Water Quality as a Measure to Understand Vulnerability and Viability Issues in Small-Scale Fisheries of Chilika Lagoon, India
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Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) sustain millions of livelihoods worldwide by contributing to food security and income. However, small-scale fishing communities are marginalized and vulnerable due to cumulative impacts of sea-level rise, hydrological changes, hydrodynamic disruptions, overexploitation of resources, aquaculture, coastal and inland habitat loss, overfishing, lack of livelihood alternatives, along with food insecurity, occupational displacement, and outmigration. While most studies on SSF vulnerability have focused on economic, social, and political factors, limited research links these vulnerabilities with changes in the water quality. My research addresses this gap by examining the effects of water quality changes on the vulnerability of SSF and using this examination to advance potential approaches for achieving viability. A range of human-induced and natural factors shape the hydrodynamics of the lagoon. These include invasion of weeds, agricultural runoff, wastewater releases from industries, domestic discharge and sewage pollution, variation in the phytoplankton, fish species composition and fish landing, introduction of many chemical feeds, and uneaten food pellets and fish waste pollutes related to aquaculture production. Typically, a number of these factors come together to produce eutrophication and algal blooms which, in turn, control conditions of vulnerability and viability of fishing communities related to water quality. This research analyzes pathways of vulnerability resulting from water quality changes in small-scale fisheries systems in Chilika Lagoon, the largest coastal lagoon on the east coast of India and lifeline of the state of Odisha. Chilika Lagoon is a designated Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site under the Convention on Wetlands) since 1981. In the Lagoon, traditional small-scale capture ﬁsheries support livelihoods of over 140,000 fisher communities in the vicinity of 424 villages within two kilometers of the wetland boundary. These communities are now being affected by the catastrophic influence of an endangered social-ecological system. An abrupt degradation phase between 1950 and 2000 in Chilika was due to opening of artificial sea mouth and introduction of aquaculture. The degradation phase resulted in major declines in fisheries influencing substantially the livelihood of coastal communities. Since then, the direct and indirect impacts of natural and anthropogenic factors had profound impacts on the poor and vulnerable populations, which are disproportionately dependent on small-scale fishing for their livelihoods. The study aims to examine processes and drivers of water quality changes in the social-ecological system of the lagoon resulting in key vulnerabilities of fishers and analyzing adaptive approaches that can create viable SSF. Evidence for the work is collected through a mixed approach of qualitative and quantitative research methods such as I-ADApT and systematic literature review. Based on this scrutiny, I produce schemes and solutions that can be used to assemble feasible approaches to advance viability for SSFs confronting various vulnerabilities now and into the future. Overall, the research addresses sustainable management of SSFs by providing details on how fisher vulnerability may be closely linked to water quality and its related impacts. Further, the research provides some answers to how SSF viability can be achieved through coping and adaptive responses by small-scale fishing communities to the changes in water quality.
Cite this version of the work
Navya V Nair (2021). Water Quality as a Measure to Understand Vulnerability and Viability Issues in Small-Scale Fisheries of Chilika Lagoon, India. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17183