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Tamil Nadu: Southern India's fishing fleets tell a tale of 'staggering' tsunami aid money by Karthikeyan Hemalatha January 13,2020   |  Source: Devex

E. Rajesh Kumar, a fisherman from Chandrapadi — a village of 375 houses in Tamil Nadu state, on the eastern coast of southern India — was eager to show off all the new tech that he and his fellow fishermen have at their disposal. From echo-location systems to locate large schools of fish, to high-grade GPS devices and walkie-talkies, every aspect of their boat is equipped to maximize their catch. The ring seine nets they use weigh at least 3 tonnes and can be 3 km long, reaching depths of up to 800 m.

“These [ring seine] nets were an indirect result of foreign aid disbursing boats without any regulations.” — V. Vivekanandan, former FAO consultant to the Tamil Nadu government, All the new equipment came after the deadly Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

“I lost my boat during the tsunami. I got a fiber boat in compensation, which I used for a while before selling it off,” he said. The tsunami, which killed some 230,000 people across 14 countries, also saw a big outpouring of donations. Relief measures from the tsunami triggered investments in boats and nets all across the state, leading to overcapacity in fishing.

But in the state of Tamil Nadu, the unregulated distribution of boats changed the coastal ecology and economy forever. Funds pour in Across the

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