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V2V PHOTO OF THE WEEK 2024

June

V2V Photo of the Week: June 12, 2024

 
 
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This photo was captured at Malindi, Zanzibar Island's largest and busiest landing site. The photo shows small-scale fishers coming from fishing activities and landing their catch. More than a hundred boats land the catches daily, and a number of fishing boats are docked in the area. The largest fishing market in the area is equipped with appliances such as ice-making machines, cold rooms and freezers, which guarantee the quality of the fish. Fishes are auctioned inside the fishing market close to the area, where vendors (men and women) gather during the auction to buy fish for sale, and locals are always part of the crowd to buy fish for household consumptions.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Batuli M. Yahya, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: June 5, 2024

 
 
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The 65-day fishing ban in the Bay of Bengal started in Bangladesh on 20th March 2024. The primary purpose of such bans is to ensure the sustainability of fish populations, protect marine biodiversity, and support the long-term health of the fishing industry. Since 2019, the Bangladeshi government has enforced this annual prohibition on sea fishing to bolster fishery resources within the country's marine territory. During this period in Bangladesh, all fishing activities, including catching, preserving, and selling marine fish, are temporarily prohibited in designated areas to ensure compliance with the ban.

 

This photo was taken in Cox's Bazar Sadar, Kutubdia, Nazirar Tek, Bangladesh, by Kashem Mia, a fisher. In the photo, numerous fishers are gathered on their boats, selling their final catch before the 65-day fishing ban begins in Bangladesh. These fishers are preparing to abide by the seasonal restriction, knowing they won't sell more fish during this period. In fact, for the entirety of these 65 days, they won't be taking their boats back to the sea or engaging in any fishing activities. They are all engrossed and eager to sell every last fish they've caught, realizing that their survival for the next 65 days hinges entirely on the success of today's sales. The more fish they manage to sell now, the less they'll have to fret about the upcoming two months.

 

Photo credit: Kashem Mia, 2024

Contributor: Sanzida Alam, 2024

May

V2V Photo of the Week: May 29, 2024

 
 
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Only a few leaves remain on the tree, yet it sustains itself bravely. Such is the life of small-scale fishers. Despite having very little hope, they continue to survive because they believe they are an essential part of Mother Nature. This belief energizes them, compelling them to endure like nature, which remains stable and fresh despite facing numerous hazards and difficulties. Their direct and deep connection with nature and natural resources always provides SS fishers with boundless vitality.  

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Dibash Deb, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: May 22, 2024

 
 
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A prolonged fishing ban for seven months, access restriction and lack of social protection coverage have made the lives of fishers miserable in Sundarbans. People in one village claimed that there was a continuous attempt to restrict their access to rivers and forests. They were displaced and dispossessed of their resources in the name of conservation and protection of resources, which they have been nurturing over hundreds of years.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Sisir Kanta Pradhan, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: May 15, 2024

 
 
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With the scorching summer heat dominating Bangladesh and most parts of the world, rain is one earthly element and a rejuvenating force, breathing life into all living things, from humans to trees to the tiniest creatures. It's a gift that replenishes parched landscapes, turning trees a deeper shade of green and filling ponds, lakes, and rivers with precious fresh water. If you find yourself wandering through the countryside of Bangladesh during the monsoon season, you will most likely have a little adventure on the unpaved roads and witness how mud and water accumulate on them. Though this causes problems for many people, rain brings happiness to a little group of animals - the swans.

 

This photograph portrays the ethereal beauty of my grandmother's village in Chatmohor, Pabna, Bangladesh, and the sheer delight of a flock of swans following a downpour. The pond adjacent to my grandmother's humble abode had long been desolate. However, after a heavy downpour for three days, the pond brimmed with newfound vitality and jubilance. As we (my cousins and I) stepped outside to revel in the blessings of the rain, I realized we weren't the sole beneficiaries of the long-awaited downpour. The flock of swans, which had long awaited this revival, gracefully glided into the replenished pond, one by one, their elegant forms seamlessly melding with the shimmering waters. With each dip, they came out victorious, clutching tiny fish and snails in their beaks while their quacking filled the air.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Sanzida Alam, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: May 8, 2024

 
 
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As the fiery orb of the sun begins its slow descent beyond the horizon, casting hues of orange and pink across the sky, a sense of anticipation fills the air around Chalan Beel in Sirajganj, Bangladesh. Most people are heading home from their day's work, workers return from their fields, children are called in from their outdoor play, and even the flock of birds is making its way back to their nests nestled among the lush foliage that lines the banks of Chalan Beel. However, among this common retreat, there exists a group of individuals whose work has just begun!

