I am fundraising for the sea

What? Why?

Some of you are probably aware that I raised funds for charity: water last year. And I decided I like the birthday fundraise - I feel good, you feel good, and a good cause gets a little extra lovin'.

This year is my dirty 30. And, as you know, I'm a sucker for the sea. I live to dive, I talk about diving, I ask you why you don't dive, and I've probably tried planning a diving trip with you at some point. Or we've actually been on one together (probably thanks to your planning skills ;)). So, for my dirty thirty, I'm hoping to make the planet a little bit cleaner. I've been involved with Reefwatch Marine Conservation (www.reefwatchindia.org) for a little over five years, and have watched it evolve from a small, conservation education-focused non-profit to one with a vision to give India's marine inhabitants a fighting chance for a future.

I could write a book (several, perhaps) on why India's fisheries are in deep trouble, but I'll give you the summary: it's the usual suspects on steroids.

1) Pollution. Untreated sewage, industrial waste and people who treat the sea like their own personal garbage dump. Climate change ain't helping recovery.
2) Over-fishing. Apparently 90% of our fisheries are over-exploited. And, fun fact: India exported 104 tonnes of shark fin to Hong Kong in 2008
3) Governance. Our waters are not well patrolled, illegal fishing is not curbed, and environmental standards are not enforced.

It's a messy situation caused by the messy  interplay of economics, politics, climate change and the relentless onslaught of a growing population.

Wow. That sucks. So what happens to my money?

Reefwatch does a number of things related to marine conservation and building awareness about it. As part of that, it's taking on two pretty massive tasks:

1) Fish toxicity. Commercial and artisinal (i.e. small-scale fishermen who typically fish near-shore) fish tend to imbibe all sorts of fun things like cadmium and mercury (see pollution above) that, like the fish, end up on our dinner plates. Reefwatch is going to do a study of what kinds of fun marinades the local fish bring to our dinner parties, and how to reduce them. Cleaner oceans = healthy fish = happy you.

2) Coastal pollution. If you've lived in or visited Mumbai, you've probably noticed the massive amounts of junk that ride the tides. They'll be looking at that too. Figuring out what it is, and what to do about it.

Both these things are important baseline studies that will build a foundation for interventions - and need your support. These are where the funds will go. So, if you think this is worthwhile and worth your hard-earned money, please do donate.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


1) Do I get a tax break?
If you're living and working in India, you can get a tax benefit under section 80(G)
Unfortunately, you don't if you're in the U.S. or elsewhere.  However, you can still donate - your money is routed through Milaap's U.S. operation, so there are no additional international transaction costs.

2) What happens to my money?
I'll work with Reefwatch and send you an update on how your money was spent.

3) Those photos are amazing.
I know. Sumer Verma took them.


Ask for an update
5th June 2016
Dear Supporters,

Please find below pics of the Ocean Art Sundays Program that is organised by Reefwatch. This is an educational program for the underprivileged children and fishermen in Andaman. The fishermen, for whom the ocean is the bread and butter, seldom know much about it or feel deeply about it. In fact, superstition in their minds about the ocean also needs to be combatted. Reefwatch also helps these fishermen find alternative earning avenues.

The children can be seen filling waste water bottles with sand and stones, so that they can be used as bricks for their playground which they are creating.

Here is a thank you note to all the donors from Animish Limaye, Mainland Projects Manager, Reefwatch

Learn more about the initiative

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raised of Rs.200,000 goal

30 Supporters

0 Days to go

Payment options: Online, cheque/cash pickups

Payment options: Card/PayPal

Beneficiary: Reefwatch Marin... info_outline
80G tax benefits for INR donations

Supporters (30)

Gabriela donated $25
Parth donated Rs.2,500
Ravi donated $25