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Community radio station helps fisherfolk in southern India

A community radio station run by fisherfolk has become a lifeline for people on a small island in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Kadal Osai 90.4 FM has helped inform inhabitants of Pamban Island and raised social and environmental awareness in the process, TRT World reports.

Run by a dozen-odd fishers to empower their community – which makes up 80 percent of the island’s population of over 100,000 – the radio station is the first community-driven media initiative in India exclusively for fisherfolk by fisherfolk.

Started by a fisherman, Armstrong Fernando, around five years ago, Radio Kadal Osai (Sound of the Sea) now has a team of 12 who research, present and disseminate news to the people on the island.

The 24/7 channel provides timely weather updates for those braving deep waters to fish in the sea, cautions them about harsh weather and helps them identify potential fishing zones.

The station has also helped create alternate livelihoods and raise awareness about societal issues and marine conservation.

“Our work is to protect the sea for the people,” says Mr Lenin, who works as the station’s programming coordinator.

The station has also promoted sustainable fishing practises, educated fishers about environmental pollution and women’s empowerment, and supported a UNICEF campaign to end child marriage.