The introduction has shown that there was an increase in the population of Thailand as a whole over the 1985–1995 period, but that the rate of increase was steadily slowing down. It has also shown that fishery resources were depleting and that the coastal environment has been deteriorating rapidly. In addition, the fishing population as a whole has been shown to be on the increase. In this chapter, the fishing population will be examined more closely, simply because fisherfolk affect the changes in marine resources directly.
The data upon which this chapter is based come almost exclusively from the marine fishery censuses carried out in 1985 and 1995 by the National Statistical Office and the Department of Fisheries. The censuses cover all marine capture fishery and coastal aquaculture households or establishments and fishery employee households (excluding foreign fishery employee households) in the 24 coastal provinces of the five coastal zones (Figure 1.2). The cut-off date for the censuses was 1 April in both cases.
Number of marine fisherfolk
For the whole of Thailand, there were 139,506 fisherfolk in 1985 and 157,377 in 1995, an increase of 12.8 percent (Table 2.1). The ranking in terms of size did not change from one census to the other. Zone IV had the largest number of fisherfolk, followed by Zone V, II, III and I, in that order.
An increase occurred in every zone except Zone II (Bangkok and periphery). The increase was of 37 percent in Zone IV, 27 percent in Zone I, 20 percent in Zone V and six percent in Zone II. The factors most closely related to the changes in the number of fisherfolk within fishing activities were the evolution of marine capture fishery and the development of coastal aquaculture. Outside of the fishery sector, there are other factors that are associated with changes in the economic structure in each province. As sweeping, general explanations are inadequate, the differences in the fishing population in each zone will be later analysed by province.
Small-scale and medium- to large-scale fisherfolk
This information is not directly available and the changes cannot be determined. The crux of the matter is the data related to the extent of engagement in fishing. The information is not available in the 1985 marine fishery census, and thus only the state in 1995 can be presented. Table 2.2 shows, among other things, the proportion of small-scale to medium- to large-scale fisherfolk in marine capture fishery. ‘Small-scale fisherfolk’ is here defined as those without boats or with outboard- or inboard-powered boats of less than 10 gross tonnage (GT). Of the 73,225 marine capture fisherfolk, 63,569, or 86.8 percent, were small-scale.
Full-time and part-time fisherfolk
Table 2.2 also provides full and direct information regarding the extent of involvement in fishing activities. Of the 73,225 fisherfolk engaged in marine capture fishery, 76 percent engaged full-time in the activity, 13 percent engaged in it mainly and about 11 percent only part-time. A higher percentage of medium- to large-scale marine capture fisherfolk than of small-scale marine capture fisherfolk engaged full-time in the activity - 92 percent as opposed to 74 percent. The difference means that marine capture fishery was not as profitable for small-scale fisherfolk as for the larger-scale operators, and that the former probably had to engage in supplementary occupations.
Fisherfolk engaged in coastal aquaculture also displayed the same pattern of involvement in their activity. Regardless of the type of culture, 73 percent of them engaged full-time in aquaculture, some 18 percent engaged in it mainly, and nine percent only part-time. The proportion of those engaged full-time in shrimp culture was slightly higher than for those engaged in other types of aquaculture.
Fisherfolk: self-employed and employees
So far, fisherfolk have been mentioned without distinction in terms of employment status. This part will examine self-employed fisherfolk and fishery employees separately. For the sake of brevity, we shall call self-employed fisherfolk ‘fishermen’, regardless of gender. Though it is useful, in terms of policy and planning, to explore and explain the changes in these groups, it will not be a simple task to arrive at accurate explanations at provincial level, for many reasons. Within the fishery sector itself, the changes in marine capture fishery and in aquaculture have to be examined. In addition, the changes in other economic sectors have to be analysed in relation to the fishery sector. Explaining changes in the fishery employee population will be difficult due to its volatile nature and also to the existence of unknown numbers of Burmese labourers. To arrive at accurate and detailed explanations, a separate major research at provincial level is required. This report can only offer general explanations focusing mainly on the changes in the fishery sector.
The censuses have shown that the fishing population of Thailand as a whole increased by about 13 percent between 1985 and 1995. As Table 2.1 shows, the number of fishermen increased by about 19 percent (from 100,361 to 119,123), while the number of fishery employees declined by about two percent (from 39,145 to 38,254) during the period. Fishermen comprise the great majority of fisherfolk: 72 percent in 1985 and 76 percent in 1995.
