|Justice in context:
||Several hydrological effects in the lagoon, such as runoff from the unregulated depleted catchment, silt-borne freshwater discharges, and lagoon-water exchange, have had dramatic and unpredictable consequences. These changes in the lagoon ecosystem have turned out to be a cause of concern for local and national governments resulting in the dredging of a new sea mouth in 1980. Along with this, the rising market for shrimp aquaculture has served as a driver of rapid social-ecological change. This resulted in the differences in water inflow-outflow rates, pollution, salinity variation, and has disrupted saltwater-freshwater balance.
Past researches in Chilika highlight the adverse impacts of these changes contributing to a reduction in fish production and fishers’ incomes. The changes affected fishers’ livelihoods, led to restrictions of fishing rights and access to customary fishing grounds, caused reduction in water distribution and decreased depth due to siltation. The effects also include salinity decline, infestation of macrophytes, eutrophication, loss of biodiversity, as well as an increase in employment displacement and migration to cities in search for better job opportunities.
Industrial developments, agricultural drainage, river runoff containing urban waste, and drainage from agro-based factories are all anthropogenic practices related to the processes which affect the water quality of the Chilika Lagoon. These types of inputs severely altered the ecology of the lagoon and impacted the ecosystem's overall biotic population. This ultimately results in fish decline leading to a reduction in the economy of small-scale fisheries causing vulnerabilities and marginalization. Rules and policies should be formulated to manage the water resources and the SSF Guidelines should be implemented for managing and securing the lives of small-scale fishers in Chilika Lagoon.
|Dealing with justice:
||The National Wetlands, Mangroves and Coral Reefs Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Government of India, and the State Government have listed the lagoon as a priority site for conservation and management in view of the threats faced by the lagoon. The concern about the deterioration of the lagoon ecology and the significant number of people dependent on the lagoon resources led to a foundation of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in 1992. CDA was formed for the conservation of lagoon’s social-ecological system, such as protection of genetic diversity and threatened species, integrated resource management strategies, execution of multidimensional and multidisciplinary sustainable activities and improved national, as well as international collaborations.
The hydrological intervention of opening the new sea mouth and channel to the sea was the most successful remedial action. It helped in retaining specific characteristics of an estuarine ecosystem by raising spatial and temporal salinity gradients of the lagoon waters. Other CDA restoration activities included preservation of bird habitat and aquatic species, strengthened socio economic conditions, such as eco-tourism and catchment management in a participatory ecosystem approach to micro-watershed management. Activities also included the establishment of a ferry service for remote communities, provision of solar streetlights to island villages, construction of fish landing facilities for fishers, training and environmental awareness activities and economic incentives for the local population to avoid bird poaching. Despite the CDA efforts, there are still a number of small-scale fisheries issues that need to be resolved, such as water quality degradation, destruction of mangroves, uncontrolled industrialization, exploitation through tourism and destructive fishing practices.
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