Integrated Coastal Zone Management

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  • What is Integrated Coastal Zone Management?

          The Integrated Coastal Management Programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests aims to safeguard and strengthen the ecological security of coastal areas and the livelihood security of coastal communities. The programme will give attention to both the landward and seaward sides of the coast.

  • Why was the programme necessary?

          Our coastal ecology is under a lot of pressure due to various reasons. There is pollution, discharge from ships, dredging, sand mining, excessive fishing etc. In addition there is the impending effect of climate change. All this has made our coastal ecology fragile, putting at risk all communities that survive on it.

          The Ministry Environment and Forests issued the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification on 19.02.1991 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to provide comprehensive measures for the protection of our coastal environment. However, over the last two decades the CRZ Notification, 1991 has been amended almost about 25 times. The new notification was issued after taking into consideration the requests made by various State Governments, Central Ministries and NGOs.

          The tsunami of December 26, 2004 was a wake up call. The coping capacity of our coastal communities needed to be strengthened to withstand the impact of such severe natural calamities.

  • What are the objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011?
  1. To ensure livelihood security to the fishing communities and other local communities living in the coastal areas.

  2. To conserve and protect coastal stretches, and

  3. To promote development in a sustainable manner based on scientific principles, taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas and sea level rise due to global warming.

  • How are coastal zones classified?

          In the 1991 Notification the CRZ area was classified as CRZ-I (ecological sensitive), CRZ-II (built up area), CRZ-III (rural area), and CRZ-IV (water area). In the 2011 Notification the above classification is retained. The only change is that the CRZ-IV, includes the water areas up to the territorial waters and the tidal-influenced water bodies.

          For the very first time, a separate draft Island Protection Zone Notification has been issued for protection of the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

  • What are the provisions to benefit the fisher-folk communities?
  1. Water area up to 12 nautical miles and the tidal influenced water bodies have been included under the Coastal Regulation Zone areas in order to control the discharge of untreated sewage, effluents and the disposal of solid wastes as such activities endanger the fish and their ecosystem, conserve and protect habitats in the marine area such as corals and coral reefs and associated biodiversity, marine sanctuaries and biosphere reserves, sea grass beds etc. which  act as spawning, nursery and rearing grounds for fish and fisheries, regulate activities in the marine and coastal waters such as dredging, sand mining, discharge of waste from ships, construction like breakwaters, etc. including reclamation which have serious impacts on fishing and allied activities, enable studies of the coastal and marine waters with regard to the impact of climate change and the occurrence of disasters which have serious impacts on the life and property  of the fisher folk communities.

  2. Development of manmade foreshore activities shall be regulated after identifying and demarcating the coast as falling in the high eroding category, the medium eroding category or the stable sites category.

  3. While preparing the Coastal Zone Management Plans the infrastructure essential for fishing communities are to be clearly demarcated and fishing zones in the water bodies and the fish breeding areas shall also be clearly marked.

  4. The Notification requires the Coastal Zone Management Authorities to invite comments on the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan from stakeholders. It also allows infrastructural facilities for the local fishing communities to be constructed in the CRZ-III area.

  5. Reconstruction, repair works of dwelling units of local communities including fisheries in accordance with local Town and Country Planning Regulations has been made permissible.

  • What is the Jurisdiction of the Coastal Regulation Zone?

          The CRZ Notification, 2011 includes not only the area covered under CRZ Notification, 1991, i.e. 500 mts from the high tide line on the landward side including the intertidal area on the sea front and 100 mts or width of the creek whichever is less from the high tide line on the landward side along the tidal influenced water bodies. It also includes the land area which falls in the hazard zone beyond 500 mts and also the aquatic area up to 123 nautical miles in the territorial waters and the tidal influenced water bodies are also included.

Author: Sudipta Kumar Sarkar

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