The adaptation of fishing instruments by a farmers' community in the Thung Kula area, in North Eastern Thailand.

Author:Ubonlert, Worawan


Ban Ta Yuak Farmers' Community is located in Thung Luang Sub-District, Suwannaphum District, Roi-Et province. Ancestors of a portion of the community population were Khmers who migrated from Tha Tum District in Surin province. Originally, Thai-Lao people have settled down in this community. The part of the community called "Ban Sarai-Ta Yuak" is most abundant with fish. Fishing instruments such as Sai (a fish trap), Lorb (a fish trap) and Sum (a coop-like cover-trap) are made from locally and naturally available materials such as bamboos, jute or cotton threads. In 1962, the government had developed a large number of new reservoirs, canals and ponds in the Thung Kula area which encouraged the Ban Ta Yuak farmers to modify their fishing instruments in order to catch more fish so as to satisfy the increasing population's consumption and commercial needs. The increase of markets in the Thung Kula area also motivated the fishing instrument adjustment (2).

In modifying their fishing instruments, it was found that the farmers in the community used synthetic materials available in the markets in conjunction with naturally available materials such as bamboos. This manner of adjustment has been made too many kinds of fishing instruments. For example, Lorb and Sai (fish traps) are now made with bamboo frameworks held together with nylons and Hai (a fish-trapping earthen jar) has been replaced by Pip (a tin container). Synthetic fibers are bought from the markets and used instead of natural or cotton threads because of their tougher quality and the decrease of natural materials (caused by the increasing population). The adaptation of fishing instruments reflects the human's way of thinking in their dependence upon the water resources by catching, consuming and selling fish caught in various ecological systems. Fish have become commercial animals in the Thung Kula community. The farmers have earned incomes from both rice-farming and fishing. They also have preserved the local forests more effectively due to the decreased use of bamboos in making fishing instruments.


Area of the study: In studying the analyzed area of Ban Ta Yuak Farmers' Community which is located in Thung Luang Sub-District, Suwannaphum District, Roi-Et province, a qualitative approach was adopted. Data were obtained from relevant documents and field work which included 25 informants consisting of 10 farmers, 5 tradesmen, 5 fishing-instrument shop owners and 5 consumers. The interviews were conducted in both structured and unstructured manners. The results will be presented descriptively.


The changes of the Ban Ta Yuak Farmers' Community and the adaptation of their fishing instruments in the changing ecological systems: During the years 1962-1963, the government had ordered the construction of the new roads from Suwannaphum to Tha Tum Districts and the connection of all the main and rural roads. This has made possible and convenient the transportation, commute and relationship between different communities. The government had also improved the irrigation system which enabled the population in the area to grow plants, raise animals and catch fish. Life quality of Ta Yuak community residents have improved since then. There are a lot of fishing places within the Ban Ta Yuak community and the neighboring areas. This community is famous for its fishing capacity and resources, especially in the watery season between August and October. A lot of people thus flock into the area to catch fish. It has been said that "There is no place with more fish than in Ban Sarai-Ta Yuak" The visiting fishermen usually stay camping in the area for months while fish traders will also come to the place to buy fish from them at fair prices (3).

The economic and social changes took place. The...

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