 

This photo captures the essence of Chalan Beel, the largest and most vital watershed in North Central Bangladesh. Spanning across Natore, Sirajganj, and Pabna districts, this expansive wetland covers approximately 375 km2 during the monsoon season. Fed by nearly forty-seven rivers and numerous waterways, it sustains the livelihoods of around 5 million people, primarily through fishing and agriculture.

 

Growing up in Sirajganj, I witnessed a tradition that has been going around for centuries: the nocturnal journeys of our local fishermen. As daylight fades, these fishermen set out onto the waters of Chalan Beel, as their rationale and expertise suggest that the night offers a prime opportunity for a bountiful catch. According to these seasoned fishermen, many fish species, including the Bengal loach, torrent catfish, clown knife fish, catla fish, boal fish (wallago fish), and crappies, are very active during the night. In darkness, with reduced visibility, these fish are usually less concerned about predators, particularly fishermen and their nets, and venture into shallower waters in search of food. Additionally, the cooler waters of the night plays a huge role in fish behavior. Many species are more comfortable and active in cooler water and, thus, are found closer to the water's surface during night time hours. These increased fish activities present a golden opportunity for fishermen to catch fish. So, as the sky turns dark, the fishermen of Chalan Beel hop into their boats and head out onto the calm waters. They cast their nets and lines, hoping for a good catch, and as the night goes by, they reel in one fish after another. When the first light of dawn appears on the horizon, the fishermen return to shore, their boats filled with the fish they have caught. It's a lot of hard work, but for them, it's worth it, and they know they will be back out on the water tomorrow night, ready to do it all over again.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Sanzida Alam, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: May 1, 2024

 
 
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These photos were taken along the Brazilian Amazon coast, specifically in the state of Pará and show the vitality of the mangrove forests in the region. It encompasses the largest and most conserved continuous mangroves on the planet, which exceed 800,000 hectares between the Pará and Maranhão states. In March 2024, two new reserves were created in the region, so almost all the mangroves in Pará are now protected within 14 sustainable marine extractive reserves. The concept of Extractive Reserves was born out of the land struggles of rubber tappers in the 1990s and represented a pioneering model of sustainable use of protected areas in Brazil. This co-management model aims to protect traditional coastal people and marine resources on which their livelihoods depend.

 

Thousands of artisanal fishers rely on mangrove ecosystems for livelihoods in this region, with crab harvesting being one of the main economic activities. However, the challenges of working in these environments are manifold. Most fishers spend between one and two weeks continuously camped in the mangroves, enduring adverse environmental conditions and long hours of physical labor. Moreover, many fishers rely entirely on middlemen, who often provide cash advances or food supplies for their families. In return, fishers are typically obligated to sell their entire produce to the middlemen and may still end up owing money for future years.

 

Despite many obstacles and vulnerabilities, new public policies and numerous projects and partnerships have facilitated access to basic citizenship rights, capacity building and greater community participation while simultaneously strengthening the local production chain. In the left image, two fishers are seen engaged in monitoring the state of the mangrove crab stock in collaboration with an NGO in São João da Ponta Extractive Reserve. The project's strategy focused on direct sales to restaurants and the promotion of product traceability. This approach aims to raise consumers' awareness about the origins of their seafood and the importance of artisanal fishing practices.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Deborah Prado, 2017

April

V2V Photo of the Week: April 24, 2024

 
 
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Women play significant roles in the small-scale fish value chain as fish traders and processors, amongst other important roles. They are a formidable force to reckon with in reducing post-harvest losses. The remote location of most landing sites in Nigeria creates a challenge with access to the market of freshly caught fish and, therefore, the necessity to preserve some of the catches that cannot be sold immediately either at the landing sites or by transporting the fish to the markets. The shortage in electricity supply to these sites and the limited storage capacity make it imperative to have alternative means of preserving the catches from spoilage. Over the years, women have employed the traditional wood fish smoking system to preserve fish. The fish are cleaned (de-scaled, gilled, washed), salted, and folded traditionally before being arranged on trays, as seen in the photograph. The heat helps reduce the moisture content of the fish, thereby reducing the medium for rapid deterioration of the fish, and the salt acts as the preservative agent. The smoke from the wood also adds an aroma to the finished products.  

