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1. Recommendations of the Workshop Participants

Group A: Sustainable Use and Equitable Sharing

The Group discussed the dynamics of all end-user and dependent groups of reef resources, classifying them into different categories of stakeholders. The table that follows summarizes information about stakeholders, their unsustainable practices, corrective measures required to manage the resources on sustainable basis remedial action necessary to bring about long-term sustainable use and equitable sharing of coral reef resources.

The stakeholder groups were divided into the following categories as shown in Table 1.

1. The most sociologically important group is traditional fishermen and coastal dwellers. Fishermen were divided into two groups:

a) Traditional Fishermen: These Include Indigenous People who have been living in the vicinity of coral reefs for millennia. Their services can be availed of under the program almost as wardens.

b) Commercial fishermen: They use modern fishing methods and regard the reef resources as a short-term commercial proposition. They are not particularly concerned with the long-term conservation of the reef as their financial mobility allows them to shift operations from region to region once the catch is depleted. They use fine-mesh nets, such as gillnet and purse seine, fish poisons, cyanide and dynamite. They also carry out bottom netting for lobsters.

Corrective measures: Fisheries management, limiting fish catch and improved methods of fish catch, education and people's participation and involvement in a long-term management plan.

Indicative values on a scale of 1-5 for the time, effort and money to be spent on these people because they are sociologically important for the coastal regions. A value of 4 is given to fishermen.

Divers: were further categorized as:

a) Sports divers: Diving as a sport can be sustainable if diving numbers (density) is regulated and maintained.

b) Commercial divers: Commercial divers who use scuba equipment without adequate training are destructive to the coral reef. This is because they do not fully appreciate either the ethics or function and use of scuba gear.

The diver code of ethics of PADI, NAUI, SSI, CMAS, and BSAC is Safety first and foremost; Insist on a buddy system (Two divers must always dive together); Protection of the environment and all its inhabitants. It specifically states that scuba gear should not be used for commercial purposes such as killing or catching fish, dynamiting, poisoning etc.

Corrective measures: There should be an organized program to train divers in safety regulations concerning scuba practices and bring them into the mainstream of International scuba activities with their rules and ethics involved.

Table 1: Sustainable use and equitable sharing of coral reef resources

Stakeholder Users

Unsustainable Practices

Corrective Measures

indicative value 1 (low) to 5 (high)*

Fishermen 1. Traditional Fishermen


2. Exploitative Fishermen

Small Mesh Net Fishing Bilgewater, Fish Offal Blast Fishing Cyanide Fishing (Poisons)

Education and Awareness Building Fisheries Management Measures


Ornamental Shell and Coral Collectors


Culture shells & Corals. Revenue Generation Fisheries Management


Divers Sports Commercial Scientific

Diver Overcrowding Lack of proper training in scuba Diving

Limit Number of Divers Scuba diving certification Education and training


Tourist Operators

Glass-bottom Boats Sewage/Solid Waste disposal Excessive Draw and Use of Ground- water Resources. Indiscriminate Construction

Stringent Control Sustainability Awareness Implement Existing Regulations


Ports and Harbors


Harbor Management


Coral Miners

Complete Destruction

Ban/Alternate Sources of Building Materials


Naval Activities

Demolition Damage Anchor Damage Combat Diver Training

Environmental Education for Officers at School


Urban Developers

Waste Disposal Lack of Setbacks Reclamation

Implement Rules


Marine Archeology

Removal of Artifacts

Regulatory Agency



Discharge of Effluents Antibiotics/Exotic Diseases Increased Sedimentation

Enforcement of Rules Better Management


Coastal Dwellers/settlers

Waste Disposal

Awareness building Bio Toilets


Shipping Industry

Oil Discharge Ballast Water Discharge

Enforcement Education


Ship Breaking Industry

Oil Seepage Scrap Matter

Designate Special Zones

Coir Pith Producer

Increased Nutrients Pollution

Designate disposal areas Education Improve Technology


Oil Industry


Laws Enforcement Awareness


4. Tourist operators: Tourism brings in revenue, creates employment and can be self regulating if a code of ethics is followed. Coral reef resorts live off the reefs and a lot of capital has gone into providing an infrastructure. They depend on the pristine-ness of the reef and it is in their self-interest to preserve the reef environment.

