Fishing communities in India, are not homogenous, as they belong to different castes. These communities have their distinct social, cultural governance structures and traditional practices, depending on the coast, where they inhabit. Atleast 2-3 castes are exclusively involved in marine fishing in each maritime State, and are not related to the mainstream agrarian system.
The community institutions, (such as the caste panchayats, peddalu, padu system etc.,)mostly organized along caste, kinship or religious lines, play an important role in resolving conflicts, besides regulating and allocating resource use, ensuring equitable access to resources and providing some form of social insurance. Most communities have evolved their own management systems over time to regulate human interaction with the resource especially when large number of people bank on a limited resource to avoid conflicts. The evolution of traditional management system depended on the resource and the environment in which the resource existed and the interactions between people to extract these resources (Kurien, 1998).
Besides the traditional caste-based organization of fishing communities, they are also organized into various sectors such as the mechanized sector – boat owner associations, trade unions, cooperatives (both State-run and private), associations based on gear type, self help groups, federations etc
Some of the important fishing castes State-wise include:
- Tamil Nadu: Pattinavars, Mukkuvars, and Paravas
- Andhra Pradesh: Vadabalijas, Jalaris, Pattapu, and Palles
- Orissa: Jalaris, Vadabalijas, Kaibartas, Khandayats, and Rajbhansis
- West Bengal: Kaibartas
- Gujarat: Kharvas, Kolis and Macchiyaras
- Maharashtra: Kolis
- Karnataka: Mogaveeras
- Kerala: Mukkuvar, Anjootty, Dheevera, and Pooislan
Books (Anthropological resources)
- Anthropological Survey of India. 1994-2003. People of India State-wise series.
- Anugraham, D.D. 1940. The fisherfolk of Madras, an economic survey. Ph.D Dissertation. University of Madras, Madras.
- Bharathi, S.B. 1999. Coromandel Fishermen – An ethnography of Pattanavar Subcaste. Pondicherry Institute of linguistics and culture, Pondicherry.and Religion, Tamil Nadu.
- Gomez, Stephen. A sociological study of the Paravar fishermen of Tamil Nadu, Institute of Research in Society
- Kalavathy, M.H. 1985. Ethnical and Socio-Cultural Background of Marine Fishing Communities in Orissa. In U. Tietze, ed. Artisanal marine fisherfolk of Orissa. Cuttack, Vidyapuri.
- Ram, K. 1991. Mukkuvar Women: Gender, hegemony, capitalist transformation in a South Indian fishing community. Kali for Women, New Delhi.
- Raychaudhuri, Bikash. 1980. The moon and net. Anthropological Survey of India, Calcutta.
- Roche, P.A. 1984. Fishermen of the Coromandel – A social study of the Paravas of the Coromandel. Manohar Publications.
- Rosen, Kristina. 1988. Family life in a Kattumaram fishing village in Tamil Nadu, South India. National Swedish Board of Fisheries, Sweden. Fisheries Development Series. No. 33.
- Samuel, G.J. 1998. The Mukkuvar: A fishing community, in Saraswati, B. 1998 (Ed.). Lifestyle and ecology. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi
- Subramanian, Ajantha. 2000. Turbulent waters: State, community and the politics of development in Southern India. Duke University.
- Sundar, Aparna. 2012. Thinking beyond securalism: The catholic church and the political practice in rural south India. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal.
- Thurston, E. and Rangachari, K. 2001. The castes and tribes of Southern India. Cosmo Publications, Delhi (Re-printed).
- Tietze, U. 1985. Artisanal marine fisherfolk of Orissa: Study of their technology, economic status, social organization and cognitive patterns. Vidyapuri, Cuttack.
Books and documents (Fishing communities)
- Blake, Allen Bradley. 1970. Technological change among the coastal marine fishermen of Madras State. Doctoral Thesis. University of Wisconsin.
- Bavinck, M. 2008. Collective strategies and windfall catches: fisher responses to tsunami relief efforts in South India. Transforming Cultures 3 (2) 17 pp.
- Bavinck, M. and D. Johnson 2008. Handling the legacy of the blue revolution in India – social justice and small-scale fisheries in a negative growth scenario. American Fisheries Society Symposium 49: 585-599.
- Bavinck, M. and K. Karunaharan 2006. A history of nets and bans: restrictions on technical innovation along the Coromandel Coast of India. Maritime Studies –MAST 5(1) 45-59
- Bavinck, M. 2001. Marine Resources Management: Conflict and regulation in the fisheries of the Coromandel Coast. Livelihood and Environment – 5. Sage Publications, New Delhi/ Thousand Oaks/London.
- Bavinck, M. 2001. Caste panchayats and regulation of fisheries in Tamil Nadu, Economic and Political Weekly 36 (13): 1088-1094.
- Bavinck, M. 2000. Trawler fishers and the maintenance of social boudaries in Chennai, South India. Presented at the IASCP Conference, Bloomington, Indiana, USA.
- Bavinck, M. 1997. A history of nets and proscriptions; restrictions on technical innovation by artisanal fishing communities along the Coromandel Coast. South Indian Studies 3: 144-64.
