Fisheries resource monitoring in Karnataka

Naveen Namboothri, Sajan John

Historically referred to as the ‘mackerel coast’, Karnataka contributes significantly to India’s seafood industry. However, if one were to look beyond the benchmarks of ‘total catch’ and ‘Mean Sustainable Yield’, a different picture of its fisheries emerges. The characteristics of present-day fisheries in Karnataka shows not just an overall decline in key commercial species, but a marked increase in by-catch production, mechanisation and over-capacity of craft and gear in all sectors. These traits are paralleled by social tensions within its fishing communities and with fishers from neighbouring maritime states.

In examining the fisheries management policies and practices within Karnataka, the operation of other political and economic influences which affect resource exploitation emerges. Dakshin has tried to initiate a process of dialogue among various categories of fishers about the ‘burning issues’ in Karnataka’s fisheries management. Other objectives of this project are to identify the role that various entities in fisheries (such as women vendors and financiers) could play in sustaining the fishery resource, and to debate management options such as co-management arrangements attempted elsewhere.

Following these initial dialogues, Dakshin and the College of Fisheries, Mangalore are embarking on developing a taluka-level community-based fisheries monitoring programme in the Dakshin Kannada district. The project aims at identifying specific practical steps towards developing a co-management framework where fisher associations are engaged in monitoring key aspects of their own activities.



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