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Should we hang up our nets? Adaptation and conflict within fisheries - insights for living with climate change Dr Sarah Coulthard School of Environmental.

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Presentation on theme: "Should we hang up our nets? Adaptation and conflict within fisheries - insights for living with climate change Dr Sarah Coulthard School of Environmental."— Presentation transcript:

1 Should we hang up our nets? Adaptation and conflict within fisheries - insights for living with climate change Dr Sarah Coulthard School of Environmental Sciences Ulster University

2 Why fisheries and climate change? 1.International concern for increasing the visibility of fisheries in climate change debates (FAO) 2.Fisheries in crisis - an opportunity to capture learning? The current fisheries crisis necessitates adaptation in fishing societies… what shapes adaptation and whether it takes place? Coping with or adapting to? What shapes decisions and thresholds within the family? 3. Adaptation in fisheries – evidence of conflict?

3 1.Increasing the visibility of fisheries in climate change debates

4 1) High dependency on fisheries Fisheries and aquaculture directly employ over 36 million people worldwide [98 % per cent of whom are in developing countries] There are 520 million fisheries-dependent people (ancillary occupations) 1/3 of the global population rely on fish produce for 1/5 of their annual protein intake (FAO) 2. Resource collapse (overfishing) Worm et al (2006) predict we will run out of commercial fish stocks by 2048

5 3) Collapse exacerbated by climate change Changing fish migration, habitat destruction and ocean acidification 4) High vulnerability of coastal fishing people [Flooding, storms, sea level rise]

6 5. Unequal vulnerability The vulnerability of national economies to potential climate change impacts on fisheries (Allison et al 2009)

7 Fisheries in crisis and pressures to adapt. Livelihood threats 1.Less fish 2.Less fishing access (increasingly restrictive and generalist global fisheries policy) e.g. IUCN Road map to establish a global network of marine parks by 2012 Creates pressure on fishermen and women to adapt / change their livelihoods.... alternative livelihoods = to move out of fishing

8 Adaptation pressures are often highly unfair… e.g. West African fisheries Highly vulnerable to climate change impacts on fisheries Often have under-developed fisheries (small scale) High focus for conservation interests (e.g. Marine Protected Area networks) Currently overfished by EU fishing fleets (legal agreements / poor enforcement) Hands off my fish! (SelFISH Europe report) Action Aid (Senegal) 2008 (Impacts on women fish traders) Action Aid 2008

9 2.Fisheries in crisis - an opportunity to capture learning?

10 A focus on the difference between coping strategies and adaptation Mixed terminologies adaptive coping strategies …. Fishers as experts in coping– but many have reached the outer range of their coping capacity Coping = short term, flexible, livelihood diversification Adaptation = longer term and more permanent [moving out of fisheries completely] Positive adaptation of choice and reversible…concerned with risk reduction Negative adaptation irreversible…forced to adapt when coping with short term shocks is no longer possible (Davies and Hossain 1997)

11 In fisheries – a move from diversifying livelihoods (coping) to moving out of fisheries completely (adapting) is a complex decision Key questions: How are decisions negotiated within structures of society, household, needs, and aspirations? What is the threshold between coping and adapting? Is adaptation to be chosen or policy induced? agency in adaptation ?

12 3. Adaptation in fisheries – evidence of conflict around thresholds in South Indian fisheries…

13 Evidence 1. Conflict between the promotion of livelihood alternatives (moving out of fisheries) vs. a strong attachment to a fishing way of life When I hear the words alternative livelihoods I feel a fire in my stomach. For whom will you provide alternatives? Do you have jobs for all fishermen here? Fishermen meeting with academics, India 2007

14 A man may leave his wife but never his fishing spot (local Tamil saying, South India)

15 Divisions between fishing youth and elders (potential for conflict?) Interview with fishing youths (2007) Q: How do you see the future of this area? A: We want jobs to come here. There is no future in fishing. We want industry and tourism here Q: Wont this affect your fathers fishing practice? A: you have to lose a little to gain a little.

16 Evidence 2 – conflict around policy induced adaptation – the Coastal Zone Management notification (CMZ) in India Pre Tsunami – CRZ Act 1991 (conservation of habitat at the coast through different classifications for coastal use Post tsunami – vulnerability of coastal human population was centralized in coastal policy making (UNEP Cairo meet 2004) Trawler wrecks North Chennai Fishing communities South Chennai

17 Amendments to the Coastal Zone regulation Act in order to protect the human Coastal Zone Management notification draft (2008) included a set back / Hazard line; scientifically defined with Remote sensing (GIS) by its physical vulnerability to flooding and sea level rise. Coastal Zone Management Better of Bitter fare? (Menon et al 2007 EPW) Outcry from the fishing community and civil society during a 2 month consultation period (May-June 2008)

18 While it is not our case that fishermen should be allowed to make indiscriminate use of the coastal space, a proper provisioning for the development of the fishing community needs to be made and this can only be in the coastal space. The CMZ notification is basically a discriminatory document that allows a number of new stakeholders to enter the coast while ignoring the claims of those who have been traditionally linked to the sea and have been the real owners and protectors of the coast…(V.Vivekanandan SIFFS)

19 Toothless tiger and cringing dragon Also about ineffective legislation against other, more powerful claimants of coastal space The State Coastal Zone Management Authority is completely ineffective and a toothless tiger…The MoEF, despite all its powers, has preferred to be a dragon that cringes before the powerful moneyed interests and has allowed anarchic development to flourish on the coast.

20 July 5 th 2009 The Hindu newspaper CMZ draft to be reviewed to protect fishermen Parliamentary panel asks Centre to put CMZ notification on hold NEW DELHI: The Environment and Forests Ministry has decided to review discrepancies in the draft on Coastal Zone Management (CMZ) 2008 notification, which is in its final stages. Opposing the notification, non-governmental organisations and fishing communities alleged that it would encourage and legalise industrial activities along coasts in the garb of management methodologies, while curtailing the local communitys access to sea resources.

21 Conclusions - parallel challenges between fisheries and climate change research An adaptation fund for fisheries - sector specific (FAO) How to recognise, and work with, decision process to adapt at personal, societal and government levels [wellbeing?] Where is adaptation working / failing in fisheries (and other sectors) – can this inform expectations in climate change (and other) debates (e.g. Marine Bill UK)? Adaptation and agency? – deliberative forums to discuss and negotiate trade offs in adaptation to change E.g. CMZ (consultancy approach vs. open and informed debate forum?) For more info contact:

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