Beach visits – An initiative to boost fishermen participation in marine megafauna stranding rescues along Karnataka coastline

Our Karnataka Outreach Officer educating the local fishermen about Marine Megafauna Stranding and need of Marine Conservation

Over the years, marine megafauna stranding cases have been on the rise due to multiple factors such as overfishing, oil spills, collision with vessels and fishing boats, ghost nets, plastic pollution and many others. While most of the marine megafauna who become victims of these usually die and get flushed off to the beaches, there are occasions where they come to the shore alive and injured. However in both cases they need to be recorded and treated. But there is hardly any system to record these stranding cases at many places due to which the marine megafauna stranding cases data is inadequate.

Need of keeping a record

The data collected and recorded on marine megafauna stranding cases comes handy for multiple reasons such as, 

  1. To know the species diversity of a particular area
  2. Causes for marine megafauna stranding
  3. Understanding the trendline of stranding cases over the years
  4. To tackle and find solution to reduce the stranding cases
  5. Making policy level changes and for many other direct and indirect benefits for Marine Megafauna and humans.

Beach visits

The primary purpose of introducing beach visits as an outreach program was to build a strong network of marine megafauna stranding reporters. This is accomplished by having frequent beach visits where our outreach officers talk and interview local fishermen, villagers and shopkeepers regarding various aspects such as number of stranding noticed in their neighboring beaches, types of stranding, i.e. live or dead, species etc. Over frequent beach visits we have also got to know about beaches where sea turtle nesting takes place. This information not only helps us in planning our conservation actions but also helps us involve some of the important stakeholders such as fishermen, villagers, local forest department and children of these groups who are the future flag bearers in marine conservation of our state and country. We have also made an effort to create awareness among the fishermen and their children about the importance of marine biodiversity and the need for conservation.

Involving the local communities in our stranding responders network

Currently we have built a network of over 150 marine megafauna stranding network responders over 320 kilometers of Karnataka coastline including fishermen, villagers, forest officials, coastal guards and café owners. Apart from this, in an effort to make the responders feel an integral part of marine conservation, we have created a group where they get information regarding stranding that occur in different parts of Karnataka. We also educate and update our stranding responders regarding various aspects of marine conservation and rescue of marine megafauna stranding. As per the current outcomes, we hope to get a positive result from this partnership in the long run as well.

Want to be part of our stranding responders network?

If you live on the coast of Karnataka or if there are any beaches in your neighborhood, you too can be part of our marine megafauna stranding responder’s network and we will add you to our community of responders (drop a message to the given contact details). If you find a marine animal such as dolphins, sharks, porpoises, whales or pelagic birds stranded, you can contact us with the given details below. 

ReefWatch Marine Conservation – Karnataka Base

Contact no: 9740892394

We sincerely thank GMM Pfaudler for supporting us financially to work for the cause and protect our oceans and biodiversity. We would also like to thank the Karnataka Forest Department without whom this project would be incomplete. We hope to continue our partnership in future to make our oceans a better place for tomorrow.

cetaceans dolphins Fishermen Marine Conservation marine megafauna ReefWatch stranding network turtles

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