Management Anarchy in Complex Commons: A Study of Cochin Lagoon Fisheries in Kerala, India

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"The development of international markets and failure of local communities to manage fisheries have been a major policy concern. Communitarian institutions that regulated access to fishing grounds and ensured a fair distribution of resources weakened. The response to this move within community was diverse. Individual fishermen violated traditional resource sharing customs and practices and resorted to illegal fishing in an attempt to sustain livelihoods. The State on the other hand strategically refrained from enforcing regulations which further fastened resource degradation and livelihood vulnerabilities. Hence the management anarchy that prevails in the lagoon fishery today is the product of both state and community failures. This paper focuses on the reasons for the community and state failures in the management of traditional fisheries in Cochin lagoon and analyses the livelihoods strategies adopted by local communities. The paper argues that the anarchy in lagoon fisheries prevents immediate solutions to resource degradation and livelihood vulnerabilities."
complex systems, resource management, fisheries, governance and politics, livelihoods, lagoons, IASC