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Belonging | Short Film Showcase | National Geographic | Travel & Tourism Video Vloggers And Reviews

In 2012, the largest spawning aggregation of squaretail groupers was discovered in the waters of the tiny island of Bitra, in the Lakshadweep archipelago, India. This opened up an important dialogue about marine conservation in India. Local fishermen and the local governing council decided to protect the groupers by means of a temporal fishing closure in 2014, and the aggregation came to be known as the first floating reserve of India. In the last five years however, due to a decline in the catch of tuna, the fish that islanders targeted for household consumption and sale, the demand for reef fish (especially groupers) has risen. This has resulted in the status of the floating reserve being revoked. This is a story about the aggregation through the eyes and voice of a female squaretail grouper.

National Geographic Explorer Pooja Rathod is a marine biologist turned wildlife filmmaker from India. She specializes in long- lens sequence building for natural history documentaries and has worked with several television networks including National Geographic Channel and Disney. She worked as a director of photography for the Asia episode of National Geographic’s Emmy- nominated series ‘Secrets of the Elephants’. Rathod also runs an ocean initiative, Know Your Fish,’ which introduced the first seafood calendar for India and conducts awareness and outreach programs on sustainable seafood consumption across the country. 

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