Source: CMFRI 2005, 2010, 2016; Government of Maharashtra 2017; Infographic by M. Bofulin on Vise
Palghar district is located north of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It has a coastline of around 112 km, and the current estimated fisher population (traditional or artisanal fisher families) is around 100,000. There has been a decline in artisanal fishing in terms of the actual fish catch
The number of fishing villages and landing centres has also declined in this district. However, there has been an increase in craft and gear, reflecting perhaps an increase in fisher activities by outsiders (especially trawlers) who may also be selling their fish outside of the district. The number of full-time fishers has remained almost the same from 12,250 in 1977 to 10,136 in 2010 and 12,792 in 2016. An interesting fact pertains to the gender difference in small-scale fisheries work – the number of women involved in fish processing and marketing is double that of male workers involved in actual fishing. The women involved in allied fishing activities are almost four times the number of males in similar work. The number of mechanised boats has gone from almost zero in the 1970s to around 3,000 now. However, trawlers are still small in number compared to in Mumbai city. Trawlers from other parts of India and the world may be operating in these waters, however. Surprisingly non-motorised boats have increased after a decline between 1977 and 2007, which may indicate impoverisation and the absence of alternatives among the artisanal fishers and non-fishers taking to fishing.
Gillnets and bagnets are the main gear used. Dragnets/driftnets were in use in the 1970s, but these have declined gradually. All the landing centres except those in Uttan and Vasai indicate a decline in fish catch. These two are the two zones where trawler fishing is increasing. Harpodon Neherus (Bombil or Bombay Duck), Shrimp, Pomfret, and Ancheviella (Indian anchovy) are the major catch for the artisanal fishers of Palghar. While shrimp catch has seen a significant increase, there has been a drastic decline in Bombil catch which is both a significant source of income as well as year-round food security. There has also been a big drop in landings of prawn, smaller in terms of catch, but important for cash earnings. Similar is the case with anchovies. These trends parallel urbanisation and industrialisation as the two main processes affecting coastal transformation in the Palghar district.