Indigenous knowledge of the fishing community of Indian Sundarbans

Indigenous Knowledge can be defined as expertise, skills, practices, ideas, experiences and information gained over a long period, sustained and passed on from generation to generation orally within a community in a particular geographic area, often forming part of its culture. The Sundarbans, the largest remaining tract of coastal mangrove wetlands in the world are surrounded by rivers, rivulets, and creeks pushing the islanders to pursue fishing as a source of subsistence. The present paper has sought to understand how the fishing community of the Sundarbans draws upon his repertoire of knowledge and beliefs to cope with the world in which it finds itself. This has required an understanding of not only the Sundarban’s natural world, but its geomorphology, hydrology and also the social world—the people, economy, administration, and governance. Using the ethnographic method, this empirical study deals with the fishers’ means and measures i.e. beliefs, cognitive elements, and techniques—while often preserving the traditional fabric, have evolved with time. This unique and effective indigenous knowledge needs to be conserved. Documentation of the existing valid indigenous knowledge with fishers’ perception as well as scientific rationale will help in adoption and further improvement to fulfil the present need of the people.