Dakshin’s reduction fisheries project sails to Palk Bay!
by E. Haripriya and Meghana Teerthala
After intensive and insightful fieldwork in Mangalore, we set sail to Palk Bay this September to initiate work on reduction fisheries in Tamil Nadu. Palk Bay is a shallow stretch of sea between India and Sri Lanka with a rich seagrass ecosystem. Besides, it is also known for its geopolitical intricacies pertaining to the fisheries sector.
We started with a rapid two-week scoping exercise covering eight fish landing centres along Palk Bay, from Mallipattinam in the north to Rameshwaram in the south. The scoping exercise helped us in gaining clarity on the scale of reduction fisheries operations and their supply chains at each landing centre. Based on these insights, we prioritized Kottaipattinam fish landing centre for an in-depth study of the reduction fisheries sector in the region. Over the course of the next four weeks, we assessed the fisheries catch going to fishmeal plants. We also conducted interviews with actors along the supply chain of reduction fisheries to better understand this sector.
Although data analysis will reflect the nuances of the reduction fisheries and its implications, initial observations show striking differences between the fisheries in Mangalore and Palk Bay. The scale of operations of reduction fisheries and their supply chains are also very unique to both regions. Through this study, we got a glimpse of the dynamic nature of Indian fisheries and the importance of conducting region-specific studies to understand the implications of the reduction fisheries in India.