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Tamil Nadu: Tharuvaikulam’s palmyra climbers turn sustainable fishers by Jency Samuel August 14,2019   |  Source: Mongabay

In the backdrop of the mild sound of waves lashing against their boats and mechanised vessels berthed in Tharuvaikulam wharf, fishers were busy mending their nets in a shed. The fishing ban had just ended, and those who had repaired their nets at home were seen bringing them back. These are the typical scenes in any fishing village. However, the difference here is that Tharuvaikulam, in Thoothukudi (formerly Tuticorin) district in Tamilnadu, is not a traditional fishing village.

“All the fishermen here belong to the community of palmyra tree climbers. I used to climb till I was in my mid-20s, then I switched to fishing,” said 54-year-old Anthony Duraiswamy. These men used to tap padhaneer, the sap from palmyra inflorescence, and toddy, the fermented sap. Today, the palmyra climbers have become resource-conscious sustainable fishermen. “There were no fishermen in Tharuvaikulam 50 years ago,” said Vinoth Ravindran, the state coordinator of NETFISH, the extension wing of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). Most people here were into tapping toddy and some into farming.

The older men and women here recall the panankaadu (palmyra grove) close to the shore. Further from the shore stretched acres of palmyra trees. “They were so close that we could hop


© 2019 Copyright Mongabay-India

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)