An assessment of Wellbeing Priorities of Small-scale Migratory Fishing Communities in the West Coast, Sri Lanka
Keywords:development frustrations, goal achievements, migratory fishers, wellbeing priorities
Identification of wellbeing priorities is a pre-requisite for successful development programs. Wellbeing assessment has become ever-challenging yet crucial in development studies, especially in achieving macroeconomic goals. This paper presents a descriptive assessment method to identify unmet wellbeing priorities, which may provide valuable and meaningful insights on development needs and frustrations. Assessment has been conducted assuming the perceiving wellbeing as a gap between an individual’s necessities (aspiration) and level of satisfaction. There, development frustrations and goal achievements have been explored with respect to the small-scale migratory fishers in the west coast, Sri Lanka. A sample of 142 fishers (25% of the migrant fishing population in the west coast) was drawn randomly from the lists of fisheries associations in Negombo and Chilaw, who are migrating to Mannar, in the North. The necessities and satisfactions were assessed based on a 3-point and 4-point Likert scale and the mean scores were calculated and ranked. Differences between the mean score rank of the wellbeing necessities and mean score rank of satisfaction were calculated. The negative difference indicates development frustrations, and the positives are goal achievements. Indian trawling issue, illegal fishing, financial uncertainty, cost of fishing, fish pricing mechanism, patience, conflicts, and physical health are the unmet wellbeing priorities with negative ranks. Migration has enabled easy access to sea, smooth consumption, diversified livelihood opportunities, good family relationships, and a few others with a positive difference – the goal achievements. Implementation of rules and regulations encouraging sustainable fishing techniques, regulations against poaching, adequate market linkages and effective pricing mechanism to control unhealthy price fluctuations, an interactive governance system including locals and migrant fishers, and frequent health clinics are recommended.
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