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Socio-Economic Condition and Livelihood Status of the Fisherman Community at Muradnagar Upazila in Cumilla.


Muradnagar is an Upazila of Cumilla District in the Division of Chittagong, Bangladesh. This Upazila is situated at 35.42 km from Cumilla proper and very close to Gumti river.

Gumti River originates from Dumur inside the northeastern hilly place of Tripura state of India. From its source, it flows approximately a hundred and fifty km along a meandering path through the hills, turns west and enters Bangladesh close to Katak Bazar (Cumilla proper). The Gumti is a rocky river having a strong current. Its flow varies from 100 to 20,000 cusec at Cumilla. Tides influence the Gumti up to Daudkandi, but upstream it is free from tidal effects. Based on the river, there is a lot of fishing and fish farming activities occurred by the rural people.

Freshwater fish farming plays an essential role in the livelihoods of rural people in Bangladesh [1]. Freshwater fish farming is likely to be a primary activity which may have a significant impact on the daily life of rural people in Bangladesh [1]. A large number of rural people depends directly or indirectly on fish farming for their livelihood. Among them, many are below the poverty level and engaged as farmers, operators, employees, traders, intermediaries, day labourers and transporters [2]. Moreover, fish farming in the pond appears to be a profitable business compared to rice cultivation. Currently, rural farmers are found to convert their rice field into aquaculture pond [3]. We know that Bangladesh is a riverine country. About 700 rivers including tributaries flow through the country. Although few fish farmers in rural areas accepted pond aquaculture as their secondary occupation, most of them involved in fish farming, this is the typical scenario of rural people livelihood in Bangladesh. However, it may vary from one area to another area. In broad aspects, livelihood includes the capabilities, assets and activities, which are essential for continuing daily life. In another way, the components which can cope with and recover from stress and shocks can be considered as a livelihood [4]. Rural livelihood diversification is defined because the technique via which rural livelihood construct a more and more diverse portfolio of functions and belongings with a purpose to survive and to enhance they're widespread of living [5]. Household combines their livelihood resources within the limit of their contact and utilize their institutional connections to pursue many different livelihood strategies. Strategies can consist of diverse styles of production and earnings-generating functions (e.g., agricultural production, farm employment, formal sector employment etc.) or processing and exchange activities (e.g., informal sector traders, merchants, commodity processors, etc.) or some combination of two. Household Livelihood Security (HLS) analysis should determine the livelihood strategy portfolios that different households pursue and the classical pathway they have taken. The present study aims to study the socio-economic condition and livelihood status of fishermen community at Muradnagar Upazila in Cumilla, Bangladesh.


Study area

The study was conducted at Muradnagar Upazila under the district of Cumilla, which is near to Gumti river. According to Upazila Fisheries Officer (UFO), there was 1748 fisherman directly or indirectly depend on capturing fish from Gumti river. The study period was from February 2019 to July 2019.

Data collection

The present study was based on field survey where primary data were collected from 40 fishers who were involved in fishing. According to Dillion and Hardaker [6] there are three methods by which survey and data can be gathered, including direct observation, interviewing respondents and record kept by respondents.

Data processing and analysis

Recorded data were presented mostly in the tabular form because it is simple in a calculation, widely used and easy to understand. After data entry, all the collected information were accumulated and analyzed by MS Excel and then presented in tabular and graphical forms to understand the present socioeconomic condition and livelihood structure of the fishermen community.


The present finding shows that the fisherman community depends on their livelihood to the fishing and fishing-related activities. For clear understanding the entire scenario regarding their socio-economic condition, several parameters were considered such as house type, educational level, occupation, sanitation, electricity facilities, cropland, daily and monthly income, fishing asset, drinking water source, treatment facilities, school-going children, members of their family etc.

Age structure

The maximum number (45%) of fisherman were young aged ranging from 20-30 years, while the minimum amount (5%) of fishermen were above 50 years (Figure 1). A similar study was also found that the age of the fishermen ranges from 18-45 years [7-9].
Figure 1: Age structure of fishermen.

20-30 years     45%
31-40 years     30%
41-50 years     20%
Above 50 years   5%

Note: Table made from pie chart.


All respondents involved in the fishing, of which 100% were male and no female were found engaged in fishing activities.

Religious status

Hindus had the majority in number (66%) where Muslims had (34%), and there were no Cristian or Buddhist involved in fishing activities. Kabir et al. [10] and Hannan [11] also found that the majority of Hindu people involved in catching fish.

Occupational status

Almost 70% of the fishermen involved in fishing as their primary occupation. However, others were engaged in net making, handicrafts, livestock, agricultural work etc. (Figure 2). Similarly, Bhuyan and Islam, show that 73% of the fishers engaged in fishing.
Figure 2: Occupational status of fishermen.

Fishing      70%
Handicrafts  10%
Net making    7%
Livestock     8%
Agriculture   5%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Educational status

Most of them were illiterate (48%), 32% can sign only, 13% fisherman had education up to primary level, and fisherman who had education level up to secondary level were lowest 7% (Figure 3). However, previous studies show that the rate of uneducated fishermen were 71.12% [12] and 66.63% [13] , which is inconsistent with the present findings.
Figure 3: Educational status of fishermen.

