Sudarshan Rodriguez

Sudarshan Rodriguez
Harbouring trouble - The social and environmental upshot of port growth in India – A report by Dakshin Foundation
This report presents the social and environmental upshot of port growth in India. It reveals gaps and concerns in port planning for the environment and coastal communities. Posted on 22 May, 2011 12:04 PM

Besides its own impact, port development is often accompanied by other activities such as the location of industries, power plants, railway lines, highways, hotels, SEZs, residential complexes, etc., that have multiple detrimental impacts – environmental, social and erosion related.

Claims for survival - Coastal land rights of fishing communities – A report by Dakshin Foundation
This report by Dakshin Foundation deals with coastal land rights of fishing communities. Posted on 22 May, 2011 09:25 AM

Coastal Land Rights Marine-coastal ecosystems and coastal communities are poorly represented in the public debates on India’s social and environmental problems. Coastal and marine ecosystems are the backbone of a fisheries economy that supports livelihoods of millions directly and several more indirectly.

Community groups such as fishers and other coastal populations enjoyed customary or traditional rights to exploit resources and to fish in adjacent coastal areas. The current state of fisheries finds its genesis in the modernization programme introduced by the Government of India to ‘develop’ the sector with the focus for development through the maximisation of production. In the late 1970s, modern fishing methods threatened the livelihoods of these communities and coastal ecosystems. Mechanised craft and gear, principally trawlers with bottom trawling gear, severely impacted fishing stocks.

Fisherfolk in India have struggled for greater control over the seas and resource management, struggles which have been directed both inward as well as against the State. The conflict over the coastal space is mostly between fishing communities and other new users and interest groups. Access to coastal resources is now being thrown open to all, giving a new meaning to the idea of ‘coastal commons’. There are very clear linkages between the rights to the coast and the right to fish as without the former, the latter will be difficult to operationalise and eventually rendered meaningless.

The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991 has been the only legislation withFish Drying some mention and reference to customary rights of fishing communities on land in the coastal zone. However, it did not contain provisions and details to ascertain or establish these rights. Despite this, fishing communities have seen the CRZ in its 1991 form as an instrument in their favour as it regulates all activities that can potentially impact the coast and community livelihoods. However, the twenty one odd amendments to the CRZ Notification were mostly in favour of development pressures and special interest lobbies.

This backdrop forms the driving force behind this report which seeks to argue a case for according coastal land rights to fishing communities.