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What is Cooking Underwater in the Bay of Bengal?

Rob Partridge (32) has been diving off the east coast of India for the past five years. His dive center in Pondicherry, Temple Adventures, regularly takes SCUBA divers to the sea. 'Diving can be as educational as it is recreational. It is important to nurture marine life and protect it as much as you can,' he says. In this picture, the team slowly descends along the anchor line for the first stage of the reef's construction, which was completed in September. Photo Credit : Jyothy Karat

What is Cooking Underwater in the Bay of Bengal?

The story of big trawlers destroying marine habitats by overfishing, and fishermen being pushed further out to sea, has become sadly universal. But this is the story of a group of people building an artificial reef to bring marine life back from the brink. A story for which our photographer dove deep.

Right at the outset, constructing an artificial reef in the Bay of Bengal seemed an impossible task. A manmade habitat for marine life would have to be built near Pondicherry with neither funds nor sponsors; just the sheer will power of a small team of enthusiastic scuba divers from a local dive center, Temple Adventures and some fishermen for support.

After several weeks of deliberation, the threat of a looming cyclone and a lot of hard work, the reef was completed on October 8, 2013. A conical temple-like structure weighing 6 tons was submerged 18m deep, 3 nautical miles east off the coast of Pondicherry. Within hours, new marine life was spotted in the previously desolate area.

This is the story of the reef and why such efforts are important to marine ecology and the lives of the fishermen who depend on them. (Jyothy Karat via Yahoo News - India)

Jyothy Karat is a visual journalist and multimedia producer based out of India. Her work can be viewed on Instagram @jyothykarat.