Differences between fishermen and fishery employees by zone
Table 2.1 and Figures 2.1 and 2.2 also present the data on fishermen and fishery employees by zone. Again, Zone II is the only zone that registered a percentage reduction, of both fishermen and fishery employees. It is also notable that in this zone, while the number of fishermen declined by about 15 percent, that of fishery employees declined by 50 percent. This is due to the fact that the economic structure of Zone II has changed to rely increasingly on light industries and services. Work in the fishery sector is known to be dirty, dangerous and demeaning, and given a choice, fisherfolk, especially fishery employees, will opt for other kinds of work. Even in Chachoengsao, the only province with an overall increase in the number of fisherfolk, the number of fishery employees declined by about 27 percent.
In the other zones, both the fisherman and the employee populations increased, but by different percentages. In Zone IV, the number of fishermen increased by 50 percent, but that of employees by only 10 percent. In Zone V, the increases were of about 20 percent and about 22 percent respectively, and 26 percent and 28 percent in Zone I. In Zone III, the number of fishermen increased by about eight percent, but the number of employees did not change. This raises the question of the relationship between the number of fishermen and the number of employees. To answer it satisfactorily, many related questions need to be answered, such as what kind of fishery activities do the fishermen engage in and whether and how much labour is needed. The activities engaged in by fishery employees have to be explored, as well as the extent of their replacement by foreign labour.
Differences between fishermen and fishery employees by province
Changes in the fisherman and employee populations are here assumed to be related to changes in area under aquaculture and in the number, type and size of fishing craft. Unfortunately but unavoidably, more specific explanations can be offered only by examining the changes by province. To prove the hypothesis, Zone IV and Zone V will be examined first, because they have the largest numbers of fisherfolk in both censuses. Zone III, II and I will then be examined. Table 2.3 presents the data on fishermen and fishery employees by province, Table 2.4 the areas under aquaculture, Tables 2.5 and 2.6 present the number and type of boats by zone and by province, respectively, and Tables 2.7 and 2.8 the changes in gross tonnage by zone and by province.
In Zone IV, Nakhon Si Thammarat had the second largest number of both fishermen and employees in 1985, the first being Songkhla. By 1995, it had the largest number, the increase being 137 percent for fishermen and 103 percent for employees. The increase does not coincide with the fact that the province has the largest area under aquaculture (about 93 percent out of a total of 30 448 rai in 1985 and 77 percent out of 85 248 rai in 1995). It does coincide with the fact that the number of outboard-powered fishing boats increased by 13 percent, from 3 320 in 1985 to 3 753 by 1995. In addition, though the number of inboard-powered fishing craft in Nakhon Si Thammarat declined by about 19 percent, from 1 381 in 1985 to 1 124 in 1995, craft with 50 GT or over increased by 32 percent, from 41 in 1985 to 54 in 1995. Thus, it seems that
the increase in the fishing population is related to marine capture fishery rather than to aquaculture;
the increase in the fisherman population is related to the increase in outboard-powered fishing boats and in the increase in boats of high gross tonnage, and
the increase in the employee population may be due to larger-scale capture fishery operated by either more affluent fishermen or companies or both, and to the migration of employees from Songkhla, Pattani and Narathiwat, all of which witnessed a decline in the number of employees.
Songkhla had the second largest fishing population in Zone IV by 1995, and the number of its fishermen had increased by 23 percent, while that of its fishery employees had declined by 13 percent. The increase in the fisherman population is related to a spectacular increase in acreage under coastal aquaculture and in the number of outboard-powered fishing boats and of boats of high gross tonnage. However, whereas these changes should lead to an increase in fishery employees, the census statistics actually show a decline. As stated earlier, exact explanations will need a thorough provincial study, and only general hypotheses can be provided here. Besides migration to other provinces, there are other possibilities such as a change of status from employee to small-scale fisherman or to joint operator and a replacement of Thai employees by cheaper Burmese labourers.
Pattani had the third largest fishing population in Zone IV by 1995, but it is the most interesting province because both its fishermen and of its fishery employees declined in number. The area under coastal aquaculture increased between the two censuses; the number of outboard-powered fishing boats increased by less than one percent, but that of fishing boats of 10–50 GT increased by six percent, and those of 50 GT or more by 22 percent. The only plausible explanation is that small-scale fishermen changed their occupation due to an increase in commercial fishing, which employs foreign labour, and that each remaining operator had several larger-scale craft.
