Communicating information on fisheries subsidies to small-scale fishers in Karnataka
Aarthi Sridhar, Arundhati Jagadish, Sajan John
The dominant global discourse on subsidies in fisheries focuses primarily on the large-scale mechanised fishing sector. This discourse links fisheries subsidies to a number of adverse impacts such as resource over-exploitation, environmental destruction, and social and economic distortions.
In contrast, there is a lack of information on the effectiveness and impact of fisheries subsidies on small-scale fishers who are the predominant fishing group in developing countries. Inadequate communication and advertisement of welfare subsidies, persecution of subsidy recipients, corruption and nepotism in selection of beneficiaries and red tape are the greatest barriers to subsidies uptake.
To address this paucity of information, Dakshin Foundation and the College of Fisheries, Mangalore, conducted fisheries resources management workshops and a study with small and large scale fishers in Karnataka. Furthermore in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries of the Government of Karnataka, we designed a calendar showing the 12 main fisheries schemes pertaining to small-scale fishers. The strategy for the distribution of this calendar, which included a pre-distribution survey to understand subsidy access patterns and partnering with the local college of fisheries and volunteers for door-to-door distribution, complemented the calendar distribution strategy followed by the government.
Our work at the grassroots also helped us identify areas for reform in subsidies dissemination such as community-designed and inclusive information-sharing channels, incentivising of eco-friendly gear and sustainable fisheries management practices, and the development of faster and transparent subsidies subscription procedures.