Iliterate            48%
Can sign only        32%
Primary education    13%
Secondary education   7%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Marital status

The fisherman was mostly married. Only 6% of the fisherman were unmarried who ranged up to 25 years.

Family size

In the study area, 70% of families of the fishermen were joints, and 30% of families were nuclear (Table 1). In contrast, fishermen around the Marjat Baor at Kaligonj, Jenidah having 44% joint and 56% nuclear family [14].

Annual income

About 60% of the fisherman had a yearly income between BDT 50000 to 70000, and 35% of the respondents had income in the range BDT 80000 to 100000 about 5% of the fishermen had income over then BDT 100000 (Figure 4). The present finding is more or less similar to the previous studies where they show the annual income of subsistence fishermen (72%) varies from BDT 40000 to 60000 [7].
Figure 4: Annual incomes of fishermen.

50000-70000   60%
80000-100000  35%
Above 100000   5%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Housing condition

In the study area, a tin shade house was 90%, while the cottage house was 10% (Table 2). Although fishermen are poor, they live in their own home. Similarly, Ahamed [13] found that 92.22% of people likely to live in their own house.

Health facilities

Health condition of fishermen was not so good probably due to lacking proper nutritional diet. They depend on nearby Upazila Health Complex and village doctor for medication. Similar health facilities also reported by Ali et al., [15] ; Bhuyan and Islam, [7] ; Kabir et al. [10].

Drinking water facilities

About 80% of fishermen have their tube-well, whereas 20% of fishermen use neighbour tube-well for drinking purpose. The present finding is consistent with another previous study where 82% of fishermen use tube-well for their daily purposes [14].

Sanitation facilities

Three major types of sanitary facilities are personal, jointed, and community sanitation in the study area. At present, 75% of fishermen have private sanitation facilities, followed by 19% jointed and 6% community-based sanitary facility (Figure 5). Besides, Kacha toilet system was dominated (56%). Only 4% of fishermen had building system toilet, and the rest of 25% and 15% fishers had a toilet with semi building and ring & slum respectively (Figure 6).
Figure 5: Sanitary condition of fishermen.

Personal   75%
Jointed    19%
Community   6%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 6: Sanitary facilities of fishermen.

Kacha          56%
Ring and slub  15%
Semi building  25%
Building        4%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Electricity facilities

In the study area, 85% of the fishermen had electricity facilities, whereas 15% had no electricity facilities at the residence (Table 3). The present results suggest there is an excellent electricity facility in the study area.

Loan for fishermen

The fishermen take a loan from different NGOs like Proshika, BRAC and different somobaysomitti for several reasons including boat construction, net buying, marriage, food and medicine etc. Similar findings also reported by Bhuyan and Islam [7] (Table 4).


Socio-economic condition and livelihood structure of farmer of the study area is not satisfactory. The fishermen were deprived of many rights. Besides, the availability of fish in Gumti River is being reduced due to environmental and human made activities such as overfishing and illegal fishing during banning season, using of restricted gear, siltation and social problem among the fishermen and as a whole due to absence of management policy. Most of the fishermen are not interested in agricultural works. During banning season, they are involved in net making, handicrafts, cutting soil, agrarian activities etc. All of the women members of the study communities remain unemployed, and they were housewife. The annual income of the fishermen depends on the fishing assets, activity during banning period, subsidy by the government, family members, alternative income source and loan are taken from various NGOs.

In order to enhance the current state of affairs of the fishermen, numerous measures could be made. Pollution from industries should be managed. The educational group need to be set up in fishing villages to improve their educational condition. The authorities ought to deliver loans for them at a low-interest charge and create alternative activity possibility in off-top season. Local Government, NGOs need to play an essential role in enhancing the sanitation gadget. Increase of public cognizance through the various publications and publicity for shielding fishery sources have to be executed. Organization of fishery co-operative society should be formulated.


We thank the fishermen community for their kind cooperation, which helps to fulfil our study purpose. We are also grateful to the Department of Fisheries and Marine Science for approval of doing such kind of research.


Authors have no conflict of interest. We have not received any potential source of funding for this research.


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Md Kamal Uddin, Md Robiul Hasan (*) , Shyamal Kumar Paul and Tasnim Sultana

Fisheries and Marine Science Department, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Noakhali-3814, Bangladesh

(*) Correspondence to: Md Robiul Hasan, Department of Fisheries and Marine Science, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Noakhali-3814, Bangladesh, Tel: +8801718589668; E-mail:

Received: April 22, 2020; Accepted: July 24, 2020; Published: July 31, 2020

doi: 10.35248/2150-3508.20.11.279
Table 1: Family type of fishermen.

 Type of family  Number of fishermen  Percentage

Joint                   28                70%
Nuclear                 12                30%

Table 2: Housing condition of fishermen.

 Housing condition  Number  Percentage

Tin shed              36        90%
Cottage                4        10%

Table 3: Availability of electricity.

  Use of electricity   Number  Percentage

Electricity available    34       85%
No electricity            6       15%

Table 4: Use of loan in different purpose.

    Use of loan         Number  Percentage

Boat construction          8        20%
Net buying or making      12        30%
Household construction    14        35%
Food                       2         5%
Marriage                   4        10%
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Research Article
Author:Uddin, Md Kamal; Hasan, Md Robiul; Paul, Shyamal Kumar; Sultana, Tasnim
Publication:Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Aug 1, 2020
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