Phatthalung had the fourth largest number of fisherfolk by 1995, almost all of whom were fishermen. The increase of the fisherman population was only 4 percent, from 3,142 to 3,268. The increase in acreage under coastal aquaculture was high in terms of percentage, but not impressive in terms of size, as it accounted for only 1.8 percent of the total area under coastal aquaculture in Zone IV. There was no change in the number of inboard-powered boats, but that of outboard-powered boats increased by 42 percent, from 1,375 to 1,954. This indicates that Phatthalung is a province characterized by small-scale capture fishery, whose fishermen tend to operate more than one boat.
Narathiwat has had the smallest fishing population in Zone IV, but the number of its fishermen increased by 89 percent during the period under study, while that of its fishery employees declined by 44 percent. The increase in acreage under coastal aquaculture was negligible, but the number of outboard-powered fishing boats rose impressively, from 361 to 689, a 90-percent increase. The number of inboard-powered fishing craft of less than 10 GT increased, but that of boats of more than 10 GT declined. These changes indicate that the province has changed from being one with both small- and large-scale fishery to one with mainly small-scale fishery, and that fishery employees may have become fishermen or joint operators, turned to other occupations or migrated to Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Zone V has had the second largest number of fisherfolk. In 1985, the ranking by province, in descending order, was Satun, Phangnga and Trang, Krabi, Ranong and Phuket. By 1995, Phangnga had the largest fishing population, followed by Satun, Trang and Krabi, Ranong and Phuket.
While the number of fishermen in this zone increased by about 20 percent, it declined notably in Phuket and marginally in Ranong, and rose most impressively in Krabi. As for fishery employees, their numbers declined in Phuket, but increased most notably in Phangnga, followed by Krabi and Satun.
In Phuket, the decline in the number of both fishermen and fishery employees is certainly related to the fact that the province has become a major tourist centre, and that an unknown proportion of the fisherman and fishery employee populations must have moved to tourism-oriented activities. However, there is a trend toward rapid increase in the acreage under coastal aquaculture, which is almost exclusively shrimp culture. In addition, there was an increase in the number of outboard- as well as inboard-powered boats. The increase in the number of inboard-powered boats of 50 GT or over was exceptionally high, while the number of those of 10–49 GT also increased. Thus, besides occupational change of small-scale fishermen and fishery employees, the main factor accounting for the decline in the fishing population must have been the increasing commercialization of marine capture fishery, employing foreign labour.
Ranong also experienced a decline in the number of both fishermen and fishery employees. The province also showed a trend toward an increase in acreage under coastal aquaculture, and the highest percentage increase in inboard-powered boats of 50 GT and over. Thus, discounting tourism which is an important factor for Phuket but not for Ranong, the decline in the number of fishermen and fishery employees can only be explained by the commercialization of capture fishery and a change of occupation to fishery-related activities. The province being adjacent to Myanmar, commercial fishery there must employ quite a large number of Burmese labourers. It is generally believed that at least half of the population in the province is Burmese, and that without their labour, its fishery sector could not be sustained.
What happened in Phangnga that led to an increase of 24 percent in the number of fishermen and of 127 percent in that of fishery employees? Phangnga's acreage under coastal aquaculture was the second largest, after Satun, in 1985 and the third largest, after Krabi and Satun, by 1995. The number of boats of high gross tonnage also increased. These two facts could partly account for the increase in the number of fishery employees, but the question arises of why foreign labour was not being used in the province. The increase in coastal aquaculture could also account for the increase in the number of fishermen, but a more important factor may be the fact that there was a 50-percent increase in the number of outboard-powered fishing boats, from 2,057 to 3,087. The increase in both outboard- and large-scale inboard-powered fishing boats indicates that there might have been a growth in the number of both small-scale and larger-scale fishermen in this province, and a subsequent conflict between the two groups in term of exploitation of resources.