- Bavinck, M., 1997. Changing balance of power at sea; motorization of artisanal fishing craft, Economic and Political Weekly, 32 (5), 198-200.
- Couthard, S. The interplay between fishing access and the ability to adapt: Insights from a South Indian fishery. Department of Economics and International Development, University of Bath, U.K
- FAO/UNTRS. 2008. Setting directions for sustainable fisheries and coastal livelihoods in the post tsunami context, India: A report of the interventions by the FAO under the United Nations team for Tsunami Recovery Support. FAO, UNTRS and UNDP. New Delhi.
- Gomathy, N.B. January, 2006. The role of traditional Panchayats in coastal fishing communities in Tamil Nadu, with special reference to their role in mediating Tsumani relief and rehabilitation. Proceedings from the ICSF Post-Tsunami Rehabilitation Workshop.
- Jayaraman. R. 2005. Performance analysis of fisherwomen self help groups in Tamil Nadu. National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development. Download
- Kurien, John. 1995. The Kerala model: Its central tendency and the outlier. Social scientist, Volume 23. No. 1-3 January -March 1995.
- Kurien, John and A.J. Vijayan. 1995. Income spreading mechanisms in common property resource - Karanila system in Kerala's fishery. Economic and Political Weekly. Vol XXX. No.28, July 15.: 1780-86
- Kurien, John. 1991. Traditional versus modern and co-evolutionary development potential: the case of marine fisheries in India. Social Action, Jan-March 1991:29-41
- Kurien, John. 1980. Fishermen's cooperatives in Kerala: A critique. BOBP Newsletter. Madras. 26p.
- Lobe, Kenton and Fikret Berkes. 2004. The padu system of community-based fisheries management: Change and local institutional innovation in South India. Marine Policy.
- Lobe, Kention. 2002. Governance in a small-scale fishery: Local responses and external pressures in Kerala, India. MNRM.
- 1905. Madras fisheries bulletin, Madras Fisheries Department Download
- Mathew, S. 1991. Study of territorial use rights in small-scale fisheries: Traditional systems of fisheries management in Pulicat lake, Tamil Nadu, India. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, October 1991.
- Nayak, Nalini and A.J. Vijayan. 2006. The Coasts, the fish resources and the fishworkers' movement. National Human Rights Commission. Government of India.
- Newport, Jeyanth. K and Godfrey G.P. Jawahar. 2003. Revitalising traditional leadership. COMPAS Magazine.
- Pokrant, Bob; Peter Reeves and John Mc Guire. Riparian rights, the organization of work and market relations among the inland fishers of Colonial Bengal, 1793 to 1950. In Openwater Fisheries of Bangladesh, eds Chu-fa Tsai and M. Youssouf Ali.
- Reeves, Peter. 2002. Regional diversity in South Asian Inland Fisheries: Colonial Bengal and Uttar Pradesh compared. South Asia. Journal of South Asian Studies. 1470-0270, Volume 25, Issue 2: 121-135.
- Reeves, Peter; Bob Pokrant and John McGuire. 1997. The right to the sea: the struggle of artisanal fishers in Kerala since 1980. South Asia Research Unit, Curtin University of Technology. (Draft copy)
- Salagrama, V and Derek Staples. 2008. Marine fisheries sector study: Background paper for Orissa State (Draft report), World Bank.
- Salagrama, V. 2006. Trends in poverty and livelihoods in coastal fishing communities of Orissa State, India. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 49
- Salagrama V 2005. Traditional Community-Based Management Systems in Two Fishing Villages in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh in Stephen Cunningham and Tim Bostock (Eds.) "Successful Fisheries Management: Issues, Case Studies and Perspectives" (Eburon Academic Publishers, 2005).
- Sathyapalan, J. and Johnson, D. 2005. Social Security in the Marine Fisheries Sector of Gujarat State, India. For IDPAD Project 5.2.11 - Co operation in the Context of Crisis: Public private management of marine fisheries in South Asia. MARE, University of Amsterdam
- Scholtens, J. 2006. Fishermen in a Dire Strait – A study on the pressures faced by Rameshwaram trawler fishermen and the diverse scope of implications for the continuation of their livelihood. Institute for Interdisciplinary studies and C.M.Kan Institute, University of Amsterdam, October, 2006.
- Upare, M. Strengthening fisheries cooperatives in Orissa, submitted to United Nations Development Programme. Download
- Vijayan, A.J., Nayak, N. et al. 2007. An expert consultation on coastal fisheries and area co-management in Veraval-Mangrol region of the Saurashtra Coast, August 2007. Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI), Protsahan Ahmedabad Consultation 2007, Protsahan.
- Vivekanandan, V., Muralidharan, C.M. and Subba Rao, M., 1997. A Study of the Marine Fisheries of Andhra Pradesh Draft Report, December 1997 (Revised 2002), BILANCE, Netherlands.
- Vivekananda, V. 2010. Trawl Brawl. SAMUDRA Report 57. November 2010
- Vivekanandan,V. 2005. From the margins to centre stage – Consequences of Tsunami 2004 for the fisher folk of Tamil Nadu. Presented to the Planning Commission, 2005, New Delhi.