ICAR – Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute, Old Goa, Goa is involved in Tribal Welfare projects funded by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi to make a change in the livelihood of coastal farmers and fishermen of the country. For the first time, the Institute has kept aside a Tribal Sub Plan project for the welfare of coastal tribal fishermen of Goa settled along the Zuari estuary. As an outcome of the research conducted by the institute, it is found that a mesh size of 40 mm and above will be ecologically sustainable and economically feasible for the fishermen of Zuari estuary. A number of tribal artisanal fishermen reside along the Zuari estuary especially in Nauxim, Cacra and Odxal of Tiswadi Taluke. Apart from fishing gears, the life of coastal artisanal fishermen is also very significant for the subsistence of about 500 families settled along the estuary. Hence, some kind of life saving appliance is also necessary for the artisanal fishermen to cope-up with disasters onboard. In this regard, a programme on “Distribution of eco-friendly fishing gears and safety devices” was organised by ICAR-CCARI at Shree Shantadurga Fishermen Association, Cacra on 13th April, 2015.
A total of 250 kg of fishing gear (gillnet) materials and 90 life jacket floats were distributed among the tribal fisher-folk of Nauxim, Cacra and Odxal. Dr. Narendra Pratap Singh, Director, ICAR-CCARI welcomed the gathering and briefed about the research and extension activities of the institute. He mentioned about the Tribal Sub Plan programme of Govt. of India and how the fishermen and farmers can be benefitted through the project. While inaugurating the distribution of materials, Hon. Minister for Environment and Forest, Govt. of Goa, Smt. Alina Saldanha appreciated the efforts of ICAR-CCARI for improving the livelihood of fishermen and agricultural farmers through their research and extension services. Shri. Devendra Kumar, Director (Fincance), ICAR and Dr. A. K. Vasisht, Assistant Director General (PIM/ESM), as delegates from the council addressed the gathering and assured full support from the council for the development activities to improve the livelihood of coastal tribal fisher-folk. Dr. Shamila Monteiro, Director of Fisheries, Govt. of Goa welcomed the great initiative from ICAR and ensured the complete co-operation from the fisheries department for research and extension openings. Moreover, the occasion was blessed with the presence of Sarpanchs and members of Taligao, Curca, Bambolim and St. Cruz. Mr. Sanjay Perera, Head of the Shree Shantadurga Fishermen Association has proposed vote of thanks during the occasion. He urged full support from Department of Fisheries, Ministries and research institutions like ICAR-CCARI for the conservation and augmentation of fishery in Zuari estuary and for the better livelihood of tribal fisher-folk. Mr. Sreekanth G. B. and Mrs. Manju Lekshmi, N., Scientist (FRM), Fisheries Section, ICAR-CCARI co-ordinated the entire TSP project and distribution programme. They have also assured that a feedback study will be followed to analyse the effectiveness of the TSP programme for the welfare of coastal tribal fisher-folk in Goa.