United Nations
Promote, sustainably use, and protect kadalamma-the Mother Sea-with indigenous fisherfolk
by Friends of Marine Life (FML) (Civil society organization)
Friends of Marine Life (FML) is an indigenous coastal community voluntary organisation (Reg. No. TVM/TC/1244/2015) that aims to safeguard the marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystems services in South India. For some years FML has been undertaking seabed ecosystem studies with a team led by experienced scientists and citizen researches, scuba divers together with the support of indigenous fishermen. We have so far covered the Gulf of Mannar, Kanayakumari and Trivandrum districts in South India, around 2000 sq km area of near inshore and up to 43 m depth of the sea area.


1. Educating all to understand oceans’ contributions to people and quality of life.
2. Acknowledging and appreciating sustainable coastal and marine practices of indigenous communities.
3. Identifying and conserving key coastal and marine biodiversity areas as well as underwater cultural heritage sites.
4. Creating awareness about five biggest threats to ocean sustainability: a) bottom trawling, b) harbour dredging, c) breakwater constructions, d) pollution and e) mining.
5. Improving ocean productivity through artificial reef constructions with community monitoring.
6. Facilitating capacity building of coastal youth, indigenous fishermen, marine scientists, policy makers, community leaders, social workers and other interested parties.
7. Developing integrated marine and coastal ecosystem management services

Implementation Methodologies

An already developed interdisciplinary, inclusive and collaborative working group of 20 people will monitor the activities with a shared research modality approach. Intersection of ocean conservation, sustainable development and human well being will be a key feature. Public awareness, education activities and community participation will be encouraged. Coastal communication will be made possible, where there is an attempt to bridge between indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) with mainstream through organising the local ocean conferences, seminars, workshops, photo-video exhibitions, short films, documentaries, booklets and others. Training programmes and events will be conducted to build capacities of all stakeholders.

Follow up mechanisms

Initially most of seabed studies and other activities will be concentrated in the two districts in South India. They will be reviewed annually and assessed as well as action plans will be developed. The results will be distributed widely by print, visual and electronic means with the support of the relevant and appropriate organisations. Mobile interpretation facilities will be explored and utilised. Indigenous ownership and monitoring will be maintained and sought after. Marine biodiversity assessment proposals in partnership with relevant individuals and organisations will be submitted to the concerned authorities and governments to enact legal provisions. FML will work with partner organisations to implement the methodologies, and will look for collaborations in other parts of South Asia.


FML instituted 20 members of a working group to oversee the objectives of the voluntary commitments. They will initiate, recommend and review action plans and further progress. They will make efforts to consult with partner organisations, indigenous community members, government officials and other stakeholders to make appropriate decisions. FML governing body will supervise the decisions, actions and responsibilities undertaken by the working group members. Collaborative and participatory decision making will be entertained and accountability will be rendered.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Coastal clean-ups
  • Plastics product bans or restrictions
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse
  • Management of ship-based pollution and/or port waste management
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Large Marine Ecosystem approach
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Scientific research and cooperation to address ocean acidification knowledge gaps
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Compliance, monitoring and enforcement
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
  • Science-based fisheries management plans
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
Type of commitment
  • information relating to harmful subsidies
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Economic benefits from sustainable tourism
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
  • Economic benefits from marine renewable energy
  • Economic benefits from marine biotechnology
  • Economic benefits from sustainable transport
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
  • Legal/policy/institutional measures
  • Access to market-based instruments
  • Transfer of fishing technology
  • Access to coastal fishing grounds
  • Access and capacity building for eco-labelling and traceability systems
  • Community empowerment for fisheries management
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Activities to raise awareness of the comprehensive legal and policy framework for the sustainable development of oceans and seas, in particular UNCLOS, its Implementing Agreements and other relevant ocean-related instruments and promote their effective im
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
  • Development of necessary infrastructure and/or enforcement capabilities to comply with international law, as reflected in UNCLOS and as complemented by other ocean-related instruments
Capacity building of 100 indigenous fishermen to take part in promoting sustainable fishing practices
Capacity building of 50 coastal youth to become active and productive scholars in the field of marine sciences and other related SDGs
Mapping of 30,000 sq.km seabed areas and locating key biodiversity areas to be protected (Each five year 10,000 sq. km sea area over the next 15 years)
15 conferences, 30 seminars, 30 dialogue workshops and 5 mobile interpretation centres on SDG 14 and related SDGs
Financing (in USD)
1,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
20 working group members, FML governing body and programme team
In-kind contribution
Funding sources to be mobilized through various Governments and others as well as from potential external donors
Other, please specify
Volunteer participation of indigenous fisherfolk
Basic information
Time-frame: 2016 - 2030
Friends of Marine Life (FML)-indigenous and civil society organisation Department of Aquatic Biology and Ocean Studies, the University of Kerala-Academic Institution Srishti Institute of Arts, Design and Technology-Academic Institution Kerala Shasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP)-Scientific community Bond Ocean Safari Kovalam-Partnership Free Divers-Other relevant actor Coastal Students Cultural Forum (CSCF)-indigenous and civil society organisation Venad Education and Social Services (VESS)- civil society organisation
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Indigenous coastal communities
Contact information
Robert Panipilla, Mr., robert_potsplants@yahoo.com , +919447240402
Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
Other SDGs
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