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UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Coastal transformations and fisher wellbeing - synthesized perspectives from India and Europe

Disclaimer: The data for this page has been produced from IATI data published by UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Please contact them (Show Email Address) if you have any questions about their data.

Project Data Last Updated: 27/08/2020

IATI Identifier: GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-ES_R010404_1


This research examines how government policies with regard to coastal development have transformed the physical, ecological and social character of coastal areas in India and select European countries and how this has impacted the wellbeing of fishing communities, who are historically the main coastal inhabitants. While the modernization of fisheries that occurred in the past decades was aimed at economic progress, it also resulted in damage to marine ecosystems, to inequality and social conflict. Similarly, policies towards the end of the 20th century aimed at promoting industrial development and tourism threatened fishers by laying claim to coastal lands and polluting the seas they fish in. We investigate this story of coastal transformation through a number of thematic work packages. First, we geospatially map the institutional and socioecological changes that have occurred in two Indian case study sites on the east and west coasts and supplement this with more coarse analyses of coastal transformation in UK, France, Norway and Slovenia. Second, we focus on specific transformations, namely the technical modernization of fisheries, the industrialization of the coast and the promotion of tourism and cultural heritage. Third, we explore how fishers' wellbeing is affected and how they respond to coastal transformations, either through resistance or livelihood migration. We also examine how they tell their histories of transformation and imagine their futures. The results of these focused studies are finally synthesized and inserted into the geospatial database. The research takes a political ecology approach that focuses on the winners and losers of coastal transformation. We define wellbeing as: "a state of being with others, which arises where human needs are met, where one can act meaningfully (through relations with others) to pursue one's goals, and where one can enjoy a satisfactory quality of life" (McGregor 2007). Wellbeing is understood to include three dimensions: (a) material wellbeing (livelihoods in present and imagined futures); (b) relational wellbeing (with a focus on equality across genders and generations within fishing communities, and vis-à-vis external actors); and (c) subjective wellbeing (perceptions thereof). As fishers depend on common pool marine resources, the degradation and ineffective governance of these resources is a factor influencing all three dimensions hereof. Our research will be quantitative and qualitative and is ultimately aimed at seeking insights into individual, household and community responses to coastal transformation and short-term actions and strategic investments, both individually and collectively. The research is expected to produce a range of outputs, both academic and non-academic. Apart from a series of journal publications, we will produce research and policy briefs to be shared with global and national policy-makers. Core sections of an interactive coastal web mapping will be produced in the case of India for sharing with civil society and NGO actors, fisher organizations and policy-makers. A mobile exhibition "Heritage for Future Fisheries" will be curated, traveling to four fieldwork locations (2 in India, 1 in Slovenia and 1 in the UK). As noted in the pathways to impact, this exhibition will set up collaborative dialogues with a range of stakeholders. We will also produce a set of articles and blogs for popular media across the five countries.


The topic of the proposed research is coastal transformation as it is occurring globally, with special reference to India and Europe. The objective is to see how government laws and investment policies have reshaped the social ecology of the coast in India as well as in selected European countries, and thereby impacted fisher wellbeing. This objective is driven by our understanding that fishing communities have historically been the main inhabitants of the coast and depend on it most for their livelihoods and therefore are likely to be the most affected by transformations. We also hope that by understanding processes of coastal transformation more clearly and their socio-ecological impacts, our research can feed into more informed coastal policies. We address the main objective through a number of research questions, listed below: 1. How have government policies contributed to transformation of the coast in the period 1945-present? This research question seeks to map out how evolving policy priorities have resulted in legislative and institutional changes with regard to coastal governance and management. 2. What have been the social-ecological consequences of government policies for fisheries as well as for the wider coastal area? The focus of this research question is to map out how changing policies have impacted upon the character and sustainability of fisheries, and on the use of coastal space and resources, such as through industrialization and tourism development. 3. How have changes in fisheries and the use of land and sea of the coastal area impacted labour practices and imaginations of the coast? Here our intention is to hone in on how coastal transformations have impacted the way fisheries and other coastal sectors are organized, and how this has resulted in new inequalities and livelihood strategies including often migration to far off places. We also inquire into perceptions of the coast in present and future. 4. What effects have coastal transformations (see questions 1-3) had for fisher wellbeing (across genders and generations)? Coastal transformations and its impacts are assessed in terms of our multi-dimensional understanding of wellbeing, i.e. material, relational and subjective. 5. How have fishers reacted individually and collectively to coastal transformations? This research question focuses on how fishers have resisted, or otherwise adjusted to policies that have adversely affected them. Answering these research questions will help us, through comparative analysis of Indian and European case studies, address our main objective and provide a more integrated and nuanced understanding of the implications of coastal change over time for equity, growth and wellbeing.

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A comparison across six financial years of forecast spend and the total amount of money spent on the project to date.

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