Transformative Adaptations to Climate Change: Cases from the Jamuna River Fishing Communities of Bangladesh

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Md. Monirul Islam
Farah Islam
Mosammat Salma Akter
Goutam Kumar Kundu
Aparna Barman
Makidul Islam Khan

Abstract

Study on transformative adaptation to climate change is scarce despite its tremendous importance. This study assesses the transformative adaptation of fishery-based livelihoods of the Jamuna River in Bangladesh (a trans-boundary river called the Brahmaputra in India). Using interviews, focus group discussions and matrices data from two Jamuna River dependent fishing communities (Kalitola Ghat and Debdanga), this study found 80–91 % fishers in both communities have been exposed to floods, storms and riverbank erosion  affecting their livelihood capitals, activities, strategies and outcomes. This study identifies five transformative adaptations: migration, building concrete house, livelihood diversification, changes in fishing gear and techniques and tree plantation. In Kalitola Ghat, 57.3 % and in Debdanga, 78 % of fishers have migrated to safer places to minimise the adverse impacts of climatic hazards. To withstand the impacts of storms and floods, in Kalitola Ghat, 5 % and in Debdanga, 6 % of fishers have built concrete houses. More fishers of Kalitola Ghat (56 %) have diversified their livelihoods than Debdanga counterparts (5 %). Around 78 % and 100 % of fishers in Kalitola Ghat and Debdanga have changed their traditional fishing gear and techniques to overcome the impacts of climatic hazards. Traditionally, the fishing communities have coped with or adapted to the impacts of climate change which are not sufficient to maintain their sustainable livelihoods. The findings of this study allow identification of the measures that could help address the impacts of current and future climate change for the fishing communities.

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Islam, M. M., Islam, F., Akter, M. S., Kundu, G. K., Barman, A. ., & Khan, M. I. (2020). Transformative Adaptations to Climate Change: Cases from the Jamuna River Fishing Communities of Bangladesh. Journal of Fisheries and Environment, 44(3), 1–18. Retrieved from https://li01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/JFE/article/view/213285
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