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 oceansí 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
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.
Updates to voluntary commitment
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)
Staff / Technical expertise
20 working group members, FML governing body and programme team
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