Satun had the second largest fishing population after Phangnga by 1995. The number of its fishermen had increased by 23 percent, while that of its fishery employees had increased by 44 percent. Satun had the largest area under coastal aquaculture in 1985, but the second largest after Krabi by 1995. Despite the change in ranking, the area under aquaculture did increase and this may account for the increase in the number of fishery employees. The number of outboard-powered fishing boats increased by about 70 percent, from 1,650 to 2,836, while that of inboard-powered fishing boats of all sizes declined. These changes indicate an increase in the number of self-employed coastal aquaculture workers and of small-scale fishermen, but a decline in commercial fishery.
Trang and Krabi had roughly the same number of fisherfolk by 1995, but the increase for both fishermen and fishery employees was much more spectacular in Krabi. The growth in Krabi is associated with the rapid spread of coastal aquaculture, which is almost exclusively shrimp culture, and with a 55-percent increase in the number of outboard-powered fishing boats coupled with a decline in that of inboard-powered fishing vessels of all sizes. The slower growth in Trang is associated with roughly the same increase in number in outboard-powered fishing boats and the rapid commercialization of capture fishery that presumably employs foreign labour.
The provincial examination of changes in the fisherman and fishery employee populations in relation to the changes in acreage under coastal aquaculture and in the number, type and size of fishing boats indicates that the three factors tend to be related. The increase in the number of fishermen tends to be related to the increase in the number of outboard-powered fishing boats. The decline in the number of both fishermen and fishery employees tends to be related to the increase in the number of inboard-powered fishing boats of higher gross tonnage. This indicates a change from small-scale to large-scale commercial fishery, in which smaller numbers of operators operate a growing number of boats that make use of foreign labour. The overall growth of the fisherman and fishery employee populations is also related to the rapid increase in area under coastal aquaculture. Tourism, too, is related to the decline in the fishing population in Phuket.
The fishing population in this zone increased very slowly, by about six percent, which is half the national average. The number of employees remained unchanged, but that of fishermen increased by about eight percent. Surat Thani has had the largest number of both populations, followed by Chumphon and Phachuap Khiri Khan, respectively.
The number of fishermen in Surat Thani increased by less than two percent, but that of fishery employees rose by about 50 percent. The province has had the largest area under coastal aquaculture, representing about 76 percent of the total area in Zone III in 1985, with an increase to 85 percent by 1995. Outboard-powered boats declined in number, but the number of large inboard-powered boats increased. This indicates that commercial fishery and coastal aquaculture have increased, and that small-scale fishery has declined. The high percentage growth in the number of fishery employees cannot be explained if the assumption that commercial fishery uses foreign labour is accepted, but this growth may not be significant because it is calculated from a rather low base number. There is another possibility, which is that the labour may be in aquaculture, given the unproved assumption that aquaculture is less likely than commercial fishery to employ foreign labour.
In Chumphon province, the number of fishermen increased at a much higher rate than in the rest of the zone. The province also witnessed the most extraordinary increase in acreage under coastal aquaculture. Outboard- as well as inboard-powered fishing boats of every size also increased in number. That the number of fishery employees increased at a much lower rate indicates that fishermen in the province engaged either in small-scale aquaculture or in larger-scale capture fishery.
Prachuap Khiri Khan is the only province in Zone III that saw a decline in the number of both fishermen and fishery employees. One apparent factor is that it is a tourist resort. The area under coastal aquaculture increased at the lowest rate compared to the rest of the zone. Though the proportion of outboard-powered fishing boats greatly increased, the initial, 1985 number was low. Inboard-powered fishing boats of 10 GT and over also increased in number. Thus, it seems that both fishermen and fishery employees must have moved to tourism-related occupations, and that the province's fishery sector is dominated by medium-scale commercial capture fishery.
This zone is the only zone that experienced an overall decline of its fishing population (-27 percent). The decline in the number of fishermen was roughly 30 percent, and of fishery employees roughly 70 percent. Fishermen declined in number in every province except Chachoengsao, whereas the number of fishery employees decreased in every province. The overall decline of the fishing population coincides with the overall decline of acreage under coastal aquaculture (-24 percent) in the zone. Chachoengsao is the only province that saw an increase in area under coastal aquaculture. There was a high increase in the number of outboard-powered fishing boats and boats of 10–49 GT in Petchaburi. The data also show a significant increase in the number of inboard-powered fishing boats of 50 GT and over in Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram. These three provinces also saw a small increase in boats of 10–49 GT.
