Traditional management and change

Marine resource management in the Nicobar archipelago

Studying the effectiveness of marine resource management systems post-tsunami in the Nicobar archipelago

  • (Photo: Vardhan Patankar)

  • (Photo: Vardhan Patankar)

Pre- and post-tsunami resource use

The 2004 Tsunami catastrophe degraded the reefs of the Nicobar Islands, potentially influencing the effectiveness of local traditional systems of management and their ability to meet short- and long-term conservation and community goals. In this study, we documented the contrasts in pre-tsunami and post-tsunami resource-use patterns and management systems in relation to marine resource offtake and compared resources and ecological parameters inside and outside managed areas to assess how effective traditional management systems are in protecting marine resources and habitats, post-tsunami. The results are targeted to inform management authorities with the knowledge needed to optimize conservation practices. 




  • Journal Article
    For traditional island communities in the Nicobar archipelago, complete no-go areas are the most effective form of marine managementFor traditional island communities, no-go areas are the most effective form of management
    Ocean & Coastal Management 133, 53-63

    PDF, 1.16 MB

    For traditional island communities in the Nicobar archipelago, complete no-go areas are the most effective form of marine management

    The ability of local communities to sustainably manage natural resource harvests in coral reefs ecosystem depends heavily on the strength of traditional institutions. Coastal communities have evolved a suite of restrictive practices to control marine offtake and there is considerable recent evidence of their effec- tiveness in protecting and enhancing resource stocks. However, traditionally imposed restrictions can vary considerably in their complexity and in their functional effectiveness. The indigenous communities of the Nicobar Islands are dependent on marine resources for sustenance, managing them with a range of traditionally imposed restrictions. These include limited entry to certain locations, closed seasons and areas, and restrictions on species, size-classes of fish and fishing methods. We tested the relative effectiveness of protection in areas managed under different traditional control regimes by comparing the abundance and biomass of targeted fish groups in managed and unmanaged areas. Our results indicate that reef sites with the strictest form of restriction e essentially no-go areas e had significantly higher abundance and biomass values of most functional groups of fishes compared with partially protected and control locations. In contrast, targeted food fish stocks did not differ from control locations in partially protected sites managed with even complex forms of traditional management. Ensuring that traditional harvest rules are complied is critical to the success of any management system, and our re- sults suggest that they can be most strictly enforced in traditional no-go areas. Our work highlights the importance of critically evaluating the factors influencing traditional management systems to strengthen their ability to protect these reefs from unsustainable overharvest.

  • Journal Article
    Erosion of Traditional Marine Management Systems in the Face of Disturbances in the Nicobar Archipelago
    Human Ecology, DOI 10.1007/s10745-015-9781-x
  • Popular Article
    The fading of an invisible map
    The Hindu, February 11th, Magazine Section

    PDF, 968 KB

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