Closing the Enforcement Gap: Community-led Groundtruthing of Environmental Violations in Mormugao, Goa
The Mormugao Port is located at Vasco bay in the Mormugao taluka of Goa at the point where the Zuari river meets the Arabian Sea. This region is home to thousands of fisherfolk from the Karvi community who live along the beaches of Mormugao, Salcete and Tiswadi talukas. It is a natural harbour that provides safe haven for ships and fishing vessels during storms, like it did in 2017 when cyclone Okchi hit this coast. The lives and livelihood of these fisherfolk are intrinsically linked to the activities of Mormugao port as they have had to share their customary livelihood areas – the sea and the beaches – with the port. This has resulted in them competing for space for their daily activities like fish landing, boat parking, net mending, and even housing with the port and its infrastructure development on the landward side, and competing with larger shipping vessels for navigation space and access to certain parts of Vasco bay.
It was in this backdrop, that a community led groundtruthing study was initiated in April 2018 by Old Cross Fishing Canoe Owners Co-op Society Ltd, Baina Ramponkar, Fishing Canoe Owners Society, Destierro Fisherman Association – Vasco, Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott (GRE) and the Centre for Policy Research (CPR)-Namati Environmental Justice Program with support from concerned citizens of Vasco and the Federation of Rainbow Warriors.This groundtruthing study is also an attempt by the affected community members to understand the environmental impacts of these berths, link them to the regulatory requirements and then push for compliance of the same.