Thus, the data seem to indicate that, in general, both fishermen and fishery employees moved out of the fishery sector, because of the decline in coastal aquaculture and of the growth of light industries and services in the zone. Although light industries have expanded to the periphery of Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram are still active in marine capture fishery, which is characterized by large-scale fishing.
The increase in the number of fishermen in Chachoengsao can be explained by the growth in coastal aquaculture. Petchaburi, however, presents an anomaly: its fishermen and fishery employees declined in number despite an increase in outboard-powered fishing boats. One possibility is the fact that it is a tourist resort and that both its small-scale fisherman and fishery employee populations may have moved into tourism-related activities and their fishing boats used for tourism. The other possibility is that the remaining fishermen in Petchaburi own more medium-scale boats per person.
This zone saw an increase of 26 percent in the number of fishermen and 28 percent in that of employees. Of its three provinces, only Rayong saw a decline in both populations, but the decline in the number of fishery employees was more rapid. One apparent reason is that the populations moved to the industrial sector because the province is a part of the Eastern Seaboard Development Zone. Rayong had the smallest area under aquaculture, despite its rapid increase. The number of outboard-powered fishing craft declined but that of inboard-powered fishing boats of less than 10 GT increased. Thus, it seems that in Rayong, industrialization is the main factor of decline and that the remaining fishermen are small-scale.
Chanthaburi experienced extraordinary increases in the number of both fishermen (57 percent) and employees (167 percent). The percentage increase of employees should not be taken seriously, though, because the actual number in 1985 was not high. The overall increase coincides with the fact that the province has had the largest area under coastal aquaculture (almost 90 percent of the total area) and that the area increased by almost 100 percent over the period under study. The province also had the largest number of outboard-powered fishing boats, which increased by about 25 percent between 1985 and 1995. The number of inboard-powered fishing boats declined by 50 percent, but there was a small increase in the number of boats of 50 GT and over. Therefore, it seems that the expansion of coastal aquaculture and of coastal capture fishery accounts for the increase in the fishing population.
In Trat, the fisherman population increased by 10 percent and the number of fishery employees grew by 66 percent. The area under coastal aquaculture accounted for only eight percent of the total area of the zone, though it had increased by 98 percent by 1995. The province had the second highest number of outboard-powered fishing boats in 1985, with an increase of about 30 percent by 1995. Inboard-powered boats declined in number, though those of 50 GT and over saw their number increase by 50 percent. However, this percentage increase was calculated from an initially small number. Thus, it seems that, like Chanthaburi, the two causative factors are the growth in coastal aquaculture and the growth in coastal capture fishery employing local labour.
In summary, the provincial analysis shows that the changes in fisherman and fishery employee populations are usually related to the changes in area under coastal aquaculture or to the changes in the type and size of fishing boats. For example, the growth of the fishing population in Zone V and Zone I is closely related to the growth in coastal aquaculture, while the growth in Zone IV is closely related to coastal capture fishery.
Industrialization, tourism and the presence of foreign labour can account for most discrepancies. The decline in the number of both fishermen and fishery employees in Zone II, for example, is related to the fact that the zone has become more industrialized. The validity of the explanation given in terms of the replacement of Thai employees by Burmese labourers is rather questionable, as little is known about them. For a start, because of their clandestine nature, the exact number of Burmese labourers in the fishery sector is not even known.
While the provincial examination offers some explanations, it also creates a number of policy-related questions. Should the small-scale fisherman population increase or decline, and why? The Thai fishery employee population has declined, and Burmese labour has been increasingly used: should Thai labour be replaced by foreign labour, and why? If the answer is positive, then shouldn't there be a study of the long-term social impact of foreign labour, in addition to the study of their number, distribution, economic activities and impact on the fishery sector? Although the Thai government has allowed the use of foreign labour in the fishery sector, we believe that the decision should have been based not only on short-term economic considerations but also on more adequate data presenting all economic, social and demographic aspects, so that the long-term implications had been taken into account as well.
Gender of the fisherman and fishery employee populations
Table 2.9 shows that, for the whole country, fisherwomen accounted for 19.5 percent of the total 96,773 fisherfolk recorded in the 1985 census, and for 18.8 percent of the 119,123 fisherfolk totalled up by 1995. That is, while the total number of self-employed fisherfolk increased between 1985 and 1995, the number of fisherwomen increased more slowly than the number of fishermen.