 

The photographs were taken while the woman was interviewed using the I-ADApT template at one of my project sites - Ago Egun Isale Akoka, Lagos. Nigeria. It shows a typical fish processor's smoking shed. In Figure (a), the woman was busy preparing the freshly caught fish by small-scale fishers for smoking. The fish processing is done by arranging the fish on trays after washing, cleaning, and folding them in a traditional way, ready for smoking. In Figure (b), the woman shows off some previously smoked fish products.

 

Photo credit and contributor: Foluke O. Areola, 2024.

V2V Photo of the Week: April 17, 2024

 
 
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Gathered at the SSF Regional Symposium for Asia-Pacific "Bright Spots ~ Hope Spots" in Shizuoka, Japan, is a diverse group of individuals passionate about supporting small-scale fisheries (SSF) in their journey towards sustainability. The symposium, hosted by TBTI Japan in collaboration with Tokai University, V2V Global Partnership as a partner, and other partners, is a pivotal moment for reflection and action. As we engage in discussions and share experiences, we celebrated the "bright spots" of success in SSF, acknowledging the resilience and innovation of thriving fisheries across the Asia-Pacific region. However, the symposium also highlights the challenges facing many small-scale fisheries, highlighting the urgent need for attention and support. These fisheries, termed "hope spots," represent opportunities for collaboration and intervention to ensure their viability and sustainability for future generations. In this vibrant gathering, research groups, students, policymakers and academicians unite to exchange knowledge, foster connections, and chart a path forward. Among them are members of the V2V, a transdisciplinary network dedicated to fostering resilience and prosperity among small-scale fishers worldwide. With a focus on promoting "bright spots" of success and identifying "hope spots" in need of attention, this symposium serves as a platform for sharing stories, exchanging experiences, and learning from each other's successes and challenges. The V2V research groups, comprised of scholars and practitioners from diverse backgrounds, bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the table. 

 

V2V delegates delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the concept of "blue injustices" within the context of small-scale fisheries (SSF). Drawing on research and real-world experiences, the V2V delegates explored the multifaceted nature of blue injustices, encompassing social, economic, and environmental dimensions. We discussed issues such as unequal access to resources, marginalization of SSF stakeholders, labour exploitation, and degradation of marine ecosystems. Through compelling narratives and data, the delegates demonstrated how these injustices disproportionately affect vulnerable and marginalized groups within SSF communities, including women, indigenous peoples, and coastal minorities. We emphasized the interconnectedness of these injustices and their profound impact on livelihoods, well-being, and human rights. The presentation underscored the importance of adopting a rights-based approach to addressing blue injustices rooted in equity, justice, and sustainability principles. The symposium delegates called for transformative change at both local and global levels, advocating for policies and interventions that empower SSF communities, promote social inclusion, and protect marine resources. With a shared vision of building resilient and thriving SSF communities, they are poised to impact the Asia-Pacific region and beyond positively.

 

Photo credit: Xu Wei, 2024

Contributor: Navya Vikraman Nair, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: April 10, 2024

 
 
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The image shows boats parked at the Marina Jetty, Tioman Island, Malaysia. These are considered small-capacity boats and are most commonly equipped with 15HP outboard engines. They are used to transport tourists from one village to another. During other times, they are the same boats used for fishing by part-time fishers on the island.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Revarunan Sammogam, 2024

March

V2V Photo of the Week: April 3, 2024

 
 
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In this photo, two women are pictured at Kachulu market close to Lake Chilwa (Zomba, Malawi). It shows one woman with her fish already laid out, ready to be sold, while another is about to begin laying hers out. This is how they display their fish (not only here but in various other places across the Country). The women in Kachulu usually start their day at 5 am. They begin by drawing water from a nearby well, cleaning their homes, and proceeding to nearby beaches to buy fresh fish. Once they return home, they clean the fish and then smoke or sundry it. By 9 am, they will have reached the market to set up and sell their fish. Fortunately, most can sell all their fish and return home on time to prepare lunch. Around 2 pm, some women return to the beaches to buy more fish, which they clean, sundry, smoke, or store in advance and sell the fish the following day. By 4 pm, most women are free to spend time with their families and catch up with friends until it's time for them to prepare their last meal of the day. This is the average day for many women in the SSFs along this part of Lake Chilwa. During recessions (or complete drying out of the lake) and closed seasons, their daily routines are drastically altered as they spend most of their time looking for alternative sources of income.

