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Story Grants on Marine Fisheries in India

Call for Proposals

Published on
22 Nov 2019
7 December 2019, 11:59 PM, IST info.ejn [at]

Internews' Earth Journalism Network is offering grants to boost reporting on marine fisheries in India, with a focus on illegal fishing, overfishing and harmful fisheries subsidies. The grants will support the production of in-depth stories on the subject, with the aim of improving access to quality information and raising awareness among policymakers and fishers, particularly women, who are most vulnerable to the impacts of these challenges.


Each year governments spend around US$22 billion to support new marine construction and improvements, fishing gear, operating costs like fuel, and other outlays that allow fishing vessels to fish farther, longer, and with greater intensity. The result is that the global fishing fleet has been catching more fish than the ocean can support and fish stocks – a critical shared resource and one of the world’s largest traded commodities – have been pushed to the brink. The Food and Agriculture Organization currently estimates that 33% of stocks are fished at biologically unsustainable levels. Additionally, overcapacity in the fishing industry undermines the health of fish stocks, and the livelihoods of fishers in developing countries like India, where catch rates have fallen partially due to subsidy-driven overfishing.

Recently revised estimates of fishing subsidies in India indicate that $277 million is provided annually, out of which $174 million are considered to be leading to overfishing. Fisheries subsidies in India have risen by 23% from 2017 to 2018. Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka provide the highest subsidies annually, having drastically scaled up their subsidies during 2017-18.

India’s fisheries management plans are currently undergoing reform. Many analysts argue that large-scale and mechanized fishers get most of the subsidies in India (and globally) and that a reform of the subsidies policy will help the sustainability of fisheries and make subsidies more efficient within India’s exclusive economic zone. Redirecting subsidies towards fisher welfare, education, sustainable practices and conservation may go further in ensuring long-term food security and livelihood maintenance. There is already evidence of stock declines, which is affecting the incomes and welfare of coastal communities, and according to some studies, as much as 54% of high seas fishing grounds would be unprofitable at current fishing rates without subsidies.

To add to that, the shift in focus in recent decades to exports and the push for modernization of traditional fishing fleets has reduced the production for home consumption and local markets, exacerbating inequity between large and small scale within the industry and thus poverty among the fishing community.

Story Themes

These grants present an opportunity for journalists to report on various aspects of marine fisheries in India.

In addition, we encourage stories that report on solutions and coping strategies rather than problems. We are also interested in stories that collect and report data and information in a compelling and easy-to-understand fashion.

We encourage applicants to turn global issues into local stories that are relevant to local audiences, and/or report on local or regional environmental issues in a way that can attract attention at an international level. Finally, we are keen to support stories with the potential of informing policy decisions.

Story Formats

EJN expects to award grants averaging $1,000 depending on the proposal and method of coverage, with some flexibility for in-depth stories using innovative and investigative approaches that may be more costly to produce. Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies.

If new equipment is essential to the story, applicants should clearly state how it can contribute to the expected outcomes and outputs. The cost of equipment should also make up only a small proportion of the overall budget.

We also encourage the use of multimedia; applicants for long-form and multimedia narratives should include plans and budget for accompanying multimedia elements (i.e. video, photos) and distribution channels in their pitch.

Stories can be done in English or local languages, or both. If applicants intend to write or produce stories in local languages, the English translation of the product should be provided. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.

Expected Story Lengths

  • Long-form Narrative: 2,500 to 5,000 words
  • News Article: 500 to 1,200 words
  • Multimedia Package: Video piece around 2-6 minutes in length with possible graphics, photos, text, maps


*NOTE: Proposals for long-form narratives and news articles should include plans for accompanying multimedia elements such as photos and video.

Who Should Apply

India-based journalists (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with a track record of reporting on the fisheries sector, natural resource management, business and the economy. We encourage reporters to view this not just as an environmental story and to think outside their beat, considering ways it could address broader angles. Preference will be given to applicants whose media outlets have a significant portion of their audience in the coastal regions. We encourage freelancers and staff from all types of media outlets – both large and small – to submit applications. EJN and its partner outlets have the rights to publish, broadcast and distribute the grantees’ stories freely. Grantees are free to publish or broadcast their stories in other media as well.

Application Process

  • Click on the Apply Now button at the top of the page. 
  • If you have an existing account, you’ll need to log in. If not, you must register for an account by clicking “Join the Network” on the top right of the page.
  • If you start the application and want to come back and complete it later, you can click “Save Draft.” To return to the draft, you’ll need to go back to the opportunity and click “Apply Now” again to finalize the application.
  • You must submit three samples of stories or links to relevant work. You’ll be asked to upload these once you start the application process so please get them ready beforehand.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.


If you encounter any difficulties with submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected].

Banner image: Two boats anchored along the beach near Digha, India / Credit: Sayan Chakraborty on Unsplash



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