Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 150511844
Finding Spaces for Coexistence: Understanding Response of Fishermen to Decline in Fish Catch and Engaging them to Reduce Dolphin By-catch
There is recent evidence that fishermen in the study area has perceived decline in their fish catches (The River Dolphin Trust unpublished data). Although how well such fishers perceptions match with on-the ground reality has not been studied, it is quite clear from this information that such perceptions or experience have allowed fishers to respond often by using the fishing gear and methods that are destructive to ecosystem. Use of modern fishing gears may increase risk of by- catch of river dolphins in their fishing gear. Understanding how fishermen respond to decline in fish catches (in terms of fishing practices and fishing area) and their willingness to adopt sustainable fishing practices is crucial for designing appropriate strategies for conservation and management of riverine habitat for endangered species (river dolphins and crocodiles) and sustainable fishery. However, there has been limited information about when and how fishermen respond to decline in fish catches and how their responses relate to the risk of river dolphins by-catch in fishing nets. With this background, this project aims to gather critical scientific evidence that will feed into the development of management strategies for both river dolphin conservation and sustainable fishery management. Moreover, the evidence will help facilitate devise/change existing fishing regulations (e.g., restriction on certain fishing gears/fishing practices, fishing ban on mortality hotspots, education program) for restoration of fish population, which will eventually benefit the river dolphin conservation and livelihood of fishing communities. The critical scientific evidence will include: 1) information on the types of fishing gear and practice that are responsible for high level of dolphin by-catch risk, 2) information on socio-economic factors that drive fishermen responses to declining fish catches, and 3) fishermen willingness to adopt more sustainable fishing practices. This scientific evidence will be used to inform evidence-based conservation actions for river dolphins, their habitat and sustainable fishery for fishing communities. This scientific evidence will allow us to understand when (season and time), where (specific locations) and in what fishing gears (types) dolphins are most likely to be caught, which in turn could be crucial for developing an education program for fishermen community to reduce dolphin by-catch. Overall, this project will complement our previous and on-going efforts to conserve river dolphins and their habitat in the study area.
Project 150511844 location - Nepal, Asia