Community Health and Fisheries Co-management in Odisha and South Andaman

Madhuri Mondal, Anand Rao, Biswa Swaroop Das, Kartik Shanker

Collaborators: Blue Ventures

Sites : Odisha and Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Human health plays a key role in the viability of livelihoods dependent on natural resources like those of fishing communities. In addition to poor healthcare systems, multiple pressures like the decline of fisheries, climate change and large-scale industrial fishing have led to poor food security, nutrition, increase in morbidity and significant out of pocket expenditures in the small-scale fishing communities. Strengthening healthcare systems by building the capacity of the village institutions and community health workers is vital for the long-term social and environmental sustainability of these coastal villages.

Given the importance of health and livelihoods, scoping and needs assessment studies were undertaken in Odisha and South Andaman in 2019 to initiate the health and environment programme in these sites in partnership with Blue Ventures. Following the scoping studies, we have selected two fishing villages in each site for our integrated interventions. The studies have revealed multiple issues related to community health and environmental degradation in these sites.

The health and fisheries co-management project aims to initiate community-based fisheries monitoring and co-management and improve the health outcomes of small-scale fisher communities. The focus of the health interventions will be to encourage participatory health governance, strengthen community health institutions and community health workers to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices, nutrition, awareness on non-communicable diseases, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), mental health, improve access to healthcare, health schemes and occupational safety of fishers.

The project also aims to empower coastal communities by mapping their coastal commons, documenting their fisheries management practices and capacity building of local governance institutions, fisheries and youth committees. Through the project, we plan to design and implement a community-based fishery monitoring programme in consultation with the local fishers and fisheries managers. We plan to conduct a series of dialogues with fisher communities and fisheries department staff to identify issues leading to fish stock declines and develop locally relevant co-management approaches to address such issues.




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