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Indian Journal of Social Research Vol.53 (4) (July - Aug, 2012) (299 - 310)

SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRENDS AMONG BLACK CLAM FISHING COMMUNITY OF VEMBANAD LAKE, KERALA

Suja Nagampoozhi
Principal Investigator
WoS-A Scheme (DST)
Molluscan Fisheries Division
Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Cochin

K S Mohamed
Molluscan Fisheries Division
Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Cochin

Abstarct

The paper deals with the demography and socio-economic status of black clam fishermen of Vembanad Lake. Detailed information on the problems associated with the black clam fishery and the fishing community are also included. The study was conducted in eight black clam fishing villages surrounding the Vembanad Lake. The age of clam fishermen ranged from 24 to 78 years. It was found that the present youth shows a lack of interest to clam fishing mainly due to the low returns offered by it. Majority of the respondents have attained primary education (47%) while 12 percent were illiterate. An assessment of experience revealed that many of the fishermen were life long clam harvesters, though they had to quit when their health failed. Only 2 percent have attended trainings or seminars on prospects of clam fisheries. The clam fishermen opined that main factor responsible for taking up this job was to support their family. The survey on the socio-economic characteristics  of the clam fishermen revealed that most of them stay in thatched houses. Their annual earnings from clam harvesting range between Rs. 30,000 to 50,000. The black clam fishery is affected by problems such as dredging, pollution, presence of weeds etc. and the fishing community is affected by occupational health problems, problems in marketing of meat and shell, neglect from government authorities etc.. Suggestions are made to manage the black clam resource of Vembanad Lake in an effective and sustained manner to protect the resource and to enhance the livelihoods of the fishermen associated with it.

Key words: Black clams, Vembanad Lake, Demography, Socio-economic status, Fishery and fishing community problems

INTRODUCTION

CLAMS, a commercially important molluscan fishery resource, are fished for their meat and shell in India. The clam resource of India is comprised of different species. The highly nutritive clam meat is well sought after in domestic as well as international markets. During 2009-10, India exported 560 tonnes (t) of clam meat in frozen, dried, freeze-dried and cooked forms, earning a foreign exchange of Rs. 505.82 lakh (Source: MPEDA, 2010).

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