Chilika Lake Traditional and Prawn Fishery (pre-1990s and 1990 to 1997), India

Resource System
Lake ecosystem
Resource Units
Freshwater fish stocks, prawn

Chilika Lake is located in Orissa, India, and extends from the city of Bhusandpur in the north to the city of Rambha-Mulad in the south.  The lake follows the coastal margins of the Bay of Bengal and is approximately 64 km long, 20 km wide, and encompasses an area of approximately 1,165 km2.  The Lake’s resources support circa 200,000 people living in 141 villages in the vicinity of the lake.  The users rely on a variety of lake resources for their livelihoods.  The case study involves two successive snapshots in time: from 1970 to 1990 (pre-rule change) and 1990 to 1997 (post-rule change) and catalogues an action situation in which the impact of an institutional change favored prawn farming investors over the rights of traditional fishermen.  Fish and prawn are the main fugitive resource units.

The original case study authors focused on the impact of institutional change and subsequent elite capture on ecosystem resources.  The case study has subsequently been used in comparative analyses regarding Ostrom's Design Principles (see bibliography).