Alumnus, Oceans and Coasts
Having spent most of my childhood in the coastal state of Goa, I have always had a certain fascination for the sea, and the marine environment in general.
To further my interests, I proceeded to complete a Bachelor’s in Zoology from St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai, followed by a master’s through the ISATEC (International Studies in Tropical Aquatic Ecology) program, conducted by the University Of Bremen, and the Centre of Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen, Germany.
My previous work experience extends to a study based on the Movement Ecology of the harvested mangrove crab Ucides cordatus cordatus in the Caeté estuary, North Brazil and a project based on the analysis of Cetacean populations along the coast of Goa, India.
My doctoral thesis explores the relationship between fishers and the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) at Chilika lagoon, Orissa, India. On the one hand this work explores the unique cooperative fishing that mutually benefits fishers and the dolphins. On the other, my thesis explores the cultural and economic underpinnings of the growing dolphin-centric ecotourism that is increasingly being seen as an alternative to fishing in these marginal communities.
- Journal Article2014Positive interactions between Irrawaddy dolphins and artisanal fishers in the Chilika Lagoon of eastern India are driven by ecology, socio-economics and cultureAmbio
In human-dominated landscapes, interactions and perceptions towards wildlife are influenced by multi- dimensional drivers. Understanding these drivers could prove useful for wildlife conservation. We surveyed the attitudes and perceptions of fishers towards threatened Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) at Chilika Lagoon India. To validate the drivers of fisher perceptions, we : (1) observed dolphin foraging behavior at stake nets, and (2) compared catch per unit effort (CPUE) and catch income of fishers from stake nets in the presence and absence of foraging dolphins. We found that fishers were mostly positive towards dolphins, believing that dolphins augmented their fish catch and using culture to express their perceptions. Foraging dolphins were observed spending half their time at stake nets and were associated with significantly higher catch income and CPUE of mullet (Liza sp.), a locally preferred food fish species. Wildlife conservation efforts should use the multidimensional drivers of human–wildlife interactions to involve local stakeholders in management.