Zonal Crop Calendar (ZCC)

ZCC is a self-protective approach towards managing shrimp diseases, implemented in northwestern Sri Lanka (Galappaththi & Berkes, 2015). The uncontrollable nature of shrimp disease conditions and the resulting impacts on the industry led to the development of a crop calendar. SLADA introduced it in 2004 and its implementation was legalised by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development in Sri Lanka. The crop calendar’s main objective was to minimize the damage caused by shrimp diseases (mainly WSS disease) to increase national-level shrimp production. Zonal and sub-zonal geographical boundaries were developed that considered the connected nature of the area’s natural water system and the shrimp disease spreading patterns through the lagoon water body. One (or two) shrimp farming communit(ies) was (were) recognised as a sub-zone and a collective of sub-zones became a zone. Thus, the northwestern shrimp farming area was divided into 5 zones and 32 sub-zones (Figure 5.3).

ZCC provides an annual plan for water allocation for shrimp farming in the northwestern area. SLADA/shrimp farmers and the government collectively decide which zone(s) and/or sub-zone(s) can access the interconnected common water body for shrimp farming during each crop season. A commonly agreed-upon annual crop calendar is designed and implemented. In other words, consensus is achieved regarding who can engage in shrimp farming during a season and who cannot. A calendar year is divided into three seasons of shrimp production: pre-yala (February to April); yala (April to September); and maha (October to February). Production seasons are

Map of the Zonal Crop Calendar boundaries. Source

Figure 5.3 Map of the Zonal Crop Calendar boundaries. Source: Adapted from Galappaththi and Berkes (2015) assigned to sub-zones/communities based on the disease spread patterns along the water system. Each community receives at least one or two production season(s) per year. This way, the seasonal crop calendar creates buffer zones through geographical (zones/sub-zones) and temporal (seasons) boundaries. Furthermore, the ZCC is subjected to changes on an annual basis - an adaptive learning process. Changes are made based on feedback from farmers escalated through the multi-layered structure and from lessons learned during previous crop seasons responding to the changing climate. ZCC is the most significant component of the existing governance system, as it determines all the other activities related to shrimp farming, such as post larvae production and quantities.

As part of the ZCC system, community institutions practise Better Management Practices (BMPs) for shrimp aquaculture operations. BMP is a set of guidelines that NAqDA developed for adaptation at the community level. For example, BMPs specify a stocking density reliant on the use of aerators, i.e., four to six post larvae/m2 for a pond with no aerators and a maximum of 10 post larvae/m2 for a pond with aerators. Community associations are expected to adapt and fine tune these BMPs to suit their own environments and social conditions, such as salinity levels (which affect the use of aerators), the availability of mangrove vegetation closer to farms, and the success of previous crops. The multi-layered institutional structure reinforces the shrimp aquaculture governance system.

Multi-layered institutional structure

The Sri Lankan shrimp aquaculture production system is managed by a multilayered institutional structure that, since the 1990s, has evolved from less complex community associations (Figure 5.4). This is a private-communal- state mixed management regime. At the heart of this mixed regime is the community-based institution (called samithiya in the local language), i.e., the shrimp farmers’ association. These community-based institutions together serve as the bottom (community) level, self-organised community entities within the hierarchy of existing shrimp farmers’ associations (community to national level). Community-level shrimp farming associations formulate and implement their own rules to manage community-level resources. Every shrimp farmer in the community (100 percent) must be a member of the community association. Most of the community associations are small collective groups (20 to 60 members). The elected officers of a community association include the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and assistant treasurer. Most of the community associations have government aquaculture extension officers that work closely to ensure that practices comply with national regulations. However, these officers do not have the power to influence any of the decisions that the associations make. The community-level rules for managing shrimp aquaculture practices/resources are created through collective

Adapting commons institutions. Source

Figure 5.4 Adapting commons institutions. Source: Adapted from Galappaththi et al. (2019a)

decisions. The collective decision-making process is one of the important characteristics of a community association. The community association also acts as an information hub by sharing information about shrimp aquaculture operations among member farmers. Such information includes post larvae prices; feed brands/prices; farm gate shrimp (harvest) prices; production quotas and stocking dates based on the national crop calendar; disease preva- lence/spread; and shrimp farming techniques and management practices.

Community-level institutions are well-organised and interconnected through overriding zonal-level associations. Some zonal associations represent just one sub-zone, whereas the others may represent up to eight sub-zones. While the community associations are represented by community- level shrimp farmers, leaders of these sub-zonal associations represent the zonal association. All the zonal associations and sub-zonal associations are collectively represented in SLADA - there is at least one representative from each zone and sub-zone.

SLADA, the national-level association representing all the direct stakeholders in the shrimp farming sector - farmers; hatchery owners; feed suppliers; and shrimp processors - was established in 2005 with an initial membership of 16 people. Later, zonal and sub-zonal associations were granted permission to become members of SLADA. Consequently, the membership increased to about 50. To improve the shrimp farming sector, SLADA appointed six committees that targeted different subject areas, such as environmental protection, hatchery development, and shrimp farm development. Furthermore,

Table 5.1 Roles and responsibilities of each management level

Level

Specific Roles and Responsibilities

Community-level

associations

(samithi)

To regulate community-level farming practices with the support of NAqDA field extension officers. For this purpose, there is a shrimp farm monitoring and extension unit in Battulu Oya (established in 2008).

Zonal associations

To develop the infrastructure of shrimp farming areas in

collaboration with divisional secretariat offices and provincial councils. Zonal associations also maintain a link (mainly communication) between the sub-zonal and national levels.

SLADA and NAqDA collaboratively

To improve the performance of the overall national-level

shrimp aquaculture system. In this role, the management body has the authority to take legal action in response to any illegal activities, such as shrimp post larvae stocking beyond the crop calendar and the release of disease-infected water into the natural water body.

SLADA and NAqDA jointly developed a Technical Advisory Committee representing expertise from local universities and research institutions.

SLADA and NAqDA collaboratively form the top layer of the management structure. It is a joint management body and the decision-making pattern is a participatory process. The most interesting feature of this top management body is its composition; SLADA includes representation from all the stakeholders while NAqDA brings the government authority to the table. This body is powerful and effective at formulating as well as implementing guidelines to better regulate and ensure the industry’s sustainability. Its ability to influence community-level actions and compliance is due mainly to the participatory nature of making decisions and creating guidelines. Furthermore, each layer of the management structure is tasked with specific roles and responsibilities (Table 5.1).

Major changes in the shrimp aquaculture management system over time (i.e., the time before and after implementation of the ZCC system) influence the lagoon SES. The lagoon has many other resource users besides shrimp farmers (e.g., fishers, gleaners, salt farmers, and hotels and tourism). Lagoon resource stakeholders express dynamic viewpoints about how major changes in shrimp aquaculture management have affected their lagoon-related livelihood activities (Table 5.2).

 
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