Mari, 33, and her friends and family all unfailingly tune into Kadal Osaihttps://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jan/07/making-waves-the-hit-indian-island-radio-station-leading-climate-conversationshttps://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jan/07/making-waves-the-hit-indian-island-radio-station-leading-climate-conversationshttps://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jan/07/making-waves-the-hit-indian-island-radio-station-leading-climate-conversations
on 90.4FM, India’s first local radio station for a fishing community.
With guests including from older people from the villages sharing their fishing wisdom or chatting about the climate crisis, the station has become an
integral part of local life, featuring gossip, jokes, old songs and news on fish prices and sea conditions. Gayathri Usman, head of Kadal Osai, fell in
love with the station when she visited the area, and stayed on to run it.
“Our shows are popular because they are entertaining, useful, and, more importantly, in a local dialect of Tamil that the fishing community understands
and finds comfort in,” she says.
Started by businessman Armstrong Fernando, himself from a fishing family, Kadal Osai (“the sound of the ocean” in Tamil) began in August 2016 with just
a few hours of transmission daily, before going full-time in 2019. Alongside updates on weather, marine affairs and fish prices, advice on safe and sustainable
fishing and the preservation of coral reefs, the station also conducts on and off-air workshops on the climate crisis and biodiversity.
On the fringes of India’s mainland, across the water from Sri Lanka, Pamban and the surrounding 20 islands and coral reefs are part of the richly biodiverse Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, and home to 47 hamlets of the indigenous Marakeyars, engaged in fishing for centuries.