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Patankar V.,Oceans and Coasts Programme | Patankar V.,Center for Wildlife Studies | Patankar V.,National Center for Biological science | D'Souza E.,Oceans and Coasts Programme | And 3 more authors.
Human Ecology | Year: 2015

To sustainably manage naturally scarce resources, island communities often evolve complex mechanisms including customary laws, belief systems, and reciprocity arrangements among others, to prevent overharvest. Their effectiveness depends largely on the extent to which resource users comply with the rules. We examined patterns of compliance with traditional marine management in the Nicobar Archipelago, India, before, and six years after, the 2004 tsunami. We used interview-based surveys to document marine harvest regulations, and changes in compliance patterns. Our results indicate that pre-tsunami, complex harvest rules existed, including spatio-temporal closures, gear restrictions and species bans; many reefs were subject to multiple, overlapping restrictions. Post-tsunami, compliance weakened considerably; younger individuals (19-35 years) and individuals receiving tsunami aid (boats, gear, etc.) were the most likely non-compliers. Around 84 % of interviewees attributed declining compliance directly to post-tsunami changes in resource availability and a perceived decline in traditional authority. Changes in resource availability can interact strongly with institutional decline, eroding the resilience of traditional management. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

D'Lima C.,James Cook University | Marsh H.,James Cook University | Hamann M.,James Cook University | Sinha A.,Oceans and Coasts Programme | And 2 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2014

In human-dominated landscapes, interactions and perceptions towards wildlife are influenced by multidimensional drivers. Understanding these drivers could prove useful for wildlife conservation. We surveyed the attitudes and perceptions of fishers towards threatened Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) at Chilika Lagoon India. To validate the drivers of fisher perceptions, we: (1) observed dolphin foraging behavior at stake nets, and (2) compared catch per unit effort (CPUE) and catch income of fishers from stake nets in the presence and absence of foraging dolphins. We found that fishers were mostly positive towards dolphins, believing that dolphins augmented their fish catch and using culture to express their perceptions. Foraging dolphins were observed spending half their time at stake nets and were associated with significantly higher catch income and CPUE of mullet (Liza sp.), a locally preferred food fish species. Wildlife conservation efforts should use the multidimensional drivers of human-wildlife interactions to involve local stakeholders in management. © 2013 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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