Should I stay or should I go: South Indian artisanal fishers’ precarious livelihoods and their engagement with categorical ocean forecasts

Martin, Max, Abhilash, S, Pattathil, Vijaykumar, Harikumar, R, Niyas, N T, Balakrishnan Nair, T M, Grover, Yatin and Osella, Filippo (2022) Should I stay or should I go: South Indian artisanal fishers’ precarious livelihoods and their engagement with categorical ocean forecasts. Weather, Climate, and Society, 14 (1). pp. 113-129. ISSN 1948-8327

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Ocean State Forecasts contribute to safe and sustainable fishing in India, but their usage among artisanal fishers is often limited. Our research in Thiruvananthapuram district in the southern Indian state of Kerala tested forecast quality and value and how fishers engage with forecasts. In two fishing villages, we verified forecast accuracy, skill, and reliability by comparing forecasts with observations during the 2018 monsoon season (June–September; n 5 122). We assessed forecast value by analyzing fishers’ perceptions of weather and risks and the way they used forecasts based on 8 focus group discussions, 20 interviews, conversations, and logs of 10 fishing boats. We find that while forecasts are mostly accurate, inadequate forecasting of unusual events (e.g., wind .45 km h21) and frequent fishing restrictions (n 5 32) undermine their value. Fishers seek more localized and detailed forecasts, but they do not always use them. Weather forecasts are just one of the tools artisanal fishers deploy, used not simply to decide as to whether to go to sea but also to manage potential risks, allowing them to prepare for fishing under hazardous conditions. Their decisions are also based on the availability of fish and their economic needs. From our findings, we suggest that political, economic, and social marginality of south Indian fishers influences their perceptions and responses to weather-related risks. Therefore, improving forecast usage requires not only better forecast skill and wide dissemination of tailor-made weather information, but also better appreciation of risk cultures and the livelihood imperatives of artisanal fishing communities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Asia, Climate change, Communications/decision making, Forecasting, Indian Ocean, Monsoons, Social Science, Ocean Waves
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
School of Global Studies > Geography
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Sustainability Research Programme
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography > GB5000 Natural disasters
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
Q Science > QC Physics > QC0851 Meteorology. Climatology Including the earth's atmosphere
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Maxmillan Martin
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 07:42
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2022 11:59

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