3.1. Study Sites
Manikganj is one of the highly vulnerable districts in Bangladesh (Islam et al. 2013a
). Two villages—Andharmanik and Dhulsura under Harirampur upazila
(sub-district) of this district were selected as the study sites. These villages are located on the Padma riverbank (Figure 2
) which is already affected by climate variability and changes (Islam 2004
; Bhuiyan et al. 2008
; Vineis et al. 2011
). Therefore, the impacts of climate variability and changes on the Padma River consequently affected the lives and livelihoods of fishers’ dependent on it. The study sites are located about 70 km far from Dhaka city and it takes about 4 h to reach the study sites from Dhaka by bus. Every year a number of storms (winds speed 48 knots to 63 knots) hit the area. The nor’westers (Kalbaisakhi
) usually hit the study area in May–April. The most devastating tornadoes in 1989 hit the Manikganj district, killing 800 people (Paul and Bhuiyan 2004
). The study sites were severely affected by the floods in 1988 (Islam and Sado 2000
) and 2004 (Shoji 2010
) that caused a great physical and financial loss to the households.
River bank erosion is also a regular phenomenon in the Padma River. In 2007 and 2008, Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) built an 1800 m long embankment in Andharmanik to protect the upazila
town from the Padma riverbank erosion. But recently it is affected by the Padma riverbank erosion which is threatening the upazila
complex compound, upazila
health complex, police station, rest house and the 200 years old Andharmanik bazar. The detailed information of the studied communities are presented in Table 1
and described below.
The studied village-1, Andharmanik, has 4161 people in 982 households whereas studied village-2, Dhulsura, has 992 people in 254 households. In Andhamanik, the literacy rate was 68.6% (BBS 2011
), whereas in Dhulsura the literacy rate was 57.9% (BBS 2011
). There are two non-government primary schools which are the only formal educational institutions in Dhulsura. There are no government office, public or private hospital in Dhulsura. People with medical needs visit the nearby town Bandura which is about 25 km away from Dhulsura. Some common medicines are available in local pharmacies in Ghoshayl bazar which is about 1.30 km away from Dhulsura. Only one small bazar with three tea stalls, five groceries, two tailors, one electronic, one mosque and one temple is there. In Dulsura, people have no access to piped water supply. People (92.1%) used tube-well water for drinking (BBS 2011
) that contains harmful arsenic (As) (from reconnaissance study). Tube well water also contains high concentrations of iron (Fe). So, people use locally filtered river water of uncertain quality for household works. In Dhulsura 30.2% of households have electricity access (BBS 2011
In both study villages, the villagers are involved in fishing, agriculture, driving vehicles, fish trading, boat making, agricultural labor, household working, firewood selling, shop keeping, livestock rearing, aquaculture and in informal credit (loan) systems. Dhulsura has a smaller number of fishers than Andharmanik. The fishers who are directly dependent on the Padma River for their livelihoods, live nearby the river bank. The fishers live in clusters and the place is known as “Majhi Para” or “Jele Para” or “Halder Para” or “Rajbongshi Para.” All the fishers’ primary occupation is fishing in the Padma River. Some fishers have alternative livelihood options alongside fishing, such as fish trading, agriculture, daily labor, auto driving and firewood selling.
The usual fishing duration is 6 to 12 h per day which is extended when more fish are available in catch. There are two main fishing seasons: rainy (May to September) and winter (November to February). In these seasons, the fishers’ fish about 10 to 16 h per day, although there are a few days (during rough weather, physical weakness etc.) when fishing does not take place. During the other three months of the year (March, April and October), the fishers either stop fishing or reduce fishing duration per day due to the occurrence of the local severe storms. The frequency of devastating nor’westers (Kalbaishakhi) is usually at a maximum in April. During that time of the year, the local fishers repair their fishing boats, nets and traps and migratory fishers go back their home.
Both study sites have “Arat” (fish auction center) at the bank of the Padma River. Fishers bring their catches to the nearby arat to sell. However, the fishers who have taken “Dadon” (advance money) from “Aratdars” (commission agents) or “Mohajons” (money lenders) through an informal loan system, are bound to bring/sell their catches to the respective aratdar/mohajon. In the arat a small portion of fish (known as “Khoraki” fish) are taken by the aratdar/mohajons as commission which was 5% of total catch in both the study sites.
