Lockdown and Indian fisheries


Dakshin along with its partner organisations launched a fundraiser to address the needs of 3,300 fish worker families in Odisha and Tamil Nadu. A total amount of Rs 2,036,212 was raised from the Milaap fundraiser alone. All funds collected were used to mobilise food and health supplies for the fish workers and their families. We sincerely thank everyone who generously donated funds.

There is still a serious need for continued support in the form of food and health supplies across coastal India. Please contact us directly if you wish to extend any financial or resource support to coastal communities.

This ‘Small is Bountiful’ webinar, organised by Too Big To Ignore, an organisation working on global partnership for Small Scale Fisheries Research, provided an overview of the ways in which small-scale fisheries around the world are being impacted by COVID-19. It further explored the social, environmental, political, and technological innovations and adaptations that small-scale fishers and fish workers in low- and high-income countries are using to cope and recover from the ongoing crisis. Opportunities and risks for small-scale fisheries in a post-Covid world were also discussed.

  • What happens to women fishworkers’ independent businesses during a lockdown and how are they coping?

Dakshin and it’s partners initiated a collaborative voluntary campaign with budding and experienced Indian film-makers to help understand the concerns of women fishworkers. Visit Dakshin’s Instagram and Twitter pages to let these women entrepreneurs speak for themselves. Consider donating to help support fisherwomen and their families during the present lockdown.

Shruti Sunderraman writes about the lockdown and its effects on India’s fishing community. 

Vineetha Venugopal explores the plight of migrant Fishworkers and assesses relief measures introduced by the government. Vineetha’s article ‘The Heavy Toll of COVID-19 on India’s Fishers’ is the first from our editorial series “The Shore Scene”, undertaken in collaboration with The Bastion , in an attempt to initiate dialogue around issues of coastal environment, governance and coastal communities.

An explainer video, created by The Bastion in partnership with Dakshin, details the impact of the lockdown on India’s fishing community. 

In this video, Marianne Manuel, Assistant Director at Dakshin Foundation, talks about the fisheries sector in India, how it has been impacted by the lockdown, and how on-ground realities are still far from normal even though fishing is now an exempt activity during the lockdown.

This letter appeals to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying for the fair implementation of the central government’s uniform annual fishing ban.

This letter presents an overview on the current scenario facing India’s fisher communities and contains suggestions for the Indian government to address these concerns. 



In India, the consequence of the lockdown imposed on the country in response to the COVID19 pandemic has affected society in an uneven manner. Some communities were badly affected more than others. Small scale fishers and migrant labourers are some of the worst affected with inadequate reserves of finance, food rations or even basic necessities as water, sanitation and shelter. As is the case with many large-scale crises, it has been the poor and the marginalised who bear the maximum social, economic and physical costs.

With a view to urgently mitigating these impacts, Dakshin reached out to our fisher networks, partner civil society organisations and numerous individuals and friends to organise an effective and timely COVID response. Working from our homes, maintaining social distance and lockdown norms, we are actively engaged on a daily basis in supporting fisher groups by trying ensure support through the following means:

  1. Provision of food and basic amenities
  2. Ensuring health and safety
  3. Responding to fisher migrants needs
  4. Coordination with India’s civil society groups and concerned citizen groups
  5. Fundraising and resource mobilisation
  6. COVID related outreach and education

We are working closely with government authorities, district and state level officials, as well as civil society organisations and experts to urgently mitigate far-reaching impacts on the most vulnerable of India’s 10 million fishers who remain outliers and less visible.