Phew! Two tiring days for Sura, Dougie and myself. Manoj from Arinma stayed the course. Of course he will. He is an ex-Green for crying out loud! Human gave me an interview, right their in the middle of the lagoon. As with all good conservationists, he was wary of making crazy claims about the survival rates stating quite clearly that he did not expect more than 50% to survive. I like this man. He is no NGO b/s-er. Just a hardworking fisherman who knows the value of a mangrove, understands the challenges and does the needful with both eyes, both ears wide open and understanding that the smallest miscalc can send a well meaning project literally into the drink. We plan to do a small video based on our experiences planting but will wait to see how good the outcome is before we start ringing bells and hailing in the new blue year. In fact, that is a long long way away but this is certainly a start for us in that specific neck of the mangrove woods although we have done much work on mangroves with the IUCN’s Mangroves for the Future (MFF) program in Mannar in the north, Panama in the east and Kalametiya in the south. Let’s see how all of this pans out as we continue with our effort. Next stop would be around July-August when the propagules are matured and ready for harvesting and replanting in this same stretch of the lagoon. Throughout the entire effort, Human Fernando stood with us, doing the work of three of his buddies. You can read more about the man in this blog post of ours.
The pollution from fisheries activities around the lagoon has to be seen to be believed. Literal mountains of bones, damaged nets and plastic debris liter the area. Many of those engaged in fish drying believe that the lagoon is a giant trash can, tossing out the remnants of their curing into the water or washing the fish out by sieving it through lagoon water. Over the years, this practice has created a sizable amount of livelihood waste across this lagoon and this really has to be stopped either through coaching these folks or, if that fails through more severe means. Human and his group of fisher-activists are doing their best but they face an uphill battle.
We were about to get out of the water when mild tragedy strikes us. Sura steps on a stingray tail spine that drives an inch into his sole and I get my right foot ripped from side to side. Both the results of lagoon pollution. No permanent harm altough Sura is luck that the spine was old. If it were new? er… I don’t evan want to think about it. If it happens to a fisherman, they will soak a rag with a flammable, place it on the wound and fire it. YEOW!