Dependency, Exploitation and Poverty among the Labourers of the Fishing Community

  •  S. M. Ayoob    
  •  M. A.M. Fowsar    


The fishing community is mainly dependent on the harvest of fisheries resources to meet their social and economic needs. More than two million people in Sri Lanka are directly or indirectly dependent on the exploitation of fisheries resources. The wage labourers who are engaged in fishing are severely impacted by poverty even though they make a significant contribution to the economy of the country. With regard to this, this study focused on how dependency and exploitation have shaped the life of the poor wage labourers in the fishing community, based on Andre Gunder Frank’s Dependency theory. Most of the labourers in the fishing community suffer a poor living standard. They are badly exploited by some other actors operating in their working environment. The investors (Mudhalalis) and intermediaries are the people who exploit the labour of the poor fishermen and turn them into dependent people through loans provided by them. Poverty, inadequate housing, poor health, illness and treatment, education of children, inadequate infrastructural facilities, and family problems including domestic violence were found to be the causes of dependency and exploitation of the fishing community. These issues need to be addressed to enhance standard of living of the fishing community.

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