 

Photo credit and contributor: Vannessa Warren, 2024.

V2V Photo of the Week: March 27, 2024

 
 
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This photo was taken in West Roban village, Batang Regency, Central Java, Indonesia, which is one of the largest small-scale fisheries communities in in the region. The photo shows the activities of small-scale fisher's wives in West Roban Village, where every day at 2 p.m., the fisher's wives sell the fishery products at the fish auction. The participation of wives in selling their husband's catches has become a tradition inherent in the coastal community of West Roban Village. Usually, after carrying out auction activities, fisher's wives work as shellfish peelers and fish cleaners, where their income helps their family's economy.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Arisanti Ayu Wardhani, 2024. 

V2V Photo of the Week: March 20, 2024

 
 
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When the discussion is about the prevailing concerns surrounding the coastal areas of the Sundarbans Delta in Bangladesh and India, the use of plastic or plastic waste would hardly cross one's mind. Or at least, that's what my experience tells me. When the question of survivability ponders in mind each day in the face of eroded embankments, the adversity of climate change, and the need for a resilient livelihood, plastic should be of least concern. This way of thinking was the preconceived notion I had taken with me on the trip to Sundarbans Winter Field School in the island village of Kumirmari, in the Sundarbans mangrove delta of India. And it appeared to me at first that my notion did not betray me. During this year's Winter Field School, we, the participants, got the opportunity to experience classroom learning from the experts and, at the same time, to apply classroom learning in the field while actively engaging with the community. We were taught methods such as KII, household surveys, FDGs, etc., to collect data from the field, and we did so. Many concerns have been raised through the engagement with the people of Kumirmari, and at its center is their longing for survivability. Ten years after the devastating Cyclone Aila came the Amphan, which raised the concerns of the island's people. Now, they are gripped by the constant fear of losing the embankment. The frequent cyclones occurring near the delta have given rise to salinity. The salinity has dramatically affected their crop and fish cultivation and the scarcity of safe drinking water. In such a grave scenario, the thought of plastic waste did not come to my mind until I came across this cage near a tea stall on the island village of Kumirmari on the third day of the winter field school that sends a strong message against plastic pollution. It is intriguing to see how the people who constantly struggle against nature are the very people who want to safeguard it. Who, despite their everyday difficulty, are willing to take little steps to protect the environment. This minimal yet impactful initiative inspires and reminds us that protecting our environment does not take much effort. All we need is a little willpower.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Md. Razin Saleh Alam, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: March 13, 2024

 
 
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This photo demonstrates CPR in fish done by V2V researcher, Shreya Bhattacharya. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR in fish, is not the same as for humans. As fish breathe through their gill, dissolved oxygen in water moves into the fish’s blood. When fish look breathless, they do not always need to do actual mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for fish. But the first thing you need to do is to gently place the fish back into fresh water. Very gently wipe out any dirt or debris from the fish, especially around the gill area. The breathing channel from the mouth to the gills has to open for breathing purposes and will allow water to flow over them. A gentle chest compression forces the heart to beat until it can hopefully pick it up on its own. The next step is to increase the amount of oxygen in the water using an air pump or hand plashing. Hold the fish closer to the oxygenated water so that its gills are submerged in it.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Shreya Bhattacharya, 2024. 

V2V Photo of the Week: March 06, 2024

 
 
