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GLOBALBÆREKRAFT-Forskning for global bærekraft

Coastal transformations and fisher wellbeing - synthesized perspectives from India and Europe

Awarded: NOK 3.6 mill.

The FisherCoast project, that has compared coastal transformations in India with three European countries including Norway, focused on the perspectives of fisher populations. These populations have seen their coastal surroundings change rapidly, and not always to their advantage. Out-migration is one of their coping strategies. Although the Covid pandemic and associated lockdowns interfered with the research process, the FisherCoast team has managed to generate a series of interesting, comparative results. These have been captured in a digital exhibition (see that highlights the coastal transformations that have taken place, as well as in a variety of reports and academic publications. The PhD-student has meanwhile carried out a study of the way trawl fisheries in South India have developed and could transition to sustainability. Senior researchers in Norway have expanded this study of trawl fisheries by further investigating the Indo-Norwegian project, which launched the trawling industry in India. They have also contributed mapping materials on coastal change in North Norway to the project consortium.

The outcomes of the FisherCoast project pertain to increased critical understandings of the socio-spatial transformations that are occurring in the coastal regions of India in comparison with countries of Europe. These transformations are viewed from the perspective of fisher populations, who have come under increasing pressure from a combination of natural and socio-economic factors, and are making use of various strategies to 'cope' with their new circumstances. As project results are disseminated to relevant policy and public circles, they will precipitate a more reflective, political engagement with the direction of desired change. These reflections have bearing on the process of advancing a 'blue economy' as well as 'climate resilience'.

This research examines how government policies with regard to coastal development have transformed the physical, ecological and social character of coastal areas in India and select European countries and how this has impacted the wellbeing of fishing communities, who are historically the main coastal inhabitants. While the modernization of fisheries that occurred in the past decades was aimed at economic progress, it also resulted in damage to marine ecosystems, to inequality and social conflict. Similarly, policies towards the end of the 20th century aimed at promoting industrial development and tourism threatened fishers by laying claim to coastal lands and polluting the seas they fish in. The research is expected to produce a range of outputs, both academic and non-academic. Apart from a series of journal publications, we will produce research and policy briefs to be shared with global and national policy-makers. Core sections of an interactive coastal web mapping will be produced in the case of India for sharing with civil society and NGO actors, fisher organizations and policy-makers. A mobile exhibition "Heritage for Future Fisheries" will be curated, traveling to four fieldwork locations (2 in India, 1 in Slovenia and 1 in the UK). As noted in the pathways to impact, this exhibition will set up collaborative dialogues with a range of stakeholders. We will also produce a set of articles and blogs for popular media across the five countries.

Funding scheme:

GLOBALBÆREKRAFT-Forskning for global bærekraft