The Adaptation of Fishing Instruments by a Farmers' Community in the Thung Kula Area, in North Eastern Thailand
Worawan Ubonlert, Songkhun Chantachon and Worapol Engwanich
DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2009.112.116
Journal of Social Sciences
Volume 5, Issue 2
Problem statement: In a historical study of the ancient communities in the area of Thung Kula, it was revealed that there are important resources including rice, fish, salt and iron. Salt is used in making fermented fish (known locally as Pla Daek), a culinary culture which has been prevalent in the ethnic groups of Laos and Khmer. The availability of rice and fish in Thung Kula has continued to this day. Thung Kula farmers have extended their fishing sources from the government-owned places to their own fields or ponds. Approach: They use fishing instruments that had been developed out of folk wisdom in combination with the new technology in order to increase the fishing yields adequate for their own consumption and for commerce. The present research aimed to study the adaptation of fishing instruments of the farmers at Ban Ta Yuak, Thung Luang sub-district, Suwannaphum district, Roi-Et province. The studied area was Thung Kula in the North East of Thailand. The research method was qualitative. Data were collected from relevant documents and from field studies with 25 informants. Structured and unstructured interviews were conducted with local tradesmen, consumers, fishing-instrument shop owners. Results: The results were presented descriptively below. The adaptation of fishing instruments of Ban Ta Yuak farmers began with the increased population, the changing ecological systems as a result of the government’s construction of reservoirs, canals, public ponds and the market-oriented economy which had attracted the local fishing markets across the Thung Kula area. Ban Ta Yuak farmers have then adapted their fishing instruments to fit the available kinds of fish and the ecological systems of the local water sources. With assistance from the government, the farmers have their own fishing ponds. It was found that prior to the application of the national economic and social plan of 1962 these farmers created simple fishing instruments such as Sai (a bamboo fish trap), Sawing (a hand net), Hae (a cast net), Sum (a coop-like cover-trap) out of locally available materials like bamboos, vines, jute or cotton threads. In 1963, the Ban Ta Yuak farmers started using fishing instruments that combined natural materials with technological devices available in the markets. Presently, there are 9 kinds of them: A fish-trapping hole (replacing Hai or a earthen jar) made with a plastic bucket or pip (a tin container) the opening of which was covered with a nylon knitted net, sum (a coop-like cover-trap) made in a large size from bamboo strips and nylon strings with a wide opening and a frame of steel wires (instead of bamboo strips) covered with nylon nets, Yor (a dip net), Sawing (a hand net) with a metal hoop and nylon meshes (instead of jute or cotton ones), Hae (a cast net), Uan (a seine), Mong or a small seine-like fishing net traditionally made with knitted cotton threads, but presently made with synthetic fibers, fishing spears whose handles were made with Plaslon or PVC pipes, Lorb (a fish trap) and Sai (a fish trap), presently made with bamboo and nylon strings. Other fishing equipment included Khong (a fish container), Krasang (a floating fish basket), Takra (a fish basket) which were made wholly from synthetic fibers instead of bamboo or from a bamboo framework covered with knitted nylons. Conclusion/Recommendations: Adaptation of fishing instruments (by integrating synthetic materials) is appropriate and useful in that it saved the time in searching for usable natural materials and the community’s natural resources were preserved. Moreover, smaller fish were allowed to live and reproduce since the fishing instruments were designed for larger fish to be sold in local markets. It enabled the farmers to earn extra income by catching and selling fish.
© 2009 Worawan Ubonlert, Songkhun Chantachon and Worapol Engwanich. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.