The impact of COVID 19 pandemic on marine fisheries sector: A case study from Andhra Pradesh, India
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This study discusses the impact of first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic on marine fisheries sector of Andhra Pradesh, India, covering the aspects of active fishing days, perception on reduction or enhancement of demand for fish, trends in price realisation, challenges encountered in marketing the fish, perceptions on government interventions as well as changes in socio-behavioural issues. The study was conducted during the period from June to September 2021, among a sample of 152 stakeholders involved in fishing and allied activities from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and Krishna districts in Andhra Pradesh. Average number of active fishing days in a month was found to be 11.44 during the first wave and 15.10 during the second wave periods. Nearly three-fourth of the respondents (73.68%) perceived that there was reduction in demand for fish during the first wave of the pandemic, and it was to the tune of 40%. Reduction in the daily earnings was reported to the tune of 37.09%. The challenges encountered in marketing the fish were, getting export orders, access to market, availability of storage, transportation and logistics. Peer interaction, time spent with family members and time spent in social media were higher than usual during both waves of the pandemic. Changes or disruptions in usual marketing channels were reported during both the periods. Satisfied perception was expressed on government interventions such as ration, timely advisories, health care and sanitary measures. A few positive impacts on fisheries observed during the pandemic were product innovations, new distribution channels such as online marketing, e-commerce and home deliveries, shortening of supply chains including elimination of auction at fishing harbour, lowering of ocean pollution as well as government reforms. From the results of the study, we propose socio-economic interventions to be taken up by concerned governments for ensuring that the impact of the pandemic is mitigated and also that any future pandemic can have minimal impacts on the fishing community.
Keywords: Export market, Livelihood, Lockdown, Nutritional security, Policy interventions, Socio-behavioural issues, Supply chains