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This photograph was taken from Adivasi Para, Kumirmari Island, Indian Sundarbans, during my field visit in February 2024. This Raimangal riverside part of the island is vulnerable to the risk of gradual land erosion, and the situation becomes more vulnerable when cyclonic surges hit the area. Here, the River Raimangal shares the boundary with the Marichjhapi Island from the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve (STR), which is enjoying the fortress type of conservation. Here, most of the inhabitants belong to the indigenous groups. Forest fishing is found to be their principal occupation as they are bereft of other livelihood resources and opportunities. They sail these small boats inside the forested creeks, marking a specific time (locally called gon) guided by the lunar calendar as per their traditional cultural belief systems. These non-mechanized boats and indigenous tools like handmade nets (locally called jaal) and ropes (locally called dori) are carried by them to conduct forest fishing. These are the meagre yet most dependable possessions of these riparian indigenous communities, aside from having ravaged households devastated by the recent cyclones Bulbul (2019), Amphan (2020), and Yaas (2021). During cyclonic floods, many indigenous people have to take refuge on these boats, just fitting a tarpaulin over their heads to save their lives because both cyclone shelters are located far away from the Adivasi Para. Due to the non-availability and, most importantly, the non-affordability of Boat License Certificates, small-scale forest fishers are more often compelled to trespass in the reserve forest. If caught, they are criminalized, and the forest authorities confiscate their boats. In the everyday life of small-scale forest fishers, these boats are entangled in multiple aspects, ranging from being a dependable livelihood asset to thriving to cope with difficulties. These small floating objects, in turn, unravel the floating nature of lived realities of the small-scale fishing community in the Indian Sundarbans by underlining the nuances of dispossession, discrimination, marginalization, justice, rights issues, and resilience of the small-scale fishing communities in the Indian Sundarbans.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Souradip Pathak, 2024

February

V2V Photo of the Week: February 28, 2024

 
 
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This photo was taken at the recent Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (IFAF) in Kolkata, India and includes several V2V Global Partnership members, graduate students and early career researchers who attended the event. Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum is an illustrious event in the Indian fisheries sector to realize and relook into recent developments and redefine the goals that would pave the way for realistic achievements In the country. ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, the Inland Fisheries Society of India and the Asian Fisheries Society Indian Branch jointly hosted the 13th Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (IFAF) during February 23-25, 2024, at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre (BBCC), New Town, Kolkata with a theme "Fostering Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture for attaining Sustainable Development Goals.

Fisheries and aquaculture are an important source of food, nutrition, income, and livelihood to millions of people. These sectors provide livelihood to over 25 million fishers and fish farmers at the primary level, doubling the number along the value chain. Fish is an affordable and excellent source of quality animal protein, a good avenue to reduce hunger and malnutrition in the country. Indian fisheries sector has evolved gradually over the years and became an important tool for socio-economic upliftment. India is the second largest fish producing country and accounts for about 16% of total inland and 5% of total global marine fish production respectively. In 2021-22, India's total fish production stood at 16.2 million tons, which included 12.11 million tons and 4.1 million tons from inland and marine sectors, respectively. Fisheries sector plays a crucial role in the national economy and is one of the key contributors to the country's foreign exchange earnings. However, the sector is facing challenges due to climate change, pollution, water abstraction, loss of biodiversity, over-fishing, unmanaged aquaculture expansion, etc. Conservation and sustainable use of these resources is a prime challenge in the context of global climate change. Against this backdrop, IFAF discussed and provided directions to the Indian fisheries and aquaculture for attaining Sustainable Development Goals.

V2V Global Partnership organised a panel entitled ‘Exploring the notion of Transitioning from Vulnerability To Viability in the context of Indian Small-Scale Fisheries and Aquaculture’. The panel focused on the key tenets of vulnerability to viability transitions in the context of Indian small-scale fisheries. A total of 12 paper presentations were made which received positive review and thematic importance at the forum. The recommendations of the IFAF to the Government of India  outlined the importance of  on V2V transition approach in achieving Sustainability in small scale fisheries, which read “The Vulnerability to Viability Transitions Approach for ensuring sustainable small-scale fisheries are important for addressing SDGs in fisheries and aquaculture sector of India”.

 

Photo credit: Navya Nair and Prateep Nayak, 2024

Contributor: Prateep Nayak and Sisir Pradhan, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: February 21, 2024

 
 
