The inland traditional fishers, such as those from riverine, estuarine, reservoirs, and wetlands of India, are primarily dependent on natural waters for their livelihoods. Governments at various levels have made several efforts, including decentralization of management rights, promotion of cooperatives and formation of self-help groups, to develop the fisheries. Despite these efforts, production from most of the culture-based inland fishery waters (particularly adopting fish stock enhancements) is below potential, as a vast gap is observed between the potential and existing fish production. There is immense potential for increasing the fishing effort, production and income. Capture fishery resources, particularly in the riverine fisheries, are declining due to resource degradation and excessive exploitation. The impact of fisheries developmental programmes instituted by government agencies like the National Fisheries Development Board are hardly recognised on fisheries communities due to the multiple-use common pool resource nature of the fishing resource. Comprehensive investigations on the socioeconomic status of riverine fisher communities are rare. The present investigation studies the socioeconomic conditions of riverine fisher communities in different regions of India. The study covered six states of five regions in India: Uttar Pradesh in the North; Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the South; Orissa and West Bengal in the East; Gujarat in the West; Assam in the northeastern region. The overall socioeconomic index results concluded that almost all the regions have achieved only 46% to 52% of the socioeconomic criteria studied. Institutional financial support for alternate income generation activities; organisation under self-help groups, and vocational training for fisherwomen to undertake alternate income-generating activities during the closed/off season are some of the suggestions resulting from the investigation.

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