«ARTICLE INFO ABSTRACT The study was designed to explore the status of fishers’ access to the common property Received waterbodies (CPW) and ...»
has leased out the CPW for better management and revenue collection. However, the poor fishers’ community cannot often arrange lease money and lose the control over CPW.
Recent expansion of aquaculture has reduced the access of the poor to CPW. However, when the floodplain aquaculture is conducted in private land, the landowner can only be a member. In case of Govt.
land the people who can subscribe can take part in the process of fish culture. Blanchet (1993) in her study of Shanir Haor in the wetland region of Bangladesh showed how property rights, fishers access to fisheries and local fishing practices differ from the text of the law. The powerful leaseholders of water estates claim ownership over the fish stock at all times of the year. Lack of alternative job in ban or lean period of the year was another problem faced by the fishers in the study areas. When CBO adopt restrictions on fishing during the spawning season or ban on fine mesh nets, this is likely to reduce the income of fishers who depend day to day on fishing for their livelihood.
In the study area most of the respondents emphasized on the community based approach to get access to CPW and sustainable management. However, they found establishment of CBO was very difficult. This is due to lack of capital, education and integrity where influential member of the CBO often exploits them.
Sometimes CBO leaders work for the interest of outsiders influential non-fishers. There were several initiatives in the country for community based management of CPW including Community Based Fisheries Management Project -1 (CBFM-1) and CBFM-2. It was found that most of the CBO formed by them worked effectively during the project period when the project gives support to the CBO. After completion of project period CBO do not work properly.
Figure 3. Mode of involvement in fishing in CPW by fishers (n = 274) and non-fishers (n = 178) Access of fishers to CPW can be sustained through CBFM approach. CBFM controls the resource with the involvement of some government or other non-government organizations (NGO), at least for a certain period. The coastal marine fisheries resources management in Fiji, Solomon Island (Baines, 1989), coastal Japan (Ruddle, 1989), Java/Indonesia, West Africa (Lasserre and Ruddle, 1983), Mali (Moorehead, 1989) and Hawaii (Costa-Pierce, 1987; Berkes, 1996) has been shown to be successful through CBO. The Maine lobster fishery is an example of both communal and state property, where fishermen use it as a communal resource but the state maintains some management jurisdiction (Acheson, 1989). Experiences of the last decades have indicated that initiatives to alleviate poverty and achieve food security can seldom be preserved if planned without the involvement of the community. Community-centred approaches (CCA) encourage self-reliance, self-help and by doing so, raise self-esteem. Such approaches aim at empowering communities to make optimal use of locally available resources, and to effectively demand additional resources and better services to improve their livelihoods. Building on traditional social networks of support and mutual assistance, CCA mobilize community members in activities to meet their perceived needs and development priorities, thus making a significant contribution to sustainable development at local and national levels. CCA help to ensure that a range of stakeholders including women and marginal groups becomes part of the development process, real issues and needs are addressed, implementation and monitoring are improved, and sustainability enhances by giving users the leading role in developing and adapting activities. To reduce the risk of low compliance or seasonal loss of fishing incomes, Govt., local NGO should identify potentially profitable income generating activities that can compensate for restrictions on fishing and provide micro-credit and training in these activities to groups of poor fishers.
In Japan, the fishers’ organization provide fund to Govt. mariculture corporations to stock coastal area with hatchery-produced fry. The fishers stop total harvesting from the stocked area or stop harvesting of the particular species for a certain period. After the self-imposed ban period they get a handsome harvest (Ruddle, 1989). This technique could be a good exemplary to manage the sustainable access of the fishers’ to CPW.
Fishers could not benefit from Government policy regarding CPW and the new policy could not ensure leasing access due to lack of education, capital, unity, and leadership. In the present situation of Bangladesh complete open access to CPW was found unproductive. In open access system, fish stock declined drastically due to illegal and over fishing. Moreover, the current leasing system was found ineffective. Leasing of CPW should primarily be a means of controlling access to waterbodies to ensure sustainable management and not a
system to raise government revenue. All management of CPW must be subjected to the preparation and implementation of a regulatory plan with the participation of fisher and user communities through CBM strategies. However, if the CPW properly utilized by the poor fisher it may contribute significantly to their income generation and nutrition security, thus will help to ensure food security of extremely poverty affected areas at the Northern region of Bangladesh.
This study was financed under the Research Grants Scheme (RGS) of the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme (NFPCSP). The NFPCSP is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU and Ministry of Food and Disaster Management with the financial support of European Union (EU) and USAID.
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