Under Indian legislation, i.e. various state Marine Fishing (Regulation) Act (MFRAs), small-scale traditional fishers are granted exclusive rights to near-shore marine waters, ostensibly to protect their rights and livelihoods. However, failures in implementation, management and monitoring of these exclusive small-scale artisanal fishing zones (SFZs), has hampered the holistic actualization of these protections.
The most marginalized and vulnerable small-scale traditional fishers rely heavily upon SFZs for their livelihood security, food and nutrition security, poverty eradication, social development and the sustainable use of marine resources. this study documents the relationship between small-scale non-towed fishers and the SFZ and the integral role the SFZ plays in the lives of the small-scale fishing community.
Establishing secure tenure rights to marine and coastal spaces and resources can be considered sine qua non for equity and justice. It is essential to rejuvenate existing mechanisms and bolster them through the principles of human rights and the SSF Guidelines to protect and support small-scale fisheries in our future.