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Managing coastal areas: A fishing community perspective Chandrika Sharma International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

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Presentation on theme: "Managing coastal areas: A fishing community perspective Chandrika Sharma International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing coastal areas: A fishing community perspective Chandrika Sharma International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

2 Coastal ecosystems and fisheries Coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves and coral reefs, perform crucial coastal protection functions, protect coastal communities against natural disasters and provide rich spawning and breeding grounds for fish About 75 per cent of fish production in India is from coastal waters, with 58 per cent of the fisheries resources potential in India within the 0-50 m depth. Well-being and livelihoods of fishing communities is linked to the health of the coastal ecosystem.

3 Coastal resources: Growing pressure Fishing communities have traditionally been one of the main inhabitants of coastal areas. Fuelled by pressures of economic globalization, coastal and marine areas are being targeted, in an unregulated manner, for tourism, urban expansion, ports and harbours, waste and sewage disposal….. These activities take a heavy toll on coastal and marine ecosystems, directly affecting productivity and health of fisheries resources.

4 Coastal resources: Growing pressure This has meant a deteriorating quality of life and threat of eviction and/ or loss of access to beaches for fishing communities There are several cases of displacement of fishing communities (Sondikud, Orissa, Gangavaram, Andhra Pradesh) Coastal ‘development’ often disrupts access of fishing communities to beaches used for drying fish, berthing boats etc. (fishing communities in Goa near tourism resorts, Gorai, Maharashtra)

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7 Coastal resources: Growing pressure Fishing communities in urban areas, as in Mumbai and Chennai, are being squeezed out Pollution, in particular, is becoming a big problem for fishing communities, especially near industrial areas in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu Impact is greatest on those traditionally fishing in inshore areas using non-mechanized craft, including women engaged in gleaning/ collection activities

8 Coastal resources: Growing pressure Coasts are, at the `receiving end’ of both land- and sea-based activities, such as industry, intensive agriculture, irrigation, shipping and oil and exploration The impacts of unsustainable and polluting practices on land and sea finally ‘concentrate’ in the coastal zone—the health of coastal areas is a litmus test for the overall health of land and sea-based ecosystems.

9 Coastal resources: Conservation initiatives? Conservation and management of coastal and marine resources are of benefit to small-scale fishworkers— several such initiatives taken by them However, top-down conservation initiatives are negatively affecting livelihoods of small-scale fishworkers (Gahirmatha (Marine) Wildlife Sanctuary, Orissa, set up for protection of olive ridleys, and mangrove protection in Jambudwip island, Sundarbans mangroves, West Bengal) Such initiatives are counterproductive, both for biodiversity conservation and for livelihoods

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11 Marine fishing communities There are 3,202 marine fishing villages and 756,212 households—a total of 3.52 million people—along mainland India’s coastline of 6002 km (Marine Fisheries Census, 2005) Nearly half of this population (over 1.6 million people) is engaged in active fishing and fishery- related activities The fisheries sector contributes significantly to the local and national economy, to employment and to food security

12 Marine fishing communities The maximum number of marine fishing villages are in Orissa (641), followed by Tamil Nadu (581), Andhra Pradesh (498), Maharashtra (406) and West Bengal (346) Fishing communities tend to be socio- economically vulnerable, particularly along the east coast of India Many communities, till today, lack clear titles to the land they live and work on or well-defined access rights to the waters they have customarily fished.

13 Marine fishing communities Marine fishing communities in India are known to be highly skilled, having fished for generations along the coast The fishing craft and gear have evolved over time and have, traditionally been in tune with local geographical/ ecological features The coastal area is as much a lived space as an occupational space, encompassing both the land and the sea

14 Marine fishing communities In several areas fishing communities have well- evolved social and cultural institutions organized along caste, kinship or religious lines These have played—and, in many cases, still play—a role in regulating resource use, conserving resources, resolving conflicts, ensuring equitable access to resources and in providing a form of social insurance These are in evidence, for example, along the Coromandel coast, in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Orissa, and in northern part of Kerala (the kadakodi or the “court of the sea”)

15 CRZ Notification 1991 The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991, issued under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, was to regulate development in a defined coastal strip Notably, the Notification recognized the traditional and customary rights of fishing communities to their habitat The CRZ Notification has been poorly implemented, and violations have been blatant

16 CRZ Notification 1991 Efforts have been made by fishing community and other organizations to draw attention to violations Fishing community and environmental groups have filed several cases, under this Notification, to seek protection of coastal ecosystems and habitats, eg. the case by S Jagannath on destructive impact of shrimp aquaculture farms in the coastal zone There are many cases regarding violation of the 1991 Notification still pending in the courts, awaiting decision

17 Proposed CMZ Notification: Some concerns A new Notification is being considered by the MoEF, based on the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee, to replace the 1991 Notification Several issues of concern in the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee (letter by the NFF to the MoEF in June 2006) A major concern is that there has been no process of public consultation, especially with fishing communities and their organizations

18 Proposed CMZ Notification: Some concerns Recommendations of the Committee do not explicitly state that violations committed under the 1991 Notification must be settled and penalized The zonation proposed by the Committee, particularly CMZ II, may pave the way for unsustainable developmental activities on the coast, facilitating the diversion of coastal lands used by fishing communities for ‘development projects’ The shift in focus from regulation to management could lead to a dilution the regulatory aspects of the 1991 Notification

19 Proposed CMZ Notification: Some concerns There is no explicit recognition traditional and customary rights of fishing communities in the coastal zone The expansion of the coastal zone to include territorial waters—the area from the shore to 12 nautical miles— will have major implications for livelihoods of fishing communities No explicit mention of the need for this area to be managed with full participation of fishing communities, to protect their rights to fish in this area, including in proposed CMZ 1 areas, and to ensure that no part of this area shall be diverted for any other purpose

20 What needs to be done Livelihood interests of natural-resources- dependent communities, including fishing communities, should be prioritized in coastal area management and development Fishing communities should be part of decision- making processes related to coastal area management planning and development, in keeping with Article and of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

21 What needs to be done Need to explicitly recognize rights of fishing communities in the coastal zone, particularly: Their right to housing in coastal areas/existing fishing villages, settlements or fishing hamlets, with or without legal title deeds; Their right to use coastal lands for occupational purpose (landing, selling, salting, smoking, curing and drying of fish, parking and maintenance work of boats and implements etc.); and Their right to access sea and marine resources

22 What needs to be done Need to recognize and support community-based management and conservation initiatives, given: in-depth knowledge of communities about coastal ecosystems and existence of fishing community institutions that have traditionally played a role in regulating resource use Existing legislation (pollution control, regulation of development in coastal zones, etc.) should be implemented, and, in particular, violations under the CRZ Notification should be brought to book.


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