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India: Palk Bay Center from project to institution

What is at issue:

It began in 2005 with the mangrove reforestation on the Tamil Nadu coast in southern India. Vedharajan Balaji, founder of the OMCAR Foundation, mobilized the coastal communities to raise seedlings and gradually replant the deforested coast. Since then, the Lighthouse Foundation has supported the project in India.

But that's not all: In order to achieve a sustainable use of the coastal region in the future, social and economic factors are crucial in addition to ecological requirements.

In 2011, Balaji founded the "Palk Bay Center", which brings nature and sustainability closer to children and adults and which has gained special importance as a social meeting place for the people of the region. Today, the centre is an institution and starting point for projects to improve both the living conditions of the people on the Tamil Nadu coast and the ecological condition of the region.

The director of Omcar Foundation, Dr. Vedharajan Balajii, introduces his work.

What's happening now:

November 2019

For the fouth time we have donated goats to artisanal fisherwomen, this time 30 female goats. This village named "Petthanachivayal" is a very small fisher settlement. All of them are traditional fisher and fisherwomen are playing a key role in earning income by catching shrimps, crabs in mangrove waters. 195 families, only few houses have electricity and no drinking water pipeline.

We are planning to work in this remote, isolated, backward artisanal fisher community on a longterm basis to improve hygiene, livelihood and basic facilities. In turn, these mangrove artisanal fisherwomen can be a key working partner in mangrove restoration which is damaged by last year's cyclone.

Goat donation
These female goats were donated to Artisanal Fisher Women at Petthanachivayal, Thanjavur District. The first goat kid of each will be donated to other families in the next months.

June 2019 - a fieldwork update of PBC.

1)  We have successfully established another seagrass rehabilitation protected site. So, now we have five sites managed with the support from local government.  But, PBC will manage, replant and monitor the sites like Mangreen sites.   Significance of this site is we grow the largest seagrass species here (grow up to 4 feet - please find the photos below) which is rare in Palk Bay but providing shelter to lots of crabs, fishes in nearshore waters. Survival of this large species is higher in high turbidity waters except for the damage by boats (so we fenced it).  

2)  Crab culture by a fisher group will start in the Mangreen site in the next two weeks.  

3) We accommodate a women researcher at PBC from the government institute for studying seagrass associated fishes.  

4) Our staffs will go for Spirulina culture training next week.

Another seagrass rehabilitation site dedicated to the largest seagrass species at Palk Bay.

"Shrimp pickers" - Artisanal fisher women of Palk Bay:

January 2017 - "Youth Solutions Report" presents PBC project:

At the end of January 2017, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) published the first "Youth Solutions Report". Therein, 50 exemplary projects are presented in which young people participate in the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. One of these projects is the Palk Bay Center with Mangrove Restoration For Sustainable Fishery.

What we have achieved:

More information:

Who has done it

Team Palk Bay Centrer

The OMCAR Foundation Team at Palk Bay Center


More information


Man­groves – mas­ters of sur­vival on salty ground