ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kerala Fish Workers Open New Path in Co-Governance

Responsible Fisheries

Traditional fish workers and trawl operators in Kerala, long at loggerheads, have framed a code of responsible fishing practices. The article argues that this landmark agreement between two hitherto irreconcilable groups was borne out of a crisis in pelagic fish resources. It also argues that the agreement holds important lessons for multi-stakeholder governance in the fisheries sector.

Marine fish workers in Central Kerala are on the verge of creating history by opting to practise responsible fishing practices. Traditional fish workers (represented by the inboard ring seine units) and trawl boat owners, both mainly based in Kochi, have reached a consensus on adopting a package of responsible fishing practices that will ensure a sustainable future for the fishing industry. What started as an informal, stakeholder-induced initiative facilitated by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) is poised to garner statewide legitimacy and wider acceptance by the fisher community in Kerala.

The new development, which can be christened as Kochi Initiative, is historic with many political as well as epistemological implications on the current notions of fisheries management and governance. This short article first traces the genesis of the initiative and then casts a brief analysis on its scientific and policy relevance.

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