Shobhana Naraine led Center for Marine Ecology, a non-profit non-governmental organization specializing in marine ecology has been awarded Golden Eagle by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for its “unwavering, tenacious and continuous efforts” in raising awareness on the health of marine ecology. The group has been raising awareness about marine pollution by fishermen especially in the Indian Ocean region and providing training to fishermen on the ways and means to be adopted to keep pollution at minimal level while maintaining the fragile marine ecology.
The medal, Rs 5 lakhs and a citation was presented to Ms Shobhana Narain during the annual award ceremony held by the Ministry at its North Block Conference Hall. All Union Ministers and the Prime Minister were present at the event. During the event, Prime Minister appealed Tamil Nadu fishermen not to cross international waters and remain sensitive to the sustainability of marine ecology.
The Palk Bat area is often in the news for shooting incidents carried out by both the navies of India and Sri Lanka against each other’s fishermen who often cross international maritime boundary line unintentionally and fall victims to bullets or jailed in each others prisons. Ms Naraine had met the Indian Prime Minister & the Sri Lankan President numerous times during the last year to appeal to them to look at the problem as a humanitarian issue rather than a international criminal issue.
The Minister of Environment, speaking at the ceremony, appealed to his Sri Lankan counterpart, who was also present in the event, to ensure that both their country’s fishermen should fish with responsibility so that there no dent to marine health and there is enough left for future generation to survive. He also referred to the issue of bottom trawling adopted by Indian fishermen and promised resolution of the issue at the earliest. He requested to Sri Lankan minister to release 200 Indian fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan jails in exchange of the Sri Lankan fishermen released last month. The Minister also highlighted the steps taken by his government to solve the problem of bottom trawling like inducting tuna long liners, imparting training modules to fishermen, provision of environment friendly jute fishing nets and registration of all trawlers to ensure their traceability.
Ms. Naraine, who is a recipient of many national and international environmental awards, appealed to the young generation to adopt eco-friendly lifestyle and stop using plastic bags. She said that plastics in the form of micro beads, used in today cosmetics for its exfoliating properties, have emerged as a major marine health concern. She said how these micro beads which cannot be seen with naked eyes are consumed by fishes and eventually end up our stomach higher up the food chain. She quoted leading gastroenterologists to highlight how micro beads act as a potent carcinogen that could lead to numerous health problems in human beings.
Speaking to journalists after the event on being queried about how she felt after winning the prestigious Golden Eagle, she repled, “Such recognition keeps me going, but it certainly does not mean that I would stop my crusade if I don’t get recognized. My fight will remain on, even after I go”.
Her NGO, Centre for Marine Ecology is among the leading environmental organizations in the country and has membership of over 1000 people including leading international scholars and environmental scientists.
For more information please visit www.paradisefishingcharters.com.au