Majuli Cultural Landscape Management Authority
...Promoting and preserving the rich heritage of Majuli

CULTURE - FISHING

Rural women on the way to community fishing

Fishing has been the traditional occupation of the Kaivarta community since the time of human habitation on the island. The land form, its water level, aquatic plants and seasonal variations are the guiding and significant factors of the occupation. It plays a significant role in maintaining the natural cycle and hence sustaining the ecological value of the area. Fishing is one of the main sources of livelihood for a section of people in Majuli. It is practiced by mostly scheduled caste and tribes like Mishings and Deories. The different types of water bodies of Majuli Island are the main resources. They include the wet land, marshy land, ponds, rivulets etc. Different fishing techniques have been evolved by man based on the level of water and probability of fishes.

PROCESS
The techniques employed for fishing change with the change in season. Hence, the tools used for fishing also vary according to requirements in each season. Usually during floods fishing is prohibited as it is time for fertilization and migration of fishes into depressions. Occasional fishing is practiced by the communities. They prepare special fishing traps like polo, dingora etc.

Community fishing i.e. by using small baskets is low during this season. Fish traps are especially made and put along the embankments against the water flow. During post monsoon season, water level in different water bodies recedes and it allows fishing. In this season fishermen are predominantly dependent of wet lands and marshy land. The scale of fishing increases and they get used for commercial purposes. Fishes collected from flowing water channels are prepared as dried fish for its consumption at local level as well as for commercial purposes. Bamboo bed is prepared at the river bank for drying of fishes. This is predominantly carried out by Mishing and Deoris. During winter season fishing becomes predominant. Fish is one of the most marketed commodities during this time.

TRADITIONAL TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES

Fishing nets

Different traditional instruments have been designed at local level for fishing in different areas. The tools have been designed as per the water level and probability of getting fishes of different types. Varieties of fishing nets are as following:

Some of the traditional fish catching instruments used by the communities in Majuli are:

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