Fishermen rescue dugong trapped in fishing net in Tamil Nadu's Ramanathapuram
Manikandan, one of the fishermen involved in saving the dugong told The New Indian Express that they quickly untangled the net and released the endangered species into the sea after recognising it.
RAMANATHAPURAM: In a heartwarming act of kindness, fishermen from Naripaiyur village near Kadaladi released a dugong, which got accidentally stuck inside the fishing net, into the sea on Saturday.
Manikandan, one of the fishermen involved in saving the dugong told The New Indian Express, "While we were fishing near the shores of our village, we found a big size fish, which we recognised as dugong. We quickly untangled the net and released the endangered species into the sea." Officials said that some of these fishermen had rescued and released two dugongs and dolphins in Ramanathapuram in November.
The islands of Gulf of Mannar were the first area to be declared as Marine National Park in South East Asia, and serve as the epicentre of marine organisms. It has about 117 species of corals, fishes and endangered species such as dolphins, sharks, porpoises, sea cows, sea turtles and whales.
Speaking to TNIE, Bakan Jagadish Sudhakar, Wildlife Warden of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, said a proper consensus and a line of control have to be reached as both livelihood demands of fisher folks and endangered marine habitats have to be considered.
"It's good news that dolphins and sea cows are seen as a family by the fisherfolk. CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority) Dugong Recovery Project of WII along with the forest department has been incentivising such eco-friendly efforts," he added.
Sudhakar further said that the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust engages communities at different levels to make them aware of marine biodiversity and empowers them by generating alternative livelihood options.
"On August 15 2022, we felicitated two fishermen from Tondi who released the two dugongs. On November 8, a fisherman named Daniyal Raj from Mookaiyur rescued a dugong. On November 16, two dolphins trapped in the nets were released by fishermen led by Nagoor Kani in Seelameenpaadu village near Keelakarai. The fishermen who rescued the dugong now will be felicitated by the forest department," said Sudhakar.