5. Ports and harbors: They are necessary for developmental infrastructure. But their construction should be regulated stringently. Environmental impact studies must be conducted on every major project, to check sustainability or environmental damage.

Corrective measures: Spear-head teams or groups of highly motivated environmental and social scientists to motivate and educate end user groups into forming associations that can regulate and manage their own reefs.

The following action steps were suggested to operationalise marine protected areas and fish sanctuaries:

1. De-mystify protection and management. Protection does not mean no fishing.

· Responsible fishing (code of conduct for responsible fishing.
· Professional ethics/PADI scuba certificate.

2. Stakeholder consultation and analysis to promote community bonding

3. Set up community learning and earning center's in fishing villages to serve as a focal point for co-management.

4. Training and awareness building.

· Provide worthwhile occupational skills.
· Construct signboards and posts in strategic public areas through key messages.

5. Mangrove re-plantation schemes - rehabilitation of coastal contiguous wet lands.

6. Seagrass replanting and rehabilitation

7. Construct and install artificial reefs as management tools and not as gear.

8. Encourage rotational fishing

9. Develop a core of community reef wardens (with/without incentives and a supporting policy environment)

Group B: Local Governance of Reef Resources and Habitats

The group's discussion was based on the consensus that given the complexity of coral reefs and the multiplicity of impacts upon them, any measures to sustainably manage and conserve them would be futile without the active participation of stakeholders. In order to facilitate and enable participatory, stakeholder governance the group through their discussions proposed recommended the following:

· Evolve supportive clauses into existing regulations to include coral reefs and to specifically delineate the area of jurisdiction;

· Evolve institutional frameworks to provide local decision - making platforms to manage and conserve coral reefs and to legitimize and empower such groups to undertake such efforts; and

· Propose miscellaneous tasks, which would enable and facilitate local governance options and build the capacity of agencies concerned to undertake similar efforts.

The recommendations of the group, broadly classified into three categories were:

1.0 Supportive Regulations and Legislation to include and delineate Coral Reefs:

1.1 All coral reefs should be declared 'protected areas" (ecologically sensitive areas with certain restrictions on destructive fishing practices, and activities) to enable conservation and sustainable management.

1.2 A special authority should be created in all coral reef areas to conserve and manage coral reefs or, an agency already existing should be empowered and authorized to undertake the mandate.

1.3 Legislation relating to Coastal Zone Regulation should be appropriately amended to enable integrated coastal zone management to cover the seaward side to depths of up to 200 meters.

1.4 Legislation to be appropriately amended to incorporate all coral species as marine fauna. In particular include the species 'corals' in the Schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and include 'corals' in the definition of "wild animal".

1.5 As all South Asian countries are signatories of CITES, a complete ban on the export and trade of all coral species should be enforced.

2.0 Institutional Framework for Local Governance:

2.1 Under the aegis of the designated local coral reef authority, local governance of coral reefs should be encouraged and promoted. Appropriate local forums of stakeholders, including concerned government agencies, all user groups, interested parties and local government, where formed, should be empowered to assist and advise the CRA (Coral Reef Authority) in the development of conservation and management plans. These forums should participate actively in implementation of plans.

2.2 Coral reefs are vulnerable to human impact, some of which may be generated at points distant from the coast. In order to protect and conserve coral reefs, the Coral Reef Authority (or designated agency) should be empowered to co-ordinate with agencies whose area of jurisdiction impacts on coral reefs.

