> About > Contact us

Contact Tourism Concern




India: Kerala fishermen reject plans for surfers' paradise

Posted: Dec 22, 2009

Fishermen in the regions of Kovalam and Vizhinjam in the southern Indian state of Kerala have urged authorities to halt the construction of an artificial reef funded by central government Tsunami Rehabilitation Funds. In an attempt to attract surfers to the area and turn Kovalam into a year-round tourism destination, the state government plans to build the reef 150 metres from the tourist beach. Fishermen’s access to local beaches has already been curtailed due to tourism. They now fear that the new project will further restrict fishing space, threatening the livelihoods of up to 1800 fishermen and their families and forcing some to relocate. Fishermen are calling on the state government to shift the reef to at least two kilometres away from the beach where they fish.

Planning for the reef began in 2005. However, local communities were not consulted and only became aware of the plans when the laying of geo-textile bags, which form the base of the reef, was about to start. Local fishermen’s ongoing opposition prompted a recent meeting with state government officials and representatives of ASR Limited, the New Zealand-based company undertaking the project. Despite promises that the reef will benefit communities by increasing tourism and providing coastal protection, local people remain sceptical. There have been no social or environmental impact assessments of the reef project and Kovalam reportedly suffers no serious sea-erosion problems compared to other nearby fishing villages. This includes villages in the region of Allappat, which was badly hit by the tsunami. Furthermore, the effectiveness of artificial reefs in preventing coastal erosion remains unproven.

Calls from local and international campaigning organisations, including Tourism Concern, for a fair and transparent public hearing on the issue have so far fallen on deaf ears. The funding for the project has allegedly recently doubled, leading to additional calls for public scrutiny of the budget.

Read more about the diversion of tsunami rehabilitation funds for tourism

Get our newsletterSign up for our e-newsletters


Sign up for our e-newsletters today


Understand the issues


Explore how tourism can have a negative impact on holiday destinations with our in-depth guide to the issues.


FREE Ethical Travel Guide


Free copy of the Ethical Travel GuideBecome a friend of Tourism Concern today by donating just £5 a month or more and receive a FREE copy of the Ethical Travel Guide worth £15.


Connect with us





Latest news


Why I stopped being a Voluntourist - Aug 12, 2014

Tourism Concern is putting together a team to walk the Thames Path Challenge!! - Aug 1, 2014

Online Ethical Travel Guide - Jul 31, 2014

As a Street Vendor in Brazil - Jun 18, 2014

Should I haggle for goods? - Jun 18, 2014

Annual Report and AGM - Jun 18, 2014

Corporate social reporting in the cruise industry - May 16, 2014

All-inclusive board basis one of many factors affecting customer spend on holiday. - May 16, 2014





Get our newsletterSign up for our e-newsletters

Sign up for our e-newsletters today

Privacy policy and cookies | Website terms and conditions