Marine and coastal ecosystems provide many services to human society, including food and other goods, shoreline protection, water quality maintenance, waste treatment, support of tourism and other cultural benefits, and maintenance of the basic global life support systems.
The provision of these services is threatened by the worldwide degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems. Fisheries are in global decline. Coastal habitats have been modified and lost, and in many cases the rate of degradation is increasing. Habitat loss and modification result in a loss of ecosystem services and also threaten biodiversity (UNEP, 2006, p. 7).
Fishermen along India’s western coast are now using square mesh nets and practicing sustainable marine fishing. It is earning them higher incomes, protecting marine biodiversity and paving the way for policy change in one of the country’s most important fishing coastlines.