Under the World Bank trust fund for tsunami recovery, the Governments of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry entered into an agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to implement an 18-month project called Fisheries Management for Sustainable Livelihoods (FIMSUL). The project is based on a scoping study done by FAO, World Bank and DFID, which showed that through better management of the marine fisheries sector, there is potential for sustainable livelihoods enhancement and economic growth in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. FIMSUL’s objective is to support the respective Governments in the development of a policy framework for the future management and use of marine fisheries in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The contract supported FIMSUL by conducting a review of best practices and approaches in fisheries livelihood support, diversification and change, to provide guidance for policymakers on the best ways of supporting fishers and fishing communities.  

The study reviewed a number of case studies and reports on stakeholder analysis, sustainable livelihoods and fisheries management from the project, combining international literature with experiences from the project and other interventions in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and more widely in India.

The review highlighted that successful experience in supporting people in the fisheries sector to undertake major changes in their livelihoods is singularly lacking. While there are numerous cases, both in Tamil Nadu, in India, and world-wide, of interventions aimed at supporting “alternative livelihoods” or encouraging livelihood development, cases where these interventions have been able to demonstrate their success are relatively few and far between. However, drawing the experience of a range of projects and programmes interviewed as part of the review, and from existing literature regarding other interventions, some key lessons and policy recommendations regarding livelihoods support were developed.

In addition, comments and inputs were provided on other FIMSUL reports, specifically on Fisheries Stakeholder Analysis and Visioning and Fisheries Livelihoods Analysis, Fisheries Policy Development, and Fisheries Management.

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