The South Asian tsunami of 2004 created havoc along India's Tamil Nadu coast, causing many traditional fishers to lose their livelihoods.
According to Mission & Service partner the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation, soon after the tsunami hundreds of industrial shrimp farms began appearing along the coast with little or no regulation or control. The digging of shrimp ponds often led to felling mangrove forests that provide vital marine habitat and protect coastlines from severe weather. The high rate of wild shrimp being caught to stock industrial shrimp ponds seriously depletes wild fisheries and threatens coastal biodiversity.
To make matters worse, polluted saltwater discharged from shrimp farms contaminates agricultural lands, drinking water, and traditional fishing areas. To maximize production, the commercial ponds are overcrowded with shrimp. High levels of pesticides and antibiotics must be used to prevent disease, adding to the contamination and posing potential threats to community health. Traditional shrimpers can't compete with the low prices of imported shrimp from commercial farms "dumped" on domestic markets like Canada.
We are thankful that Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation, with Mission & Service support, is helping traditional coastal fishers push back against large commercial interests to regain their traditional fishing rights and build healthy local communities.
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