Drivers of response to extreme weather warnings among marine fishermen
Extreme weather events, such as storms and cyclones, pose dire occupational hazards in marine fishing. Thus, warnings against such events can reduce risks to the life and property of fishing communities. This study is an attempt to assess the factors driving fishermen’s decision to respond to weather warnings. Mixed methods, such as exploratory fieldwork, literature review, and focus group discussions, helped in identifying the available weather warnings and hypothesizing the probable factors influencing response to the warnings in the marine fishing community in Maharashtra, India. The plausible drivers of response include perceived potential risk, credibility of the warning and its disseminators, community social capital, and other demographic characteristics. Data from a household survey, comprising 601 fishermen, is used to empirically test the hypotheses. The results suggest that trust in the source and disseminator of the warning is related to higher response rates. There is heterogeneity in the role of community social capital as a motivator to respond. Further, fishermen perceiving traditional information to be more reliable are less likely to respond frequently to the warnings. The findings of the study are relevant for designing interventions which can prompt high response rates to weather warnings from fishermen.
We are thankful to the participants of the group discussions and survey for their time and enthusiasm. We would also like to thank Mr. Dineshkumar Singh (Tata Consultancy Services - Innovation Lab Mumbai) for his help in identifying the weather warnings available to the community.
This work is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India [11DST078].
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