Mangroves and the fishermen community

Mangroves and the fishermen community

Mangroves and the fishermen community, Nature has given ample of opportunities to the biota in general and human being in particular for their sustainability, where in nature provides different safeguards to the biota one of which is Mangroves and also known as coastal rainforest.

Nature has given ample of opportunities to the biota in general and human being in particular for their sustainability, where in nature provides different safeguards to the biota one of which is Mangroves and also known as coastal rainforest. Mangroves embodies the woody plants which have the ability to survive at the interface zone of sea and land and in order to adopt to the same mangroves possess unique adaptations that no other plant community possess. Mangroves provide different services to the wellbeing of the human in particular to fishermen community. Depending on the nature services provided by mangroves can be categorised as 1) Ecological services 2) Social services 3) economical services. With respect to social services medical services, habitat provisions to the mangrove inhabitants are important and pertaining to economical services firewood and aquaculture industries are vital. The author wants to gesticulate the ecological services with particular reference to the protective role of mangroves against sea born natural calamities viz…tsunamis, sea inundations and cyclones.

India is blessed with 7,516.6 km of coastal area staring from Gujarat to West Bengal and is the hub of divergent economical entities ranging from ports, aquaculture, industries, resorts which provide better economical avenues to a wide range of communities. Mangroves which are the predominant ecosystem in coastal areas acts as bulwarks against the natural calamites in particular to Bay of Bengal Sea which is one of the notorious seas in the world with frequent tropical depressions bringing catastrophes to the coast which can be evidenced by a school of calamities like super cyclone of Odisha-1999, Tsunami-2004, Jal-2010, Nilam-2012, Phailin-2013, Helen-2013 and the recent Hudhud-2014. Different research findings stipulate the point that areas with healthy mangroves have been reported with less causalities and less economical loss. The extensive and entangled root systems of mangroves which may not easily uprooted gives the mangroves a unique and crucial way of protection from sea born calamities. Amongst the other ecological services another important service is carbon sequestration, mangroves are the immense source of eliminating importantly the anthropogenic carbon dioxide leading to the decline of global warming effect which have cascading effect on mankind. But this invaluable natural source has been subjecting to degradation owing to the exaggerated industrial tendency of modern man especially after the 1990s economical reforms leading to the decline of mangrove cover considerably. The authors put a light on the destruction of mangroves owing to the expansion of aquaculture industry varied reports states this point. Apart from the aquaculture the coastal industries and their toxic effluents, petroleum refineries vehemently effects the mangrove belt. In order to protect the mangroves and other allied areas, Government of India has notified coastal regulatory zone provisions with mangroves as the CRZ-I areas requires intensive conservation measures. Global level interventions like MFF-Mangroves for future are also working to protect the mangroves but all this restricted to top intellectual levels.

Fishermen community: The needy link
The author opines that different provisions meant for the mangrove protection are yet to materialise in terms of improving the mangrove cover. In order to effectively safeguard the mangrove cover there is an indispensable need to promote bottom down approach with reference to the inclusion of fishermen community to conserve the mangroves to the larger extent. For fishermen, mangroves are their way of life their culture has been integrated with mangroves but then rising aquaculture, industrial sectors coupled with mangrove degradation leading to the impoverishment of fishermen starting from their root level i.e. facing difficulties in meet their ends. The author opines that there must be an incentive based integrating policy to include the fishermen by the way of incentives just like joint forest management which benefits the tribal people. The integrating policy model includes vital stakeholders ranging from policy makers, research players, NGO’s fishermen, wherein policy makers formulating the incentive policy in the form of suitable share in mangrove products to which the fishermen may be entitled and capacity building in terms of scientific advise by the research players to the policy makers NGOs acting as facilitators and link between the government and fishermen with their active participation in making the fishermen aware of conserving the mangroves. Ways to conserve the fishermen community is vital. It is by means of social forestry- planting mangroves in new areas/ degrades areas and conserving the healthy status of existing mangroves by two goals which can be fulfilled 1.inclusive growth 2. sustainable development. The former with reference to the inclusion of fishermen community and the latter in terms rational development of mangroves.

At the end the article concludes that man has to act in tune of nature and root level participation-peoples involvement in conserving mangroves supported by policy and research domains in an integrating way is the need of the hour in safeguarding the mangroves as a natural giant.

The present article (essay) is the summation of different concepts, scientific findings, and author’s personal opinions.

By: SK Chand Basha

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