The data by zone show that both male and female fisherfolk increased in every zone except Zone II (Table 2.9 and Figures 2.3 and 2.4). In Zone II, the decline in the number of fisherwomen was greater than the decline in the number of fishermen. Given the growth of light industries in the zone, fisherwomen must have moved into light industries, such as electronics, shoes, textile and garment factories, which are known to prefer female labour. In addition, the growth of construction in and around Bangkok could also account for the loss of fishermen to this sector.
In the other zones, the relative increase or decline in the number of fishermen and fisherwomen show no regular pattern by province (Table 2.10), and it is futile to go into further analysis until the relative roles and extent of engagement of fishermen and fisherwomen are known, both in marine capture fishery and in coastal aquaculture. Other factors outside of the fishery sector also have to be examined, and the reliability of the data on fishermen and fisherwomen has to be checked.
From field experience, it is likely that the number of fisherwomen and the role they play are underestimated, as they tend to consider themselves not as fisherwomen in their own right but as assistants to the fishermen, who tend to be their spouse or kinsmen. In fact, a research is required to find out the respective role of women and men in fishery. If there is no under-enumeration of fisherwomen, have there been changes in gender roles that would account for the slower increase of the number of fisherwomen (14 percent) than of fishermen (20 percent)?
Let us now examine the changes in fishery employees by gender. Table 2.11 shows that, for Thailand as a whole, female employees accounted for only about five percent of the 39,145 fishery employees in 1985 and for six percent of the 38,254 fishery employees in 1995. The overall decline was due to the decline in the number of male employees (-3 percent). The number of female employees, on the contrary, increased by about 12 percent. This increase is not worth examining because there had been only about 2,000 female employees in 1985. The decline in male employees is not worth a lengthy analysis either, as it is well known that employers in the fishery sector prefer the cheaper Burmese labour. Thus the most likely explanation is that male employees were replaced by foreign labour, while female employees increased in number in the aquaculture sector in the southern zones and in Zone I (Figures 2.5 and 2.6).
Age structure of the fishing population
Table 2.12 shows that the age structure of the fishermen had grown older between the two censuses. The change in the age structure of the fisherwomen cannot be gauged, because the 1985 census did not classify fisherwomen by age group, most likely because their total number was not large. The 1995 census, however, did so, and their percentage distribution shows the great majority (57 percent) to be in the 30–49 age group.
Regarding the fishermen, the number of those between 11 and 14 years of age declined by about 48 percent countrywide over the period under study. This decline occurred across all zones, though the rate of decline differed somewhat by zone. The highest declines were in Zones II, I and III, in descending order. This was also the case for those between 15 and 19 years of age, whose number declined by 39 percent for the whole country. The decline also occurred in all zones and was highest in Zones II, I and III, in that order.
In the 20–29 age group, the number for the whole country declined by about three percent, but the decline was not consistent across all zones. Zones II and III declined by 40 percent and two percent respectively, whereas there were increases by different percentages in other zones.
Older age groups are here classified as those between 30 and 39, 40 and 49, and 50 and over. For the country as a whole and for all zones, their numbers increased but by somewhat different percentages. In terms of changes in percentage distribution, those over 30 accounted for 57 percent of the total in 1985 and for 70 percent of the total in 1995.
Thus, the majority of fishermen were in the older age groups, and those under 20 years of age comprised a lesser proportion of the total. This may be due to two factors: those in the two youngest age groups were still in the schooling system, and those in the 20–29 age group, particularly in Zone II, had changed their occupation.
The implication of the shift to an older age structure of fishermen is that as fishermen retire, the growth of the fishing population slows down, as they are less likely to be replaced by the younger generations. Also, field studies in Ranong and Phuket found that parents who are small-scale fisherfolk try very hard to have their children get as high an education as possible, so that their young ones will not need to work as hard as they themselves have had to.
Table 2.13 shows the changes in the age structure of fishery employees. As in the case of the fishermen, employees under 20 years of age were on the decline. Those in the 20–29 age group also declined by a higher percentage and in more zones (Zones II, III and IV). For the whole country, those under 30 accounted for 52.4 percent in 1985 and 43.4 percent in 1995.
