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Caught in their own nets: a social study of set bagnet fishing communities in Bangladesh (NRI report no. R2199(C))

Caught in their own nets: a social study of set bagnet fishing communities in Bangladesh (NRI report no. R2199(C))

Blowfield, M.E. and Nasimul, Haque (1995) Caught in their own nets: a social study of set bagnet fishing communities in Bangladesh (NRI report no. R2199(C)). Technical Report. Natural Resources Institute, Chatham, UK.

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The estuarine set bagnet communities are amongst the poorest rural communities in Bangladesh. An already difficult existence has been exacerbated by recent natural disasters and apparent declines in fish stock. In addition, they are socially and politically isolated from the mainstream of rural life, often coming from ethnic minorities and dependent on marketing channels that are dominated by the urban and rural elite. This report presents the findings of a year-long study of three set bagnet communities that arose from planners' fears that intervention in such marginalised communities would exacerbate rather than assist the fisherfolk's situation. The communities are from three different religious and ethnic groups in different parts of eastern Bangladesh. The findings show the intricate web of social and economic factors that hinder economic development. Lack of access to capital is a major issue. Most of the available credit is linked to the marketing of high-value fish during certain seasons. Consequently, external financing is channelled through boat captains and owners, excluding women and poorer men from directly accessing loans. Furthermore, for much of the year, when the value of the catch is insufficient for large traders, credit is unavailable. In recent years NGOs have tried to address this situation, but the results to date are mixed. The study has identified any of the features of the fisherfolk's lives that serve as opportunities and constraints to such outside assistance. It shows that there are no magic solutions, but only slow, persistent and socially sensitive responses which might release some of the present pressures and open up possibilities for the future. The report is primarily intended for use by the ODA Bay of Bengal Post-harvest Fisheries Project, and articles on specific aspects of the study are being published elsewhere. However, the report, and especially its final section (Conclusions), will also be of use to fisheries policy makers and development practitioners who need to increase their understanding of the complexity of coastal fishing communities and the implications for development work.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Additional Information: [1] Acknowledgements (funding): The study was conducted as part of the ODA-funded Bay of Bengal Post- harvest Fisheries Project which is managed by NRI. [1] Acknowledgements: The following are the findings of thirteen months of research in three coastal fishing communities in Bangladesh. Thanks are due to Duncan King as field project officer, Abul Kashem (ODA-PHFP representative in Bangladesh) and Nick Willoughby (project manager).
Uncontrolled Keywords: social study, set bagnet, fishing, fisheries, community, Bangladesh, poor, rural, poverty, fisherfolk, development, economic, opportunities, constraints
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food & Markets Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science
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Last Modified: 27 Nov 2019 11:46

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