Livelihoods, Vulnerabilities and Food security: Barriers and opportunities for the Bajo fishing community of Wuring Laut
There is increasing recognition that small scale fisheries make a vital contribution to local and regional economies and to food and livelihood security throughout the developing world. Small scale fishing communities in developing countries are highly vulnerable to poverty and many fishing households face an uncertain future. Frances has spent twelve months conducting ethnographic research in the Bajo community of Wuring Laut, Flores Island eastern Indonesia.
The primary aim of this thesis is to conduct a critical enquiry into factors contributing to vulnerability to poverty and livelihood insecurity in Wuring Laut. The secondary aim is to explore ways of improving existing livelihoods and encouraging livelihood diversity.
Research questions are grouped into three categories 1) livelihood strategies and access to assets 2) local governance and marine resource management 3) livelihood improvements.
The theoretical framework for this thesis is the Sustainable Livelihood Framework within which are nested the closely related concepts of vulnerability, resilience, sustainability and access rights.
Research findings show that capacity of this fishing community to construct resilient and diverse livelihoods within and beyond the local fishery sector is heavily constrained by difficulties in accessing assets and inequitable distribution of profits from fishing. Social exclusion on the basis of ethnicity also impacts on access. These factors limit community resilience to shocks and stresses effecting livelihoods, limiting both adaptive capacity and capacity to contribute to local conservation goals. The results from Wuring Laut will be relevant to other coastal and maritime populations in Southeast Asia in respect to addressing goals around achieving sustainable fisheries and food and livelihood security.