While fishermen aged over 30 accounted for 55 percent and 70 percent of the total fishing population in 1985 and 1995, employees over 30 years old accounted for 47.6 percent and 56.7 percent during the same years. This indicates that the age structure of fishery employees was still younger than that of the fishermen, most likely because of employers' preference for employees in their late twenties and early thirties.
Education attainment of the fishing population
Table 2.14 shows that fisherfolk as a whole have attained slightly higher levels of education, even though the great majority (about 78 percent in both 1985 and 1995) only finished elementary education. In 1985, 17 percent of all fishermen had no education or did not complete elementary education, and the percentage of this group was higher than the country average in Zones V and IV. By 1995, about 11 percent of all fishermen had no education or less than elementary education. Even though Zones V and IV showed a decline in the percentage of fishermen of this group, the proportion of those with little or no education in the two zones remained higher than the country average.
Those with secondary or higher education increased both for the whole country and for all the coastal zones. In 1985, they accounted for 4.5 percent of all fishermen, but for 11.7 percent by 1995. The zones with an education level perceptibly lower than the national average by 1995 were Zones I and II. This is unexplainable in terms of age and is contrary to expectation, as Zone II includes Bangkok and its periphery, and Zone I is close to Zone II, where education has been most readily available.
Nonetheless, it can be concluded that the education attainment of fishermen improved, but that the great majority still attained only primary education. The implication is that without higher education, their ability to fend for themselves both as individuals and as a group will remain inadequate. Their effective participation in any kind of coastal zone management would also be minimal or unlikely. There is thus a need to raise their educational attainment to at least the secondary level or to provide them with informal education and training.
Regarding fishery employees, Table 2.15 shows that they attained even lower levels of education than the fishermen did. The proportion of fishery employees without or with less than elementary education was 27 percent in 1985 and 13 percent in 1995, whereas for fishermen, it was 17 percent and 11 percent in the same years. However, like the fishermen, though the proportion of those with little or no education declined, the great majority (69 percent in 1985 and 79 percent in 1995) had only gone through primary education. The proportion of those with secondary or higher education also increased but not as much as in the case of the fishermen. In 1995, this group accounted for 7.7 percent, compared to 11.7 percent among fishermen. The chances to raise their formal or informal education would be few, given their spatial mobility, and thus it is likely that their bargaining power will remain low.
Summary and discussion
Between the two marine fishery censuses, the fishing population as a whole increased. When they were classified by employment status, the fishermen saw their number increase by about 19 percent, whereas the fishery employees declined in number by about two percent. Examination by coastal zone shows that the number of fishermen declined in Zone II in all but one province, and increased in most provinces in the other zones except those that have become industrialized or tourist attractions. The number of fishery employees declined in all provinces in Zone II, but the change cannot be easily explained, because they are known to be replaced by Burmese labourers to an unknown but presumably large extent.
It is not possible to classify all fishermen into small-scale and medium- to large-scale, and only fishermen engaged in marine capture fishery can be thus classified by using the type and size of their boats. It was found that about 87 percent of them were small-scale. In terms of the extent of engagement in fishing activities, the majority of those engaged in marine capture fishery and in coastal aquaculture did so full time. Roughly 76 percent of marine capture fishermen and 73 percent of those in aquaculture engaged full time in their activities in 1995.
The changes in the fishing population were examined in relation to the changes in acreage under coastal aquaculture and also in the number, type and size of fishing craft. The examination yielded inclusive results, though in most provinces the increase in the number of fishermen tends to coincide with an increase in the area under aquaculture and in the number of outboard-powered fishing boats. The changes in the number of fishery employees seem to correlate with the increase in coastal aquaculture and in the number of inboard-powered fishing boats with high gross tonnage. The correlation of fishery employees with boat size is not very consistent, though, and raises the question of how much foreign labour is used in each province instead of Thai labour. As there is a definite trend toward greater use of foreign labour, a research on foreign labourers in terms of their long-term social impact was suggested.
The fishing population has always been almost exclusively male. Females accounted for only five percent of the total fishing population in 1985 and six percent in 1995. It is suspected that their number was understated, because they tend to underestimate their own economic role. Lack of data on the respective role of men and women in coastal aquaculture and in capture fishery makes accurate explanations about the changes in the number of fisherwomen impossible. To obtain information on their contribution to fishing activities, a research on the role of women and men in fishery is needed.
