Adaptation and Survival, or Conflict and Division: Different Reactions to a Changing Common Property Resource Institution in a South Indian Fishery

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"Community adaptation to environmental and social change has often been a catalyst for evolution in common property resource (CPR) institutions. With increasing fragility of many traditional forms of natural resource management, understanding how communities are further reacting to, and evolving with, change in common property resources and the institutions that govern them, is vital if appropriate management support is to be established. Ultimately, our ability to evolve with change predetermines our ability to cope with change and fosters greater socioecological resilience. Similar arguments are being echoed throughout debates on the human- environment interface. As we face imminent global environmental change, important questions are being asked as to how we can cope and adapt to live with change - and what might restrict that capability. Using a case study of traditional fisheries management in South India, this paper documents a changing CPR management institution and the reactions of the local fishing society to those changes. The Padu system, a traditional common property resource institution, has defined fishing access rights in coastal communities throughout South India and Sri Lanka over many generations. Despite a substantial geographical reach, relatively little is understood about how the Padu system is changing under multiple pressures; even less is understood about how affected fishing societies are surviving the change. Pulicat lake, India's second largest coastal lagoon and an important artisanal fishery, provides a useful setting in which to explore changes in the Padu system, which, still governed by local people, represents the dominant form of fisheries management in the lake."



IASC, common pool resources, fisheries, adaptation, conflict, environmental change, social change, resilience