Learning from the Experts: Attaining Sufficiency in Small-Scale Fishing Communities in Thailand

  • Ratana ChuenpagdeeEmail author
  • Kungwan Juntarashote


Small-scale fishing communities in Thailand cannot be readily classified as poor when compared to other non-fishing sectors in rural areas, or the “urban poor.” Rather, fishers have often referred to the concept of “sufficiency” as a measure of life satisfaction, which often means making ends meet and having a supportive network in case of emergency. While all were faced with changes brought about by industrialized fishing, coastal development, and globalization, some fishing communities seem to possess higher levels of capability to stay afloat, thus maintaining a satisfying level of sufficiency. From a governance perspective, learning about why some communities are better at coping and averting poverty, is useful to help those who are less able, as well as to prevent others from falling into a poverty trap. This chapter reports the findings from a study conducted in small-scale fishing villages in four provinces in Thailand that differ in geography and context, with the aim to understand their coping strategies and the poverty-averting potentials.


Fishing Community Artificial Reef Poverty Trap Fishing Household Interactive Governance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the Norwegian Research Council for funding the PovFish project, and the PovFish team members, especially Svein Jentoft and Maria-Victoria Gunnarsdottir, for their inputs. We thank all the key informants who provided us with information about their fisheries and their lives. We also appreciate the help from Daracha Thiammueang in identifying key informants and in data collection. Ratana Chuenpagdee acknowledges support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Canada Research Chairs program.


  1. Anuchiracheeva S, Ganesh HD, Shivakoti P, Ruddle K (2003) Systematizing local knowledge using GIS: fisheries management in Bang Saphan Bay, Thailand. Ocean Coast Manage 46:1049–1068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrett CB (2008) Smallholders market participation: concepts and evidence from eastern and southern Africa. Food Policy 33:299–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Béné C (2003) When fishery rhymes with poverty: a first step beyond the old paradigm on poverty in small-scale fisheries. World Dev 31:949–975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chang SE, Adams BJ, Alder J, Berke PR, Chuenpagdee R, Ghosh S, Wabnitz C (2006) Coastal ecosystems and tsunami protection after the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Earthquake Spectra 22(S3):S863–S887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Christie P (2005) Is integrated coastal management sustainable? Ocean Coast Manage 48:208–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chuenpagdee R, Knetsch JL, Brown TC (2001) Environmental damage schedules: community judgments of importance and assessment of losses. Land Econ 77(1):1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dierberg FE, Kiattisimkul W (1996) Issues, impacts, and implications of shrimp aquaculture in Thailand. Environ Manage 20(5):649–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. DoF (2002) Census of fishing households 2000. Statistical Unit, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  9. FAO (2009) FAO country profile – Thailand, national fishery sector overview 2009. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  10. Fuller SD, Picco C, Ford J, Tsao CF, Morgan L, Hangaard D, Chuenpagdee R (2009) How we fish matters: addressing the ecological impacts of Canadian fishing gear. VancouverGoogle Scholar
  11. Jentoft S, Chuenpagdee R, Bundy A, Mahon R (2010a) Pyramids and roses: alternative images for the governance of fisheries systems. Mar Policy 34:1315–1321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jentoft S, Onyango P, Islam MM (2010b) Freedom and poverty in the fishery commons. Int J Commons 4(1):345–366Google Scholar
  13. Juntarashote K, Chuenpagdee R (1991) Small-scale fisheries of Thailand. In: Durand JD, Lemoalle J, Weber J (eds) Research and small-scale fisheries. IFREMER/ORSTOM, ParisGoogle Scholar
  14. Kooiman J, Jentoft S (2009) Meta-Governance: values, norms and principles, and the making of hard choices. Pub Adm 87(4):818–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kooiman J, Bavinck M, Jentoft S, Pullin R (2005) Fish for life: interactive governance for fisheries. Amsterdam University Press, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  16. Krongkaew M (2003) The philosophy of sufficiency economy. Kyoto review of Southeast Asia, Issue 4, Regional Economic Integration, Oct 2003Google Scholar
  17. MoI (2008) National report on quality of life in rural areas. Information Centre for Rural Development, Ministry of Interior (in Thai)Google Scholar
  18. Morgan L, Chuenpagdee R (2003) Shifting gears: addressing the collateral impacts of fishing methods in US waters, Pew science series. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  19. Narayan D, Chambers R, Shah MK, Petesch P (2000) Voices of the poor: crying out for change. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nasuchon N, Charles A (2009) Community involvement in fisheries management: experiences in the gulf of Thailand countries. Mar Policy 34:163–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. NRC (2002) Effects of trawling and dredging on seafloor habitat. National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  22. Pauly D, Chuenpagdee R (2003) Development of fisheries in the gulf of Thailand large marine ecosystems: analysis of an unplanned experiment. In: Hempel G, Sherman K (eds) Large marine ecosystems of the world: trends in exploitation, protection, and research. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp 337–354Google Scholar
  23. Princen T (2005) The logic of sufficiency. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  24. Sachs W (1999) Planet dialectics: explorations in environment and development. Zed Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Scherr SJ (2000) A downward spiral? Research evidence on the relationship between poverty and natural resource degradation. Food Policy 25:479–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sen A (2000) Development as freedom. Anchor Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. TRF (2006) Economic sufficiency. The Office of Thailand Research Fund, Government of Thailand, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  28. UNDP (2000) Human development report 2000. United Nations Development Programme, Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Watling L, Norse EA (1998) Disturbance of the seabed by mobile fishing gear: a comparison with forest clear-cutting. Conserv Biol 12:1189–1197Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Coastal Network, Department of GeographyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Coastal Development Centre, Faculty of FisheriesKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand

Personalised recommendations