Animal Husbandry

Economic Evaluation of selected estuarine and coastal Fisheries of Maharashtra

The Maharashtra coast that stretches between Bordi/Dahanu in the North and Redi/Terekhol in the South is about 720 km long and 30-50 km wide. The shoreline is indented by numerous west flowing river mouths, creeks, bays, headlands, promontories and cliffs. There are about 18 prominent creeks/estuaries along the coast many of which harbour mangrove habitats. Like elsewhere in the world, the coastal region of the State is thus a place of hectic human activity, intense urbanization in pockets and enhanced industrialization, resulting in degradation, directly or indirectly, of marine environment through indiscriminate releases of domestic and industrial effluents, reclamation, offshore constructions, movement of ships and loading and unloading of a variety of cargo at ports etc.

Several coastal ecosystems along the west coast of India are now thus highly disturbed and threatened, encountering problems like pollution, plastic accumulation, siltation and erosion, flooding, saltwater intrusion, storm surges and other hazards which are having detrimental effects on the fisheries and livelihood of fishers. Hence, appropriate management strategies are needed to ensure the sustainable development and management of coastal areas and their resources.

Globally great attention has been directed to the sustainable management of coastal fisheries to combat the decline of inshore fisheries resources and to protect the livelihood of coastal fisher folk. In such a situation, the socio-economic analysis is a vital component in formulating an ecosystem based fisheries management framework in addition to the biological, environmental and ecological attributes.

The economic indicators are powerful instruments in supporting the fisheries management actions since they provide the impact of such actions and endorse the management framework. For this, quality data on the economic performance of fishing is of paramount importance for preparing and implementing any strategy. In this regard, the study has been conducted to explore the trends in the composition of landings, quantities, and prices of the fish in Karanja and Bhayander estuaries of Maharashtra; to study the catch per unit effort trends and to assess the socio-economic profile of fishers in the selected areas.

Data and Methodology

The study was conducted in Karanja and Bhayander areas falling under district Raigad and Thane respectively. Data on quantity of landings, species composition and price of fish in the selected districts has been collected through various secondary sources especially Department of Fisheries, Maharashtra reports for the years 1995-2016. Decadal changes in quantity and price of different species was studied.  Data on district wise prices of fishes for the last 20 years was collected and trends studied. CPUE data was collected and trends studied over years for selected districts. Socio-economic parameters have been studied for Karanja fishers using primary data collected using pre-tested structured interview schedule. Percentage analysis, graphical and tabular analysis have been used to present the data.

Results and Discussion

Decadal changes in quantity and price of fish

Decadal (1995 to 2015) changes in quantity (tonnes) of various varieties of fish and shellfishes in Bhayander and Karanja  estuaries of Maharashtra were studied and results reveal that the landings were dominated by anchovies, ribbon fish and non-penaeid pawns at Karanja during 1995-96. In 2005-06, pomfrets took over ribbon fishes and non-penaeid prawns catch also declined drastically (74% to 47%) and presently the catch is dominated by anchovies, ribbon fish and otolithes. In case of Bhayander, during 1995-96, the prawns and pomfrets dominated the catch, in 2005-06 shrimp catch has further increased and Bombay duck landings have also increased but pomfret catch has drastically shown a decline (67% to 33%). Present picture reveals that the 80% of catch is dominated by shrimps followed by Bombay duck and anchovies.

Decadal (1995 to 2015) changes in price (Rs/Ton) of various varieties of fish and shellfishes in Bhayander and Karanja estuaries of Maharashtra have been studied and results reveal that in Karanja the prices for elasmobranches have shown a steep rise over last two decades. The prices of anchovies, pomfrets and lobsters have shown consistent rise. Similarly for Bhayander, fluctuations have been observed in prices of elasmobranchs and catfishes but prices of pomfrets, anchovies and lobsters, shrimps have shown consistent rise every year.

CPUE Patterns

The data for per unit effort production (kgs) for last 10 years ( 2005-06 to 2015-16) was collected for Raigad and Thane districts respectively for both mechanized and non-mechanized boats and gears separately. The results revealed that per unit effort production was highest for purse seines (1.8 tonnes) in case of Raigad and for bag nets (0.9 tonnes) in case of Thane. Similarly considering Non-mechanized boats and nets, it was observed that over the last one decade there was no consistency in the catch produced by different gears in Thane district but in Raigad, per unit effort production (kgs) for bag nets and gill nets have shown fluctuating patterns.

Socio-economic analysis of  Karanja fishers

An awareness program had been conducted in Karanja cooperative society at Karanja and 30 fishers were randomly selected from a gathering of almost 50-60 people. The data was collected by using a pre-tested structured interview schedule.

Age profile, family and occupation of respondents

Age-wise distribution of sample respondents indicated that the 40% of respondents were in the age group of 40-50 years, followed by the flock of the age group of 30-40 years (24%) and the flock of more than 60 years (20%). The average age was 48 years. With regard to family type and Size, 80% families were found to be nuclear and only 20% as joint. The average family size of fisher household was found to be 5.4. Most of the fishers in Karanja (60%) were having an experience of 20-30 years. All the sampled respondents were involved in fishing as their primary occupation Majority of respondents (97%) have no secondary occupation and only few respondents were involved in other livelihood activities like FRP boat making, net making and laborers in nearby areas.

Literacy rate, income and expenditure

The average literacy rate of the fisher households was found to be 76.96 per cent. Among the literates, 32.85 per cent had education up to primary level, 53.88 per cent had education up to secondary level and 13.10 per cent had education above secondary level. Such a high education level among the fisher folk had become possible due to better access to educational facilities. It was found that the average monthly income of the fishers in Karanja ranged from Rs.12000/month to Rs.1, 20,000 /month depending upon the craft and gear used by the fishers. Gill netters earned less compared to those who possess trawlers and purse seiners. It was seen that annual expenditure on fishing was higher for fishers who used trawlers and purse seiners compared to gill net and dol net users. It indicated that the expenditure incurred on food was highest in family expenditure. Education, entertainment and social security measures held increasing proposition in the family expenditure.

Economic Security

 The economic security of respondent-fishers was measured in terms of savings and indebtedness. The study has revealed that NCDC was the major source of credit for fishers (26.66). Regarding the gear-wise average catch/ day and it was seen that trawlers and purse seiners and their dual use fetched fishers 5-7 tons of fish catch per day. Trawlers were responsible for the maximum exploitation of marine resources in Karanja followed by purse seines and dol nets.

For economic security, not a considerable number of fisher households had savings, the average amount being less than Rs.10, 000 per fisher household. The study suggests that microfinance enterprises like self-help groups (SHGs) should be promoted to help the fishers to address their problem of indebtedness. There exists huge potential of imparting training to fishers, particularly the young and womenfolk, on fisheries management and diversified enterprises including services delivery. Similarly it was seen that there are no sources of alternate livelihoods for fishers in Karanja and almost 98% people are only involved in fishing activities and hence for the sustainable source of income, alternative livelihoods like value addition and fish processing can be promoted in the area.


About the Author :

Neha W. Qureshi, Latha Shenoy and Geetanjali Deshmukhe
ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education
Versova, Mumbai - 400061

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