The Saga of Fish workers in Kerala: Critical Environmental Law Perspective

  • Samanvi Narang
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  • Samanvi Narang

    Academic Tutor and TRIP Fellow, JGLS, India

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The Kerala waters are home to a significant number of fishermen with fishing as their mainstay and above that an ‘emotion’. These depths shelter more than 21,000 species of fishes. While post-independence era subjected them to constant threat of modernization by the Government of India, the Liberalization, Globalization, Privatization (LPG) regime worsened their problems. Not only threats from the domestic factors but also from the international commercial competition in fisheries segment enhanced their conflicts. Their roman-fleuve began with the 1953 INP (Indo-Norwegian project) that was introduced to improvise the infrastructure for higher efficient fishing as a global commercial activity. While this was just a trailer in their story, the real show began post 1960s. With a surge in demand of prawns and other global market orientations, the pressure came on the traditional practices followed in the fishing segment. The fishermen still continue to bring about their interest as are suppressed by the entrepreneurial model of development in the privatized institutional framework. Like most other stories of struggle the impact is not singular. The saga of these fishermen narrated in this research piece aims to highlight environmental impacts as a direct consequence of the policies and laws enacted by those in power. Also, the researcher goes on to understand the standpoint epistemology of the Apex Court of the country in anticipating and understanding the particular trigger event in light of the environmental aspects, not just physical environment (Impact on Ecosystem, Biodiversity, Chemical cycles) but also socio-political environment. The mechanization of the traditional fishing practices is negatively impacting the ecological system. Also, when the researcher digs to bring forth the environmental crisis of the fishing world, she also tries to highlight the facets of impact on the coastal regulations and the interaction of socio-political environment on the physical environment. The lens of critical environmental law is used to indicate the void between the legislative and judicial response and the social expectations.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 4, Page 840 - 850


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