There were no significant programs or activities from different institutions, particularly from the government and NGOs, which considered specific arrangement for the development of migratory and non-migratory fishers. However, micro-credit programs have been implementing by the NGOs as regular activities but they do not have any specific considerations for the fishers.
3.2. Migratory and Non-Migratory Fishers in the Study Sites
In this study, migration means seasonal or periodic movement of the fishers from one region or climate to another in accordance with the movement of fisheries or for better fishing activities. Fishers’ seasonal migration is often undertaken to improve the socio-economic status of the household or fulfillment of their occupation. So, fishers who migrate to other areas are known as migrants/migratory fishers and those who do not migrate, they are known as non-migratory/local fishers. There are migratory fishers who come from different districts of Bangladesh, mainly from Sirajganj, Pabna, Barisal and Jamalpur. They come to the Padma River for a season (or shorter in the absence of enough catch) leaving their family behind and often live inside boats. They use large mechanized boats (8.5 Horse power) and, seine and gill nets for fishing. In each boat, there is a leader and 8–12 crews who catch fish for 2–16 h daily. Each group of migratory fishers has a leader who is known as “Mohajon
” and usually takes most of the decisions on the boat during fishing. A comparative description between migratory and non-migratory fishers is given in Table 2
. The migratory fishers are fully involved in fishing activities over generations. Therefore, their fishing equipment’s are of less variety but bigger and more efficient and also possesses mechanized boats in all cases. In contrast, non-migratory fishers’ fishing gears are comprised by a small cast net and lift net along with seine or gill nets.
The migratory fishers generally use large seine and gill net for fishing but no fishing traps, spears, lines and hooks. Depending on their fish catch, they usually stay at one area for one to two months or more before migrating to another area. Similarly, their fishing duration per day varies between 12 to 16 h depending on their catches. In Dhulsura, this study found about 8–9 migratory fishing boats who came from different districts. The migratory fishers usually set their nets in the river in early morning after selling their catches at the nearby arat. The money is equally distributed to all members but if one has more share to the ownership of the boat/nets, then he gets money in proportionate to his share. Generally, they stay on the boat throughout day-night.
Depending on the types of nets and gears used for fishing, the amount of catch varies. Fish selling price also varies depending on fish size, species and quality and therefore, fishers’ annual income varies. From household interviews, this study found that seine and gill net (such as ber jal, current jal) users’ annual income was higher than other groups. About 26% migratory fishers had annual income above Tk. 60,000, since they used large seine and gill nets for fishing. In contrast, the non-migratory fishers who used only cast net and lift net their annual income was lower than other fishers.
3.3. Data Collection
Both primary and secondary data were collected through mixed method approaches. The total number of households of non-migratory fishers’ was 111, according to the data collected from the Horirampur upazila
Fisheries Office but there was no list for migratory fishers.’ The total number of respondents was 73 (41 from Andharmanik and 32 from Dhulsura) including 19 migratory and 54 non-migratory fishers. A semi-structured questionnaire was designed following De Vaus
) and adapted to collect data from migratory and non-migratory fishers, who were selected by using simple random sampling method. The length of an interview was between 45 min to 1 h. The interviews were taken either at the respondents’ home or boats.
Five focus group discussions (FGDs) (two with migratory and three with non-migratory fishers) and six key informant interviews were conducted to triangulate the findings of the semi-structured interviews. FGD was conducted with 6–9 fishers of different age groups and it lasted for about 2 h. As the key informants NGO personnel, sub-district government fisheries officer and local government representative, that is, chairman were selected and they were interviewed one-to-one basis to ensure the confidentiality of responses. The key informants’ interview lasted between forty minutes to one and a half hours. All the respondents of this study were male as no female fisher was found. This study also collected 38 years of daily rainfall and temperature data from Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), Dhaka to analysis the trend in rainfall and temperature in the studied area.