To tackle the situation, A Mugan, leader of the Pulicat Youth Federation along with fisherman Suman started a venture called Desifish where they sell fishes, prawns and crabs directly to homes in Chennai. The duo made their dream possible with the help of Xavier Benedict, the founder of AARDE Foundation. “Small boat fishermen were struggling financially during the lockdown. Desifish was established by small boat fishermen groups of north Chennai and Pulicat lagoon. Our aim is to bring sustainable livelihoods to this less privileged group. Small boat fishermen venture into the sea every day for their income, unlike the large boats/trawlers who will be anchored in the sea for seven-plus days. The small-boat-fishermen bring the live catch to the shore, without using any chemicals or ice and get sold in the market. They also wanted to avoid any middlemen and provide preservative-free fish, prawns and crabs to people,” says Xavier.
Launched on October 14, Desifish has been receiving orders for fish, prawns and crabs from people living across the city. “We get the daily catch from Pulicat and north Chennai and keep it in the AARDE Foundation office in Nungambakkam. Once we get an order, we will let the customer know the availability after the boat arrives. After seeing our successful model, fishermen from neighbouring villages are also planning to start a similar venture,” he shares.