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Traditional knowledge of fisher people may be included in the process of identifying marine biodiversity hot spots October 14,2012   |  Source: Down to Earth

With many countries stepping up demand to include social and cultural criteria in identifying ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) during the ongoing CoP 11 biodiversity meet in Hyderabad, coastal communities and their traditional knowledge may finally become part of the process. So far, identification of such areas has been based only on scientific criteria.

Identification of EBSAs has been one of the important agendas of CoP 11 under the Convention on Biodiversity’s (CBD) programme of work on coastal and marine biodiversity. The process was initiated in 2008 to identify biodiversity hot spots in the high seas beyond national jurisdictions. Such areas are more vulnerable to threats like deep-sea mining and other commercial exploitations because of very little monitoring. Various scientific criteria such as uniqueness of habitat and importance and vulnerability of species were evolved to identify such areas.

However, in the last few years, the focus of the countries has shifted from identifying EBSAs in the high seas to coastal areas. This has worried fishing communities who fear their traditional rights might get affected in such areas if governments impose the conservation model of marine protected areas in EBSAs, which exclude

Theme(s): Communities and Organisations.

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