"Socio-Demographic Status of The Fishing Community of Nalbari District : A Socio-Economic Survey"

Authors

Dr. Debendra Kumar Bezbaruah (Principal)
Kamrup College, Nalbari, Assam.

Dr. Tribeni Bezbaruah (Associate Professor)
North Kamrup College, Baghmara.

Abstract

A community is generally given a name according to its occupation. Accordingly the community which depends on the fisheries as its occupation is known as fishing community. Fishing community is one of the earliest and most ancient communities of Assam as well as of India .The Vedas and the Purans have references to this community. According to the Federal Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, a fishing community is defined as a community that is substantially dependent on or substantially engaged in the harvest or processing of fishery resources to meet social and economic needs, and includes fishing vessel owners, operators, and crew and United States fish processors that are based in such community. Fishing communities are an important part of Assamese heritage and economy and its wetland ecosystems. Fishing communities in Assam are not homogenous , as they belong to different six communities like Kaibartas, Jal-Keots, Patnis, JhaloMalos,Namasudras and Hiras. These communities have their distinct social , cultural governance structures and traditional practices ,depending upon the geographical location where they inhabit. Both in Assam and in Nalbari district the people of the fishing community depends on fisheries as their livelihood .According to the S.Cs and S.Ts. List Modification Order, 1956 there are sixteen Scheduled Castes in Assam. Among these, six communities namely Kaibartas, Jal-Keots, Jhalo-malos, Patnis, Namasudras and a section of the Hiras are also known as fishing communities. Though the fishermen and fisher women are distributed throughout Assam from Dhubri in the west to Sadia to the east, yet their concentration in terms of number of community is found to be more in the Nalbari district. So in the given context, the Nalbari district provides us the appropriate backdrop for a comprehensive and empirical analysis of their fishing activities in fisheries. For this purpose we have made a detailed survey over 10 per cent villages having fishing communities out of total ones located at Nalbari district and 20 per cent households of the total number of each fishing community of the sample villages.