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A framework to investigate drivers of adaptation decisions in marine fishing: Evidence from urban, semi-urban and rural communities

Malakar, Krishna, Mishra, Trupti, Patwardhan, Anand
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.637-638 pp. 758-770
boats, capital, climate change, decision making, fish, fisheries, fishermen, focus groups, higher education, household surveys, households, issues and policy, livelihood, mechanization, pollution, rural communities, social capital, socioeconomics, statistical analysis, subsidies, trade, urban areas, India
Traditional fishing livelihoods need to adapt to changing fish catch/populations, led by numerous anthropogenic, environmental and climatic stressors. The decision to adapt can be influenced by a variety of socio-economic and perceptual factors. However, adaptation decision-making in fishing communities has rarely been studied. Based on previous literature and focus group discussions with community, this study identifies few prominent adaptation responses in marine fishing and proposes credible factors driving decisions to adopt them. Further, a household survey is conducted, and the association of these drivers with various adaptation strategies is examined among fisherfolk of Maharashtra (India). This statistical analysis is based on 601 responses collected across three regional fishing groups: urban, semi-urban and rural. Regional segregation is done to understand variability in decision-making among groups which might be having different socio-economic and perceptual attributes. The survey reveals that only few urban fishing households have been able to diversify into other livelihoods. While having economic capital increases the likelihood of adaptation among urban and semi-urban communities, rural fishermen are significantly driven by social capital. Perception of climate change affecting fish catch drives adoption of mechanized boats solely in urban region. But increasing number of extreme events affects decisions of semi-urban and rural fishermen. Further, rising pollution and trade competition is associated with adaptation responses in the urban and semi-urban community. Higher education might help fishermen choose convenient forms of adaptation. Also, cooperative membership and subsidies are critical in adaptation decisions. The framework and insights of the study suggest the importance of acknowledging differential decision-making of individuals and communities, for designing effective adaptation and capacity-building policies.