Several experiences across the country provide deeper insights into evolving such policy framework; prominent among them are the experiences of VIKALP in Madhya Pradesh in reservoir fisheries, of Sahabhagi Vikas Abhiyan (SVA) and WORLP in Odisha on small ponds, of WASSAN and GNNS in Tanks-based-fisheries in semi-arid Andhra Pradesh. These experiences provide a basis for evolving appropriate institutional structures in the complex arena of managing the water bodies and sharing of usufructs. CIFA , CIFRI and CIFE have developed some technological protocols. Synthesis of these experiences across the country helps in appreciating the policy requirements .The lessons learnt from the earlier interventions have made to believe in the strengths of the smallholders in inland fishery sector – their leadership, ability to influence policies and practices, power in the market, adaptability to technological changes, resilience to risks of different kind etc. Now RRA intends to take these experiences to other rainfed states and also to the national level for necessary changes in the policy and programme for strengthening inland fishery in rainfed area.
Our recommendations for policy initiatives
-Develop a ‘National Inland Fisheries Policy’ for resource sustenance, to support and strengthen inland fisheries and encourage states to create specific policies for inland fisheries
-Discuss and share the recent ‘Guidelines for the States for Framing a Bill on Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture’ with all stakeholders in the state
-Functional and effective convergence with MGNREGS to develop tanks and ponds and to create dead storage, strengthen bunds, etc., with a focus on improving productivity in fisherie
-Establish ‘Fisheries Resource Centres’ (FRCs) in rainfed areas to provide technical support and strengthen primary stakeholders’ institutions and research in inland fisheries
-Build institutions of primary stakeholders at different levels, crucial to enhancing productivity and sustaining growth. State and Central Governments must make budget allocations to strengthen existing institutions of fisherfolk
-Provide support and guidance to state governments to make changes in the fisheries policies to involve women as members in the cooperatives and in new bodies
-Make budget allocations to establish hatcheries for quality fish seed production, establish satellite fish seed rearing centers, which will provide quality fish seed to the communities.
-Make budget allocations to improve basic infrastructure and access – such as landing centers, ice plants, local markets and marketing places, vehicles for transport, nets, ice boxes and boats.
-Design, develop and support innovative approaches/programmes to support small-scale inland fisheries which will benefit the landless and other marginalized groups