The COVID-19 related lockdowns have brought the planet to a standstill. It has severely shrunk the global economy in the year 2020, including India. The blue economy and especially the small-scale fisheries sector in India have dwindled due to disruptions in the fish catch, market, and supply chain. This research presents the applicability of satellite data to monitor the impact of COVID-19 related lockdown on the Indian fisheries sector. Three harbors namely Mangrol, Veraval, and Vankbara situated on the north-western coast of India were selected in this study based on characteristics like harbor’s age, administrative control, and availability of cloud-free satellite images. To analyze the impact of COVID in the fisheries sector, we utilized high-resolution PlanetScope data for monitoring and comparison of “area under fishing boats” during the pre-lockdown, lockdown, and post-lockdown phases. A support vector machine (SVM) classification algorithm was used to identify the area under the boats. The classification results were complemented with socio-economic data and ground-level information for understanding the impact of the pandemic on the three sites. During the peak of the lockdown, it was found that the “area under fishing boats” near the docks and those parked on the land area increased by 483%, 189%, and 826% at Mangrol, Veraval, and Vanakbara harbor, respectively. After phase-I of lockdown, the number of parked vessels decreased, yet those already moved out to the land area were not returned until the south-west monsoon was over. A quarter of the annual production is estimated to be lost at the three harbors due to lockdown. Our last observation (September 2020) result shows that regular fishing activity has already been re-established in all three locations. PlanetScope data with daily revisit time has a higher potential to be used in the future and can help policymakers in making informed decisions vis-à-vis the fishing industry during an emergency situation like COVID-19.
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