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Kumirmari is a remote island village nestled within the Indian Sundarbans. The photograph was captured during a crisp morning transect walk in February 2024, coinciding with the Winter School held in Kumirmari, India. This Winter School was a collaborative effort involving the University of Waterloo, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. It provided a platform for scholars and researchers to delve into the complex issues surrounding the social-ecological resilience of the Sundarbans region, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities faced by its inhabitants. The image portrays a woman gracefully washing clothes in one of the multipurpose ponds that dot the landscape of Kumirmari. Surrounding her, vibrant crops thrive under the gentle sunlight, their lush foliage a testament to the fertile soil nourished by the pond's waters. In the background, a portion of the woman's brick and cement house stands as a symbol of stability amidst the ever-changing landscape of the Sundarbans. Vulnerability is a constant companion in the Sundarbans as the region grapples with the dual threats of cyclones and ecological degradation. Yet, amidst the chaos and uncertainty, the people of Kumirmari have forged a path towards viability. Through their resilience and resourcefulness, they have transformed the challenges of their environment into opportunities for growth and sustainability. Each pond in Kumirmari serves as a lifeline for the community, providing water for daily needs, such as supporting agriculture, vegetable cultivation and fisheries. However, these ponds are not just sources of sustenance but also symbols of resilience. In a region prone to cyclones and flooding, the ponds offer a buffer against the vagaries of nature, ensuring that life can continue even in the aftermath of disaster. As the woman in the photograph goes about her daily routine, she embodies the spirit of adaptation that defines the people of Kumirmari. Through their collective efforts, they have transformed vulnerability into viability, forging a path towards a more sustainable future in the face of adversity.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Navya Vikraman Nair, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: February 14, 2024

 
 
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This photo was taken en route to a household interview in Karmakar Para of the island village of Kumirmari, in the Gosaba block of Sundarbans, West Bengal, India. Cyclone Aila was a turning point in local history. The ferocity of the catastrophe put this almost-forgotten village on the map of West Bengal. A spate of reconstruction and development efforts were made in the years 2010-2011 by government and non-government agencies alike. The marble plaque is testimony to one such transformation in the aftermath of cyclone Aila. Bagmari Mother and Child Development Mission, Action and Echo are some of the many non-profit organisations that helped build, rebuild and elevate handpumps as part of the West Bengal Cyclone Aila Reconstruction Programme. The next few years saw positive developments in the form of building storm shelters, reinforcing embankments and community outreach programmes. But local accounts point to patchy implementation and loss of steam over the years. The impression of cyclone Aila may have faded from the mainland, but is still very fresh in the collective memory of the village. Local women informed that this particular handpump, the ruins of which are pictured in the photo, used to be a very conveniently situated source of fresh water for them until it got destroyed in a storm surge of Cyclone Amphan in 2020. Many other handpumps have gone dry or turned unsafe for use due to the presence of heavy metals like arsenic. The red signs painted on unsafe handpumps have not deterred locals from using the unsafe water, faced with the sad choice between no water at all versus the risk of chronic ailments in the longer run. Climate change is causing increasingly frequent and violent cyclones to originate in the Bay of Bengal, with the remote island villages taking most of the hit in the delta. Some households have installed submersible pumps, but the women of the households warned that falling groundwater levels are putting them at risk of water scarcity in the near future. A village with 3000+ household ponds is wrought by problems of salinification, eutrophication and chemical leaching. In the coming days, community-led sustainable water strategies will be vital to leading Kumirmari from vulnerability to viability.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Pratyasha Nath, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: February 7, 2024

 
 
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President Vivek Goel and Senior Director, Strategy and Implementation Fayaz Noormohamed of the University of Waterloo, honored the V2V Global Partnership team with a visit on February 1st, 2024. Organized by the V2V team, the event attracted students, faculty, and staff, with several members also participating online. Dr. Prateep Nayak, Dr. Derek Armitage and Dean Bruce Frayne warmly welcomed President Goel and the guests, providing an overview of the V2V Global Partnership. Dr. Nayak then provided a guided tour, taking President Goel and the attendees through the different stations of the exhibition across three boardrooms, detailing numerous research initiatives and activities of the V2V Global Partnership.

 

Highlights included the Working Paper Series and V2V Thematic Webinar Series, fostering discussions on vulnerability to viability themes within small-scale fisheries globally. The event also showcased activities like the Chilika Field School, V2V monthly webinars, and the V2V Commons. A standout feature was the "Photo of the Week" station, promoting awareness of research areas among V2V members. The photos displayed diverse aspects of small-scale fisheries worldwide, capturing various forms of vulnerabilities and sources for viability. President Goel expressed surprise at the contrasting nature of small-scale fishers in Japan versus countries like India and Ghana. Dr Nayak explained that vulnerability manifests differently across nations.

