Shrimp farming at Chilika Lake, Odisha, India

The conflict between the Chilika Lake indigenous dwellers and the local shrimp mafia continues for more than two decades with no hope in sight.


Description

The Chilika Lake, which is the largest brackish water lagoon in India, had been a steady source of livelihood for the poor (scheduled caste) people residing in more than 100 fisher hamlets surrounding the lake in the districts of Puri, Khurda and Ganjam of Odisha for decades. During the late 1980s the boom in the worldwide shrimp industry due to a rise in demand of shrimp exports to United States of America, Japan and European countries was seen as a golden opportunity for Indian industrialists and politicians to increase their foreign exchange earnings. In 1986, the government of Orissa entered into an agreement with the TATA to open a large aquaculture unit named Tata Aquatic Farm Ltd. to lease 1400 hectares of land in Chilika for prawn cultivation for a period of 15 years. The government had 10 % share in the deal which was opposed by the Janta Dal. However, when the party Janta Dal came into power in 1989, it merely changed the name of the farm into Chilika Acquatic Farms Ltd and increased the share of govt to 49%.The entire output of the farm was to be processed and exported. The annual turn over from the farms was to be of RS. 3000 lakhs which was to be in foreign exchange (1).

See more...
Basic Data
NameShrimp farming at Chilika Lake, Odisha, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceOdisha
SiteChilika Lake
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Wetlands and coastal zone management
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific CommoditiesShrimps
Project Details and Actors
Project Details5000MT of shrimp was produced in Chilika in 2013-14 (5).
Project Area (in hectares)100,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100,000-200,000
Start Date01/01/1990
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Orissa
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersMeet the Students, Chilika Bachao Andolan, Chilike Matsayjibi Mahasangha
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Students
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Strikes
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Waste overflow
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesProhibit industrial shrimp farming and protect small scale fishing activity by protecting the fishing rights of the traditional fisher folks.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Although the 1996 Supreme Court verdict was in favor, the illegal shrimp industry continues to flourish, and there is constant clashes between the local fishermen who are losing their livelihoods and the shrimp mafia who with the help of politicians and bureaucrats are earning profits and becoming richer.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Supreme Court Verdict of 1996 banning all shrimp ponds near Chilika Lake
[click to view]

Chilika Fisheries Bill

References

(1), (2) Information about the first industrial shrimp farming in Chilika in 1986, and the subsequent people's movement
[click to view]

Ecological Conflicts and Valuation - mangroves vs. shrimp in the late 1990s by Joan Martinez-Alier describing the global conflicts in shrimp industry
[click to view]

Information about the prawn mafia and the political economy of aquaculture in Chilika Lake.
[click to view]

Links

(3) Information about the Chilika (Regulation of Fisheries) Bill, 2011 and how the illegal shrimp mafia still functions.
[click to view]

(4) Recent violent outbursts over shrimp ponds in 2015
[click to view]

Fishermen successful in deferring the Chilika Regulation and Fisheries Bill.
[click to view]

Other Documents

Amount of Shrimp Produced in Chilika, and Orissa. Details about the fish production in Orissa till 2014.
[click to view]

Chilika lake fisherfolk in protest Source: https://nickroseblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/chilika-fisherfolk-protesting.jpg
[click to view]

Fishermen at Chilika Lake
[click to view]

Chilika Bachao Andolan Local villagers protesting against illegal shrimp farming
[click to view]

Protests in Bhubaneswar Local fishermen protesting against the Chilika Fisheries Bill in front of the State Assembly in Bhubaneswar.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorBrototi Roy, [email protected]
Last update26/08/2015
Comments