School of Global Studies

Aims and objectives

Forecasting with fishers

The  main objective of the project is to address the gap between what marine weather forecasters produce and disseminate, and what artisanal fishers recognise as relevant and actionable inputs for decision-making.  Access to trusted and actionable forecasts helps fishers make informed decisions to go to sea or not under hazardous weather conditions, thus reducing risk of potentially life-threatening accidents at sea, diminishing the loss of gear and boats, and, more generally, building resilience against hazardous weather conditions. Such weather-resilient pathways will contribute to promoting more secure and sustainable livelihoods for artisanal fishers in India and elsewhere in the Global South.  This project will be part SSRP efforts to co-produces the critical knowledge needed for implementing the SDGs in low- and medium-income countries. The SSRP will combine results from the proposed project with results from SSRP projects in Kenya and elsewhere generate impact relevant to LMICs to build more locally adapted early warning systems against climate variability and change.  It will contribute to the targets for building up resilience of the poor to environmental shocks and disasters embedded in the goals No Poverty (SDG 1), End Hunger (SDG 2), and Climate Action (SDG 13). It will also further the goals of Decent Work (SDG 8), and sustainable use of oceans (SDG 14).

The proposed project addresses an urgent practical and intellectual problem, namely, how to bridge the apparent gap between the scientific knowledge weather forecasters produce and disseminate, and the information artisanal fishers require to fish safely under variable or prohibitive weather conditions.  To tackle this problem, the project will develop four related research packages (RPs), focused respectively on:

Forecasting with fishersDeep sea artisanal fishing vessels and small canoes called "tsunamis" –
 that became popular after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami – docked at the Thengapattinam fishing harbour in Kanyakumari district south of Thiruvananthapuram.

  1. Collecting robust empirical data on weather-related hazards faced by artisanal fishers in three different communities, and their cultural understanding of and attitudes to weather-related risks.
  2. Gathering evidence on how and to what extent fishers access and use existing marine weather forecast
  3. Engaging with fishers and forecasters to co-produce weather bulletins tailored to the social, cultural and economic needs of fishers, but also responsive to the priorities of weather forecasters and government agencies;
  4. Devising and piloting effective and easily accessible offshore/onshore communication tools in collaboration with fishers, government agencies and forecasters.

Top banner image: A fisherman inspects a shore seine boat left to dry at  St Andrew's village.  The fishers cast the net close to the shore with weights and floats and haul it manually with help from 20 or more colleagues.