 

In his closing remarks, President Goel commended the V2V Global Partnership projects's interdisciplinary approach and its ability to connect students, scientists, and community members. The exhibition concluded with the V2V team felicitating President Goel with a presentation of V2V project artifacts created during the 2023 Project Meeting in Puri, India. President Vivek Goel's advice on how research and partnership activities in Africa, Asia and globally can make long-enduring impacts beyond the funding period will continue to inspire us as we embark on the second phase of the project.

Photo credit: Samuel Abalansa, 2024 

Contributor: Farosat Alamshoeva and Maha Abdelbaset, 2024

January

V2V Photo of the Week: January 31, 2024

 
 
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Amidst the tranquil and remote landscape of Kumirmari village in the Sundarbans, India, a unique form of political advocacy unfolds through art. This photograph captures a captivating painting seeking votes for the upcoming Panchayat election, prominently featuring a women candidature. In Bangla, the painting reads, "অশন্ন পঞ্চায়েত নির্বাচনে প্রার্থী স্বপ্না মন্ডলকে এই চিহ্নে ভোট দিন," which translates to "Vote for candidate Shopna Mondol with this symbol in the upcoming Panchayat election." What makes this political expression genuinely exceptional is the context. Kumirmari, a secluded village, breaks away from conventional electioneering methods, opting for an artistic approach. The artwork, placed with permission in front of a villager's house, symbolizes the endorsement of Shopna Mondol's candidacy. The choice of a female leader in this remote setting is not just a political statement but a testament to the community's belief in gender equality and the strength of women in leadership roles. In a candid conversation with the homeowners, they said, "Yes, we wanted it to be there because we know she will be a good leader for us." In an era where the image of women in leadership roles is still evolving, Kumirmari takes a bold step by supporting a woman for the pivotal role of panchayat leadership. This photograph captures not just a political campaign but a powerful narrative of social progress and the changing dynamics in the heart of the Sundarbans.

Photo credit and Contributor: Shahriyer Hossain Shetu, 2024

V2V Photo of the Week: January 24, 2024

 
 
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This group photo was taken in the Island village of Kumirmari - Gosaba block in the Sundarbans mangrove delta of India, where the inaugural 'Sundarbans Winter Field School' is being organised during 19 - 26 January 2024. The brand-new Winter Field School is a joint initiative of the V2V Global Partnership, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada, SOR4D ENGAGE Project, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. The weeklong field school has brought together 20 graduate students and early-career researchers / professionals from academia, government, NGO, and communities to use it as a creative platform to deliberate collaboratively and learn about concepts, approaches and methods helpful to achieve equitable transition and transformations from vulnerability to viability within the transboundary and transdisciplinary context of the Sundarbans mangrove social-ecological system. Starting in 2024, the Sundarbans Winter Field School takes place annually, rotating between India and Bangladesh as its venue in alternate years.

 

Geographically positioned in the remotest corner of the Indian/Bengal territorial boundaries and near the Bay of Bengal, located adjacent to the core reserve forest area and surrounded by rivers and creeks, making her segregated from the mainland, the island village of Kumirmari in the Indian Sundarbans is affected by ‘multiple disruptive risks’ in terms of socio-ecological vulnerabilities. Yet, life goes on! The inhabitants thrive through the application and improvisation of situated and contingent adaptive practices that need to be documented and supported – as they constitute narratives of social resilience and community viability from the ground. In this context, Kumirmari is evolving as a ‘living lab’ showcasing the potential of academia-practitioner-community collaborations and as an eco-educational hub, spawning with possibilities awaiting trans-local endeavors and transdisciplinary actions. Aptly enough, this year's topic for the field school is focused on the social-ecological resilience for vulnerability to viability in the Sundarbans’  ‘riskscape’.

 

Thematically, the Winter Field School is based on the broad theme of 'Transboundary, Transdisciplinarity, Transformation through Transitions' where participants are engaged in experimenting and learning how transformations in the risk-space of the Sundarbans social-ecological system necessitates transdisciplinarity as a methodological approach and it must proceed through transitions as an enabling but discursive process to be realised. Multiple field trips along with creative discussions through reflection sessions at the Field School have lead to the novel construct of the '4T approach' (the integrated and interactive connections between Transboundary, Transdisciplinarity, Transformation and Transitions) for creating viable, resilient and sustainable transboundary social-ecological systems such as the Sundarbans the span across India and Bangladesh.