3.0 Miscellaneous proposals to enable and facilitate local governance:

3.1 Awareness building and education should be encouraged to promote the participation of stakeholders in conserving and managing coral reefs.

3.2 All users of coral reefs should be strictly licensed and regulated strictly, according to guidelines that specify extraction and use limits.

3.3 It is vital to document traditional management practices of coral reef communities to give direction to socially and politically feasible local governance modalities.

3.4 In evolving management plans for coral reef conservation and management, given the urgency of the task and the lack of hard scientific information, the CRA (Coral Reef Authority) should adopt the precautionary principle, depending on best available information.

3.5 To build the capacity of agencies concerned, to enable improved management and conservation of coral reefs, partnerships should be evolved in the region to make optimal use of available skills, talents, information, research facilities and tools.

Group C: Reef Research and Monitoring for Management

1. Issues

1.1 Networking and Information Sharing

Although there are a few significant gaps in the status of knowledge of South Asian coral reefs, the general condition of coral reefs, and related threats and resource-use issues are relatively well understood by regional specialists. However, it is widely recognised that information is restricted to specialist institutions and therefore tends to be fragmented and inaccessible.

1.2 Weaknesses in the Research Infrastructure

Certain weaknesses in the coral reef-related research community in South Asia were identified:

(i) although many institutions in India are conducting related marine work. India has no dedicated national centre for coral reef research; like Sri Lanka and Maldives.

(ii) South Asian regional institutions lack manpower for field activities, especially in-water data collection;

(iii) much of the present marine research activity is not related to management requirements and tends to be narrow-focused and qualitative. In particular there is a lack of quantitative survey work generating relevant management-related statistics;

(iv) there are problems in securing long-term commitment of funds for monitoring activities, which need to be continued year after year.

1.3 Community Participation in Research Activities

There is an acute awareness in the research community that extensive recommendations have been made over the years on coral reef management priorities, but very few have been put into practice by governments.

A fundamental reason, may be the lack of involvement of communities in the research process. This leads to recommendations that are neglect community interests. This in turn means that there is limited political will to implement such recommendations.

Greater active involvement by community groups would mean better integration of local or traditional knowledge of the coral reef environments and resource-use issues into the management recommendations.

1.4 Lack of Socio-economic Research on Coral Reefs

There are very few scientists from socio-economic disciplines who specifically address coral reef-related issues in the South Asia region.

This is one reason why community interests may have been insufficiently addressed in coral reef management recommendations in the past. Better participation by socio-economic scientists would also help to translate local understanding of coral reef environment into management planning processes.

2. Recommendations (not in order of priority)

2.1 Development of the South Asia regional component of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) should be advanced as quickly as possible, especially to address the need to integrate available coral reef information and improve data accessibility.

2.2 Consideration needs to be given to establishing a nodal centre for coral reef research in India. Conferring the mandate for coral reef work on a single institution (either new or existing) may not be desirable, as there are strengths in the existing plurality and diversity of institutions. Nonetheless, some kind of national coordinating body is clearly required.

2.3 Research priorities at some marine research and related institutions and universities in India and Sri Lanka need to be fundamentally reviewed in the context of basic management needs; in particular, applied quantitative survey and monitoring work needs to be encouraged in favour of the current emphasis on qualitative studies such as taxonomic work, and detailed species-level studies.

2.4 National Government, funding sources in India should be requested to consider routine annual budgetary provision (i.e. not constrained to a fixed project duration) to fund ongoing coral reef monitoring activities.

2.5 There is a strong need for field scientists to encourage the active participation of community groups in field data collection, so that local knowledge can be accessed, and local awareness of the state of the environment increased.

2.6 Closer co-operation is needed between scientists, local communities and politicians and state and national government authorities in planning coral reef related research activities, so that such research is actively integrated into local management efforts and concerns.

2.7 Scientists from socio-economic disciplines would be encouraged specifically to address coral reef related issues and to develop resource-use and livelihood monitoring alongside biophysical monitoring.

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