Sallapudi David Brynerd is a versatile researcher having research and field experience in the areas of Anthropology, Poverty and Microfinance, Natural Resource Management, Technology Transfer, Employment Generation, Health, Women empowerment, besides his core research on “COMMONS”. Currently,
serving UIDAI as Manager (Communications) also pursuing his PhD in the Dept of Anthropology, University of Hyderabad, India. An anthropologist by trainingand Development professional by Profession have had experience of working in National and International Projects deals with Women Empowerment(Velugu Project) and Young Lives: An International Study on Childhood Poverty, Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project(APRLP), CARE(APSIP), Health Management Research Institute(HMRI). While keeping his academic vigor also interested in documenting Innovative Practices of Farmers/ entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas have had some impact on the communities. As a research scholar carried out intensive field work among Fishing communities for over a decade and recorded their customs, norms, self-governance patterns, and worldview apart from their Indigenous Knowledge systems. In NIRD he contributed immensely for the successful implementation of Technology Transfer Progarmme (ToT) in 5 backward states of India covering one lakh households. With regard to his writings, he penned a wonderful thesis on:” Ecosystemic Study of a Fishing Community in Andhra Pradesh which is regarded as a masterpiece in the field of Anthropological inquiry. Out of his systematic fieldwork over the years among fishing communities he is preparing an informative Ph.D thesis to submit the same to the University of Hydearbad.


In India very few research studies have focused on the indigenous institutions of fishing communities, associated customary rights and governance structure. Especially in India, the focus on indigenous institutions in fishing sector is not well documented by the researchers. This paper is an outcome of rigorous anthropological investigation into the indigenous knowledge and practices of the fisher folk in Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Indigenously evolved institutional form, “Valakatlu”, is still in vogue in the fishing villages of Indian coasts. This institution provides fish catch to the share-cropper (the right comes through lineage as ancestral immovable right) on the day of their turn (Vantu). Another institution “Ayyalu”, a community institution, includes both consanguineal and affinal kin members as partners while exploiting the resources in a given boundary of waters. After taking up aquaculture as a lucrative business in 1980s, the fishing community in the study area has withdrawn their attention in the traditional institutions. However, the recurrent huge losses in aqua farming motivated the community to reconstitute these indigenous institutions of higher social, economic, religious and ecological value. These common property institutions are self-governance structures that deal with rules and regulations, allocation of rights over territories, investment patterns, steering committee elections, transfer of rights, sanctions on violators of norms, etc. While narrating the structure and pattern of these institutions, the paper primarily examines the role of indigenous institutions in shaping socio-economic fabric of the fishing community. Secondly, it proposes to look at how these institutions are made use of by the community for creating sustainable livelihoods while conserving the resource base. Thirdly, it examines the community’s perspective of livelihood options derived out of rural developmental programs (State sponsored) and the livelihood choices carved out of rich natural resource base. The proposed paper probes into as to how the fishing community has become resilient by exploiting the benefits of natural resource bases and also rural development programs over the years.