Enhancing social resilience of the coastal fishing communities: A case study of hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha H.) fishery in Bangladesh

Social resilience is an essential aspect of sustainability in environmental management, especially in poor resource-dependent communities. To better understand the dynamics of social resilience, we have conducted a primarily qualitative study of communities dependent on hilsa fishing in two coastal villages in southern Bangladesh. This study applies concepts of social-ecological system (SES), social resilience and co-management in outlining our qualitative data and framing its interpretation. Our findings show that while the establishment of hilsa sanctuary areas has enhanced the previously low ecological sustainability of local small-scale fishing, the management of this program has challenged the social resilience of hilsa fishers by creating new inequalities in the distribution of power and privilege, in terms of the ways in which seasonal fishing bans are enforced and compensation for income loss during the ban periods is distributed.