GNF - Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake – India


Background Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish-water eco-system on the East Coast of India, 60 kilometres north of Chennai City. The lake has a length of 60 km and a breadth of 0.2 to 17.5 km. It has a high water spread of 460 sq. km and low water spread area of 250 sq. km.

Pulicat Lake is a shallow lake with an average depth of one metre, it is connected with an estuary mouth with a width of 200 metres. Pulicat Lake is drained by three larger inflows and many minor inflows. Pulicat was once a historical city and a major port for trades in far east and Europe.

The lagoon is an important habitat for 160 different fish species, belonging to 26 families (recent CReNIEO study), more than 100 varieties of terrestrial and aquatic birds and small mammals and reptiles. Flamingoes are the most frequent visitors to the lake, about 15,000 of them visit every year. Pelican, Kingfisher, Heron, Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala), Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) and Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) are some of the other birds that show up at Pulicat Lake every year. Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalu) and Whistling Teal (Dendrocygna javonica) live there as well.

CReNIEO has recorded between January 2003 to June 2004, a total of 90 numbers of finfish species and 13 numbers of shellfish species. Soon after the Tsunami (26th December 2004), the second collection was made during January 2005 to December 2005. Details are in the book "My Biography Palliacatta - The Pulicat 1400 to 2007" authored by Prof. Dr. Jayapaul Azariah

Under the fish species you find Milkfish (Chanos chanos), Sea Mullet (Mugil cephalus), Goldspot Mullet (Liza parsia) as well as Indian Catfish (Plotosus canius). Lake Pulicat has also a rich and divers fauna, 49 species of Phytoplankton, 88 species of Zooplankton as well as 12 different Macro algae are found. The border vegetation consists of different species of Seagrass Halophila sp., Siringodium sp. and Halodule sp.. Pollution from pesticides, sewage, agricultural chemicals and industrial effluents are gradually becoming the major threats.

 Pulicat Lagoon
 Spare shore vegetation
 Fisherman boat at the beach
 Employees in the tree nursery

Project measures Pulicat Lake

CReNIEO (Centre for Research on New International Economic Order) has been working in Pulicat since 1984 is especially committed to the weaker sections (women, children, fishermen and tribal communities) with a focus on natural resource management at Pulicat Lake. CReNIEO promotes formal education for first generation coastal learners at Pulicat and runs an English medium school called CReNIEO Pulicat National Matriculation School which was established in July 1989 and has standards LKG to 10th.

Since 2004, Pulicat Lake is a member of the international network Living Lakes und is represented by CReNIEO. In summer 2008, “Nature Summer Camps” were held at Pulicat Lake in co-operation with the Global Nature Fund.


In 2009, a joint mangrove restoration project was launched at Pulicat Lake. In the scope of the project, mangrove seedlings are cultivated in a nursery and planted along selected coastal areas. In parallel, environmental education programmes for the participants were carried out as well as rubbish collection measures involving also school children.

Since January 2012, the project "Mangrove Restoration in Asia" is implemented at Pulicat Lake. During three years, native mangrove seedlings will be grown in tree nurseries and degraded mangrove forests will be reforested with this seedlings.

 Tranport of the mangrove plants to the project site.
 Project site with mangrove plants
 Measuring the hight of the mangroves


Partner Organisation Pulicat Lake


Center for Research on New International Economic Order (CReNIEO)

No.104, B-Block, Prince Garden,

No.40, Thambusamy Road, Kilpauk,

Chennai - 600010, Tamil Nadu India

Phone:  +91 - 44 - 26 61 40 38, +91 - 44 - 42 60 16 61 

Fax: +91 - 44 - 42 60 16 61

Websites: ;


Shorebirds (Charadriidae) of Pulicat Lake, India with Special Reference to Conservation

Vaithianathan Kannan and Jeganathan Pandiyan (2012)


Background information about Lake Pulicat

Vaithiyanathan Kannan, Research Scholar, India


February 2, 2010

Pulicat Lake is nominated by the Global Nature Fund as "Threatened Lake of the Year 2010". Further information ...


"My Biography Palliacatta - The Pulicat 1400 to 2007" authored by Prof. Dr. Jayapaul Azariah (August 2007)

Synopsis of the Book

 Common Sandpiper