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Tsunami + 1 year: Reviving exhausted fisheries should trump replacing boats, gear, experts say

One year after a tsunami devastated South Asian communities, global fisheries experts say habitat restoration, retraining and education programs are much needed to revive severely exhausted fisheries and steer survivors into more sustainable livelihoods than fishing.

According to new analyses by the Malaysia-based WorldFish Centre (see ? Rebuilding Boats May Not Equal Rebuilding Livelihoods and ? Rehabilitating Livelihoods in Tsunami-Affected Coastal Communities in Asia, at http://www.worldfishcenter.org/tsunami/default.asp), those hardest hit by the tsunami include rural coastal communities traditionally dependant on fish for food security and livelihoods, with many small-scale fishers using low-technology gear and small powered and un-powered vessels.

Since the tsunami, significant infrastructure and equipment replacement efforts have been launched, upgrading catch capacity. The WorldFish Centre warns, however, that the area's fisheries are "severely depleted" ?and were even before the tsunami due to overcapacity and over-fishing.

Required today is a major investment from the enormous donations of the world community in projects to restore fisheries productivity. As well, WorldFish says survivors need retraining and education programs to find alternative livelihoods. Governments also need to ensure that fishery catches reflect the abundance of available fish.

In addition to Indonesia, the country closest to the underwater earthquake epicenter, the tsunami disrupted lives in many countries, including Thailand, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Officials estimate the total repair cost throughout the affected area at $5.8 billion, while a total of $4.4 billion has been committed to specific projects. There has been a total pledge of at least $7.5 billion from the following sources: multilateral donors $2 billion; bilateral donors $1.6 billion; NGOs $1.8 billio
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Source:WorldFish Center


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