Photo credit: Ruyel Miah, 2024

Contributors: Prateep Kumar Nayak, Jenia Mukherjee, Samiya Selim and Anuradha Choudry 

V2V Photo of the Week: January 17, 2024

 
 
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I captured this picture on my journey to interview fishers on the central side of Chilika; this image unveils the solitary yet determined routine of a fisher returning after his early morning practice. Gahimunda Ghat, set against the backdrop of the Chilika Lagoon, is a scene of resilience and commitment to the craft of small-scale fishing. In the calmness of dawn, a few fishers, following the tradition of individual early morning ventures, set out alone with their time-honored nets. The image encapsulates the intimate connection between fishers and their environment, highlighting the solitude and quiet reflection that precedes their daily toil. This solitary practice speaks to the region's rich cultural heritage of small-scale fisheries and reflects fishers' responsibility in contributing to the collective livelihood. However, as seen in the stillness of the waters and the absence of boats, the impact of the looming cyclone warning is palpable. The past three days have seen these fishers refraining from venturing out into the waters due to the threat of Cyclone Michaung. This vulnerability, imposed by external forces like weather conditions, underscores the fragility of their livelihoods. Small-scale fisheries, deeply entwined with nature, are particularly susceptible to the unpredictability of climatic events, exposing the fishers to periods of inactivity and economic strain. Yet, within this vulnerability lies the essence of viability. The resilience of these fishers is not only in their individual efforts but also in their collective decision to halt activities in the face of potential danger. This calculated approach speaks to the wisdom accrued through generations of navigating the challenges of their trade. In its simplicity, the image is a visual narrative of the delicate balance between the vulnerability and viability of small-scale fisheries in the backdrop of natural uncertainties.

 

Photo credit and Contributor: Navya Vikraman Nair, 2023 

V2V Photo of the Week: January 10, 2024

 
 
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This image shows the double cultural meaning given to decorative art by fishers. The first thing that catches our attention when we immerse ourselves in fishing communities is the diversity of motifs that decorate traditional pirogues. Each fishing community has its own artists who specialize in this task, but each fisher have their own designs and colors. Decorative art is not just for the eye's sake; it is a marker of identity for the owner of the pirogue who requests it. Fishing communities in Senegal are at least 90% Muslim, with nuances in diversities. But it's easy for an informed observer familiar with their tradition to tell from the decoration alone to which religious brotherhood the owner belongs. Moreover, the motifs are used as a marker of the lineage to which one belongs. Indeed, some families continue to distinguish themselves from the fishing population and have done so for generations through their decorative art.

Photo credit and contributor: Aliou Sal, 2023

V2V Photo of the Week: January 3, 2024

 
 
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This captivating image, taken while on my way to conducting surveys on the southern side of Chilika, offers a glimpse into the intricate dynamics of small-scale fisheries in Gokharkuda. In this picturesque scene, five skilled fishermen meticulously cast a net into the waters at the river mouth. This traditional method reflects the communal essence of their fishing practices, wherein groups of 5 fishers work collaboratively in a single boat. What sets this community apart is their innovative cash-sharing system, a strategy deeply rooted in both vulnerability and viability considerations. Following each fishing expedition, the profits derived from the catch undergo a fair and transparent distribution. A share is allocated to the boat, another to the net, and a substantial five shares are designated to the hardworking crew. This equitable distribution mechanism is a financial arrangement and a lifeline addressing the vulnerabilities inherent in small-scale fisheries. After accounting for essential costs like fuel, the practice ensures that the crew receives a fair and consistent share of the profits, enhancing their economic stability. Simultaneously, this system contributes to the viability of their fishing practices. By allocating a share to the boat and net, the community collectively invests in maintaining and improving their essential fishing assets. Furthermore, the prioritization of trading or sales rights to the boat owner's wives adds a layer of social sustainability, acknowledging women's role in the community's economic processes. While underlining the vulnerability associated with external factors like cyclone warnings that disrupt fishing activities, it also showcases the adaptive resilience of the community in navigating such challenges. During cyclones, these fishermen, temporarily grounded for the past three days, reveal the delicate balance between vulnerability and viability in small-scale fisheries. The collaborative effort of these fishermen, coupled with their astute financial system, provides safeguards against economic uncertainties and fosters a resilient and sustainable fishing economy for the coastal community. The image is a testament to their shared strength, both as a community and as individuals weathering the uncertainties of their trade.
 

Photo credit and Contributor: Navya Vikraman Nair, 2023

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