Report on GULLS Project Inception and Awareness Workshop held at Elamkunnapuzha, Ernakulam 

The GULLS Project Inception and Awareness Workshop was held in the community hall of Elamkunnapuzha Gram Panchayat, Ernakulum district on the 22nd of April, 2015 on the event of World Earth Day. The workshop comprised of Inaugural session and technical sessions. The workshop commenced following the registration of 150 participants. The participants comprised of fisher folk across different sectors as well as leaders representing various self-help groups, fisherwomen and farm women.

Inaugural Session:

The inaugural session started off with an invocation song followed by a welcome address by Dr.T.V. Sathianandan, Principal Scientist and Head, Fisheries Resource Assessment Division (FRAD, CMFRI). Dr. T.V.Sathianandan, gave a graphic picture of the activities of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. The presidential address was delivered by Dr.P.U.Zachariah, Principal Scientist and Head, DFD, CMFRI, who gave a brief recapitulation on the work carried out under GULLS so far. He recalled the household vulnerability survey which was carried in 300 households at Elamkunnapuzha village, and the present level of awareness of the fisher folk on Climate Change. The Project briefing and work plan was done by Dr. Shyam S.Salim, Research Co-ordinator and Co-Principal Investigator, GULLS.He lauded the efforts of Smt. Beatrice Joseph, President, Elamkunnapuzha Grama Panchayat who had been instrumental in aiding the GULLS team at every stage of work in Elamkunnapuzha panchayat.

The formal inauguration of the workshop took place with the inaugural address by Smt. Beatrice Joseph,President, Elamkunnapuzha Gram Panchayat. Smt. Beatrice Joseph appealed to the local people to actively participate in climate change activities and to become harbingers of climate change. The Vice president, Elamkunnapuzha Grama Panchayat, Shri Bernard Benny offered his felicitations. Dr.R.Narayanakumar Principal Scientist and Head, SEETTD,CMFRI gave a birds-eye view of the project and called upon the local communities to take up the challenges of climate change. Further, felicitations were offered by Smt. Sajini Joy, Development standing committee chairperson, Elamkunnapuzha Grama Panchayat, Shri C.P.Benedict, Welfare standing committee chairperson, as well as by Smt.Devayani Radhakrishnan,Health and Education Standing committee chairperson. Dr.P.S.Swathi lekshmi, Senior scientist, SEETTD, offered the formal vote of thanks.

Technical Session I:

The technical session commenced at 12.00 pm. Dr.Shyam S Salim presented the Household vulnerability survey results of Elamkunnapuzha village. It comprised of analysis of the attitudinal change towards fishing profession, occupational preference, changes in the natural resources, instability in the price of fishes, changes in marine species composition , community decision making and control over livelihood and resources. From the results discussed Dr.Shyam said were potential prospects for the local fishers to emerge as change agents.

Ms. Manjusha Senior research fellow, presented on Climate Change and its varied impacts on the ecosystem. she spoke on the climate systems, processes and interactions, about the differences between weather and climate in simple terms and how the climate change process is accentuated by human interference. She spoke on how the increase in acidity in oceans will render molluscs such as the pearl oyster, clam incapable of producing their external hard lime coated shells. The impact of climate change would affect the corals and lead to coral bleaching. The impact of climate change was most evident in the distribution shifts of sardine and mackerel and also in the reproductive behaviour of threadfin breams.

Ms. Bindu Antony, Research Associate in the project made a presentation on Climate Change and the possible strategies and solutions to combat the same. She spoke on how human interferences and activities decisively affected the natural resources leading to drastic reduction in resources as well as affecting the quality of the resource. The strategies to combat climate change could be initiated at general community level, to small community organisations to families and at individual level. The presentation ended with the key solutions for combating climate change such as organizing weather watch groups, mobilising community groups, effective harnessing of Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) of local fishers, and climate education efforts.

Technical session II

The session involved a detailed consultation with the stakeholders, the Belmont team comprising of Ramees Rahman. M, Nivedita Shridhar, Smitha RX and Athira.N.R facilitated this session. During this session the finalisation of CReVAMP (Climate Resilient Village Adaptation and Mitigation Plan) was done followed by discussion for creation of climate information kiosks, formation of climate change communities. Further, the planning and implementation of Adaptation and Mitigation Plans was also done in this session.

The program came to end post Technical session III. The event gave a potent platform for strengthening the rapport between CMFRI and Elamkunnapuzha panchayat, which would ideally lead to a live lab for community based climate change research.


This report (with images) can be viewed or downloaded as a pdf document here.