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5. Alternative income-generating activities

This study has focused on fishery and its contribution to small-scale fishing household earnings. In this context, the calculations in Chapters 5.5-5.9 provide an overview of the contribution of fishery to the total budget of a small-scale fishing household. However, an increasing amount of money is earned outside fishery. Various projects and programmes foster such development by promoting alternative income-generating activities. Although the consequences of such a shift out of fishery are not fully understood, the promotion of alternative income-generating activities helps to improve the financial situation of small-scale fishing households.

These activities can be divided into two types. One type is related to the aquatic environment or to the equipment used in fisheries such as aquaculture or as tourist guides in the creeks of the mangrove areas. This type of activity is dependent on the weather or the equipment, as is fishery. Unlike fishery, however, fish availability no longer influences the income generated - with one exception: that of the many family members that work as fish processors, boiling, frying or drying fish before it is sold to the middlemen or on local markets.

The second type of activity is no longer related to the aquatic environment and therefore does not present the same risks. It consists of work outside fishing, like rubber gardening or work in nearby factories or opening a shop to support the fishing activities of other village members. In such cases, success depends on other factors than the weather, the gear or the catch.

Although various alternative activities are widely promoted by local or regional projects and programmes, not much is known about the income they generate. This lack of knowledge may create further problems in the near future because the impact of the changes involved is not fully understood. It is not clear whether the various activities are sustainable within the context of small fishing villages. Furthermore, the strong dependency on financial help from middlemen keeps most fishermen in their traditional business without any prospect of improvement.

Within the context of this study, it was not possible to obtain reliable information on income derived from alternative income-generating activities. For a complete overview of the socio-economic situation of small-scale fisherfolk, such an investigation is required as a follow-up to this study.

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