Gahirmatha fishermen give inputs on income generation scheme, demand further government support

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Press release - June 17, 2011
June 16, 2011, Kendrapara, Orissa: Over 300 fishermen from 15 villages around Kharinasi attended the public consultation organised by Greenpeace India and United Artists’ Association (UAA) to explore income generation schemes for traditional fishermen affected by the fishing ban at Gahirmatha. Acting as panellists for the consultation were--Shri Rabi Pattaniak, Assistant Director, Fisheries Department, Dr. Bismal, fisheries expert from the Chilika Development Authority, Dr Mihir Patnaik, DFO Mahakalpada, Shri Lakshmikant Haldar, Orissa Traditional Fishworkers’ Union and Shri Ashish Senapati, representing Orissa Marine Conservation Consortium.

The consultation, independently organised by Greenpeace and UAA, served as a forum for the fishermen to voice their opinions about the income generation schemes being planned for them under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Program (ICZMP). Prior to the consultation, a sample survey was undertaken in 15 villages by Greenpeace and UAA to collate data about the various alternative income generation methods that fishermen are already adopting, basic training needs, investments needed and the success and failure factors. A second public hearing is scheduled for June 21 at Rajnagar.

Majority of the fishermen in the area have expected such a scheme from the government for a long time now and most seem to believe that such a scheme can be successful, if implemented well. However 44% of those surveyed also demanded support, both in terms of training and financial support as essential in rendering these options viable.

“The need for more information about the new program and trainings has emerged as the most important demand of the scheme. Fishermen have reiterated that this program is a step in the right direction and they are ready to adopt alternative income generation schemes provided there is optimal support from the government.” said Mangraj Panda of the UAA.

“We will handover the recommendations that emerge from these consultations to the implementing agencies,” said Areeba Hamid, Oceans Campaigner with Greenpeace India. “These recommendations are coming from the people directly impacted; if acted upon by the state government, they will go a long way to ensuring that this scheme is efficient and genuinely improves the economic situation of the fishermen in the area.”

“The Gahirmatha experience reinforces that prior consultation and buys-in of the local community is essential before any Protected Area is declared, particularly if it affects their traditional livelihoods. Further, the community must be involved in the management of the sanctuary for it to be successful,” added Hamid.


For further information, contact

Areeba Hamid, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +91-99005 69456,

Mangaraj Panda, General Secretary, United Artists Association, +91-94370 67314,

Saumya Tripathy, Media Consultant, +91-80931 42421,