The Blue Economy involves economic activity that engages with the various components of the oceans. Given the immensity (components and geographical scope) of the oceans, it is not surprising that a vast array of actors-state actors, transnational corporations, conservation organisations, philanthropic foundations, policy think-tanks etc.-locate themselves strategically in the framework to seize the opportunity the Blue Economy affords. As the Blue Economy gets underway, the publication titled ‘Occupation of the Coast – The Bue Economy in India’, supported by the National Fishworker Forum, re-visits various aspects of coastal development and weaves together a narrative of its impacts on the fishing communities.
The study is divided into three chapter. Chapter One studies the laws pertaining to the coastal lands and the ocean resources in tandem since they govern the space (land), the resource (ocean) and access (land to ocean) vital to the fishing communities. Chapter Two investigates current government policies and financial practices of the government’s current flagship programme, the Sagarmala Programme, followed by two two papers which explore the key thrust areas of the Sagarmala, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) port models through a analysis of the Vijhinjam Port Project and an analysis of the creation of 111 inland waterways.
Chapter Three, brings together a series of contributions on the environmental and livelihood aspects of the Blue Economy. Key issues tackled in this section are the changing role of women fishers in the fisheries sector, the legal and administrative framework of governing Marine Protected Areas in India, the introduction of Blue Carbon as a new solution to climate change, tourism policies in India and the growing concerns of militarisation and security, in context of the Andamans.
With contributions by independent researchers and organisations working on the respective issues, the report touches upon key challenges in both coastal and marine policies today. Some of the main issues that have been raised and the paper, to be written by the authors of the report, would articulate are, financialisation of natural resources, the changing nature of governance and policy regimes, the eradication of processes of consent and consultation with affected communities, and the increasing push towards privitisation and para statal bodies in infrastructure policy.