Marine fishing in India, particularly on the East Coast, is facing a crisis of resource depletion caused by a mix of over-exploitation and destructive practices and gear. For management of tropical multi-species fisheries a better understanding of the processes that affect species assemblages is required in addition to the social and economic issues that also play a major role in governing the exploitation of fisheries in these area. Failure to recognise the institutional arrangements under which most artisanal fisheries operate often leads to non-compliance of externally imposed regulations.
This project seeks to contribute to sustainable management of marine fisheries by strengthening initiatives in fisheries co-management. It seeks to answer specific questions about resource utilisation among artisanal fishers and help build upon earlier work in organising meetings between representatives of artisanal fishers and the fisheries department. This research has direct relevance to the artisanal fishing communities located on the Coromandel coast. The project area comprises of 15 fishing settlements and three jetties along the largely sandy coast between Marakannam in Villupuram Dt. It extends to the deltaic areas of the Cauvery river in the region of Killai, at the South of the Cuddalore Dt. and encompasses the union territory of Pondicherry.
The objectives of the project are:
1.Creation of a scientific baseline on :
i.Fishing capacities covering seasonal patterns in use of fishing groups and gear utilisation.
ii.Credit and subsidy mechanisms in the formal and in-formal sector.
iii.Marketing linkages and processes for both domestic and export markets.
2.To organise consultative meetings on co-management between artisanal fishers mechanised fishers and representatives of fisheries department and civil society.
3.To feed into general fisheries management programs and policy recommendations pertaining to India as well the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry through publications in popular press and relevant scientific journals.
DST also requested the addition of fish aggregating devices (FAD) as part of the project to see how these artificial structures affect the local fish catch. This phase of the project will take place towards the end of the first year on the project.