told us that the fish yield has nowadays reduced compared to what was there before the Tsunami. As a result their income has come down. He said there were initially 400-500 fishermen but now there is only 150-200 fishermen. Most of them have gone to the Kalapakkam atomic power station as contract workers and a few of them have their own business.
          2. He told us that the person who owns a boat would get a substantially higher payment after fishing. Usually 3-4 people go in a boat for fishing. The total cost of the boat is around Rs.1, 00,000, the motor cost comes around Rs.50, 000 and the fishing net costs around Rs.50, 000. He told that they get diesel at a subsidized price.
          3. The fishing season for them is January. He told us about the different types of fish caught during different seasons. During the 45-day ban imposed by the government, the fishermen do not go to fish. It’s the period where fish grow. In spite of that the fishermen don't find it very productive. He said there is no significant increase after that period.