Miscellaneous Publications - BOBP/MIS/1
Fishermen’s Cooperatives in Kerala: A Critique
Executing Agency: FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Funding Agency: SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Development of Small-Scale Fisheries in the Bay of Bengal Madras, India, October 1980
Table of Contents
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Situated on the southwestern end of the peninsula, it has a 590 km coastline, surf beaten by the Arabian Sea. The waters off Kerala’s shore are known for their resources of fish and crustacea. This bounty, combined with the fact that the state has a daring and enterprising community of traditional small-scale fishermen, accounts for Kerala’s continued pre-eminence as the leading producer of marine fish in India.
Prior to 1956, the region that is now Kerala consisted of the state of Travancore-Cochin plus the Malabar region which was then part of Madras state. Both the Madras state and the state of Travancore-Cochin had very enlightened fisheries administrations. The Department of Fisheries in Madras came into being as long back as 1906 ; the state of Travancore-Cochin was aware of the vast fishery potential off its shores and planned numerous ways to exploit and utilise this potential.
It is therefore not surprising that the first initiatives in cooperative organisation for fishermen were undertaken in the region that is now Kerala state as early as 1917.
During the past six decades, cooperative organisation is one of the subjects most widely discussed in the area of fisheries. Yet, one of the most disappointing aspects of development programmes for fishermen relates to cooperatives.
This paper is divided into three parts. First, it undertakes a brief analysis of the history and rationale of fishermen’s cooperatives in Kerala, so that the main reasons for their failure can be highlighted. Second, it tries to present a theory about the modus operandiof cooperative organisation for the small-scale fishermen of the state - particularly the self employed fishermen.
The practical application of this theory is examined in the third part, a case study of a successful small-scale fishermen’s cooperative in Trivandrum district of Kerala state.
1. A brief history of fishermen’s cooperatives in Kerala: why have they failed?
2. An analysis of the fish economy of Kerala
3. A feasible form of cooperative organization for small-scale fishermen : the case of Marianad
1. Birth of a village, launching of a cooperative
2. Marianad today (pictures)
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