Alternative fisher livelihoods and olive ridley sea turtle conservation in Rushikulya, Odisha

Ridhi Chandarana, Muralidharan M., Kartik Shanker

In areas where marine turtles and local communities coexist, conflict can emerge due to the space shared on land and sea. With mounting international pressure to conserve turtles, most decisions to reduce this conflict are made by people without an understanding of the scenario on the ground. Conservation measures fail when opinions and perspectives at the grassroots level are not taken into consideration. At the Rushikulya mass nesting rookery, local fishers face livelihood losses due to conservation measures in place during the turtle breeding season. “Alternative livelihoods” have cropped up as a solution multiple times and failed to deliver. To make decisions and give recommendations for policy for the use of this space without the necessary background exacerbates the conflict and renders any action unsustainable.

We worked to understand reasons for the failure of past efforts at conservation, the rationale behind the need for alternative livelihoods and in particular, the potential of ecotourism focused on turtles as an alternative livelihood.

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