Kochi, Mar 08: Thripthi Shetty and Deepa Manoj who defied all odds and emerged as successful women entrepreneurs in fisheries, stand as shining examples of grit and determination. Both of them fought hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic and managed to earn a good income from their entrepreneurial initiatives in ornamental fish culture and trade. In recognition of their unwavering spirit and relentless efforts to reap success in the sector, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) will honour them on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Thripthi Shetty, a transwoman from Kadungallur near Aluva, is a beneficiary of the CMFRI’s Science Technology Innovation Hub project. She earns around 50% of her additional income from the ornamental fish culture enterprise named Thripthi Aquatics. Though she suffered heavy losses owing to the pandemic-induced lockdown, Thripthi did not give up her dream of starting her own business. Her perseverance paid off and her business gradually grew. An undeterred Thripthi showed her grit and determination during the toughest time to tide over a range of hurdles, including challenges involved in the ornamental fisheries.

Thripthi now manages to run a fully-fledged venture that focuses on breeding ornamental varieties and their culture and marketing. Recovering from the COVID loss and developing a financially stable business enterprise was never easier for her. “CMFRI’s support was crucial to surviving the difficult phase and it gave me the necessary strength to go ahead with my dream”, she said. She married transgender M Rithik.

Meanwhile, Deepa Manoj’s incredible leadership and management skills have helped her build a thriving business that provides a livelihood to numerous women in her community. A native of Keezhillam near Perumbavoor, Deepa started her venture with a small ornamental fish unit. Later, she expanded it by attracting unemployed women in her neighbourhood into the business. This was achieved after Deepa formed their groups, gave training to them on ornamental fish culture and breeding and developed a better market chain for these ornamentals. Her efforts to educate others yielded results as her enterprise, Atlanta Fish Farm, now provides livelihood to a number of people in her locality and offers a variety of ornamental fishes in hundreds of tanks. Creating awareness among the women in the community of the possibility of earning income through ornamental fisheries was the turning point in her transformation into a successful entrepreneur. Under her leadership, they manage to breed and culture commercially important ornamental varieties. “Although COVID created troubles in the business, many people turned to self-employment options like fish farming during the lockdown period which helped expand the entrepreneurial venture,” she said.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, CMFRI Director Dr A Gopalakrishnan will felicitate both entrepreneurs at a function to be held at the institute. Kochi Corporation Councillor Padmaja S Menon, CMFRI Women’s Cell Chairperson Dr Miriam Paul Sreeram and Member Secretary Dr Sandhya Sukumaran will be present.