The age distribution of fishermen and fishery employees changed between 1985 and 1995. There was a decline in the proportion of those under 20 years of age, most probably due to their longer stay in the education system and migration out of the fishery sector. However, the age structure of the fishermen was older than that of the fishery employees. Because the fishermen as less likely to be replaced by the younger generations and foreign labour tends to replace Thai labour, there is a trend toward a slower increase in the number of fishermen and a more rapid decline of Thai labour.
The education attainment of both fishermen and fishery employees improved between 1985 and 1995. Both groups show a decrease in the proportion of those with no or less than complete elementary education and an increase in the proportion of those with secondary or higher education. However, by 1995, the overwhelming majority (almost 80 percent) in both populations had achieved only elementary education. This indicates that unless they are better educated, the bargaining power of the fisherfolk will remain low. In addition, their ability to effectively participate in organizations representing their interests or in any kind of coastal zone management will be minimal or unlikely.
Figure 2.1 Population Change of Fisherman by Region between 1985 and 1995
Source: Table 2.1
Figure 2.2 Population Change of Fishery Employees by Region between 1985 and 1995
Source: Table 2.1
Figure 2.3 Number of Fishermen by Region between 1985 and 1995
Source: Table 2.9
Figure 2.4 Number of Fisherwomen by Region between 1985 and 1995
Source: Table 2.9
Figure 2.5 Number of Male Fishery Employees by Region between 1985 and 1995
Source: Table 2.11
Figure 2.6 Number of Female Fishery Employees by Region between 1985 and 1995
Source: Table 2.11
Table 2.1 Population change of fishermen and employees by coastal zone between 1985 and 1995
|Region||Population Change (1985)||Population Change (1995)||Change in Number||% Change|
|Coastal Zone I||13,285||2,910||16,195||16,795||3,727||20,522||3,510||817||4,327||26.42||28.08||26.72|
|Coastal Zone II||22,192||9,229||31,421||18,590||4,460||23,050||-3602||-4,769||-8,371||-16.23||-51.67||-26.64|
|Coastal Zone III||14,484||5,807||20,291||15,623||5,807||21,430||1,139||0||1,139||7.86||0.00||5.61|
|Coastal Zone IV||24,784||13,259||38,043||37,489||14,575||52,064||12,705||1,316||14,021||51.26||9.93||36.86|
|Coastal Zone V||25,616||7,940||33,556||30,626||9,685||40,311||5,010||1,745||6,755||19.56||21.98||20.13|
Sources: 1) For 1985: 1985 Marine Fishery Census of Thailand,p. 284
2) For 1995: 1995 Marine Fishery Census, Whole Country, p. 198
Note: Whole Kingdom: fishermen annual increase = 1.73%; employees annual increase = -0.23%
Table 2.2 Fishermen and fishery employees by intent of involvement in fishery work, 1995
|Fishermen and Employees by Type of Fisheries Engaged||Full Time Fishery Work||%||Part Time Fishery Work||Total||%|
|Mainly Engaged in Fisheries||%||Partly Engaged in Fisheries||%|
|Marine Capture Fisheries||55,747||76.13||9,796||13.38||7,682||10.49||73,225||100|
Culture more than one species
Source: 1995 Marine Fishery Census, Whole Country, p. 126–127
Table 2.3 Population change of fishermen by coastal zone and province between 1985 and 1995
|Zone/Province||1985||1995||Change in Number||% Change|
|Coastal Zone I||13,285||2,910||16,195||16.795||3,727||20,522||3,510||817||4,327||26.42||28.08||26.72|
|Coastal Zone II||22,192||9,229||31,421||18,590||4,460||23.050||-3,602||-4,769||-8.371||-16.23||-51.67||-26.64|
|Coastal Zone III||14,484||5,807||20,291||15,623||5,807||21,430||1,139||0||1.139||7.86||0.00||5.61|
Prachuap Khiri Khan
|Coastal Zone IV||24,784||13,259||38,043||37,489||14,575||52,064||12,705||1,316||14,021||51.26||9.93||36.86|
Nakhon Si Thammarat
|Coastal Zone V||25,616||7,940||33,556||30,626||9,685||40,311||5,010||1,745||6,755||19.56||21.98||20.13|
Sources: 1) For 1985: 1985 Marine Fishery Census of Thailand, p. 284
2) For 1995: 1995 Marine Fishery Census, Whole Country, p. 198