Wealth, Poverty, and Immigration: The Role of Institutions in the Fisheries of Tamil Nadu, India

  • Maarten BavinckEmail author


This chapter explores two concurrent processes in the fisheries of Tamil Nadu, India, over the past century: technological modernization and demographic growth. The first process is closely connected to the Blue Revolution instigated by the Government of India after Independence, as well as to the globalization of markets. It has resulted in substantial increases in sectoral wealth. The second process is the increasing size of the fishing population through natural growth and immigration. I situate the poverty that still occurs in Indian fisheries in the confluence of these two processes, arguing that varying institutional arrangements which structure participation have an important effect on poverty’s availability and location. The chapter centers on one particular district – Ramnathapuram – which has witnessed particularly dramatic increases in its fishing population compared to other parts of the South Indian coastline. This has resulted in specific patterns of poverty and riches.


Fishing Population Fishing Ground Trawl Fishery Capture Fishery Legal Pluralism 
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In writing this chapter, I have benefited greatly from the constructive comments of Svein Jentoft, Ratana Chuenpagdee, and other members of the PovFish group. I am also grateful to the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and particularly to the IDPAD program which funded my Ramnad research under Project Nr 5.2.110 entitled: Cooperation in a Context of Crisis: Public-Private Management of Marine Fisheries in South Asia. Appreciation is extended to the Norwegian Research Council for funding the PovFish project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Geography, Planning, and International Development StudiesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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