Thiruvananthapuram team set to represent India in Ocean Conference
Thiruvananthapuram: A team of three researchers from the from the city based NGO, Friends of Marine Life (FML) will attend United Nation's International Ocean Conference in New York in its capacity as a stake holder organisation on June 5. Interestingly, all the researchers are natives of fishing hamlets of the capital city, who pursue careers that are connected with coastal community and ocean in different ways. Around 122 organisations from across the globe will participate in the UN conference that swears to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, sea and marine resources for sustainable development.
The team from capital city is led by FML Chief Coordinator Robert Panipilla, a citizen scientist and resident of Valiyathura. The second member is Dr Johnson Jament of Poonthura is an alumnus of Northampton University who now also dedicates himself for the education of children of coastal area. The lady member, Lisba Yesudas of Pulluvila, a Malayalam assistant professor at St Xavier's Thumba, is now undertaking research on the Coastal language of Southern Travancore. While, most of the ocean researchers are not those not hailing from coastal community, the researchers at FML are scuba diving experts and hails from fishermen families.
"Our local marine ecosystems are yet to be documented well and sea beds are unexplored. In third world countries, ocean researchers are not generally from coastal community. The researchers station themselves around berthing facilities and divers are hired ones. So, we encourage children of fishermen to join studies and pursue career on ocean and its biodiversity. Around seven of children here are pursuing courses like Marine Biotechnology and we want more of them," said Robert Panipilla. Within a few years, FML aims to create a large pool of youngsters from coastal hamlets who are scientifically educated to research on marine biodiversity.