Since 2000 Friends of Marine Life (FML) has been undertaking seabed ecosystem studies through oral history. FML activities have formally instituted in the year of 2010 when UN declared international year of biodiversity. In this year we particularly concentrated on seabed maping and the results were presented in Hydrabad, India as Conference of Parties (COP)-Convention Biological Diversity (CBD). Now FML is a registered organization under the the Travancore Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act XII (1955) – Registration number TVM/TC/1244/2015 with the status of Non-Governmental organization. The main purpose of the organization is to safeguard the marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystems services in South India. FML is also engaged documenting and sustaining the traditional and local knowledge of the coastal communities in India especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Under seabed studies, we have so far covered the Gulf of Mannar, Kanayakumari district in Tamilnadu, Trivandrum and Quilon districts in Kerala, around 2000 sq km area of near inshore and up to 43 m depth of the sea area. These studies led by a team of experienced academic and citizen marine researches, scuba divers and with the support of most knowledgeable traditional fishermen or ILK holders.
Most recently, in a response to UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources FML dedicated its services in the area of conservation and sustainable use of the coastal and marine resources.
FML also works with organisations with similar aims and objectives and institutions that involved in marine and coast related activities and trainings including the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSSB), Aquatic Biology and Fisheries Department (University of Kerala), Higher Education Institutions in the Coastal Areas, Higher/Senior Secondary Education Institutions in the Coastal Villages, Coastal Students Cultural Forum (CSCF), Venad Education and Social Services (VESS) and Coastal Watch.
FML has now 50 members and most of them are from the coastal communities who are above 18 years old and willing to contribute in the fields of marine and coastal ecology and biodiversity. FML conducts bi-annual General Body meeting for all members and other interested people. It has 7 members Governing Body that undertakes the responsibilities of the execution of the activities in the coast. The Governing Body has 3 year term. The Governing Body conducts meeting every month and discusses income and expenditure of the organisation. As per the Bye-Law, the FML account will be audited by the Auditor appointed by the General Body every year.