Start planning to be part of GAF5!

Chikan embroidery for which Lucknow is famous. Source:

Chikan embroidery for which Lucknow is famous. Source: Wikipedia – chikan emboridery on a saree pallu

The 5th Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries symposium and associated activities (GAF5) will be held from 12-15 November 2014 in Lucknow, India, as part of the 10th Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (10IFAF) of the Asian Fisheries Society Indian Branch. GAF5 is being organized, in association with 10IFAF and the host organization, the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (Lucknow).

Please mark your diaries and start to prepare your abstracts, papers, posters, and videos for GAF5! Visit the 10IFAF website to view critical dates. In particular, note that the final day for abstract submission is 31 July 2014.

All registration and submissions of abstracts will be done through the main channels for 10IFAF. Check out this link for information:

For information on our Organizing Committee, please visit:

Coming soon: shortly, we will announce the draft themes and program for GAF5.

Chandrika Sharma


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A recent photo of Chandrika Sharma, courtesy of Association Tunisienne pour le Developpement de la Pêche Artisanale.

With deep concern we report that Dr Chandrika Sharma, the Executive Secretary of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, is one of the passengers on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 that went missing on early Saturday morning. Chandrika and ICSF are great stalwarts of the struggle for fishworkers rights including the rights of women throughout the sector.

Chandrika was on her way to represent ICSF at an FAO meeting in Mongolia.

To pass on your support to her family, her colleague, Ramya Rajagopalan, has kindly offered to pass on messages of support to her family [].


Women and children first: Gendered and generational change in small scale fisheries in Canada and Norway

Library and Archives, Canada. 1993 postage stamp.

Library and Archives, Canada. 1993 postage stamp.

Barbara Neis, Siri Gerrard and Nicole G. Power have written a reflective paper on the social-ecological systems of cod (Gadus morhua) fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Norway. Their study revealed similarities but also many differences between the ways small scale fishing communities in the two countries have reacted to changes in the fish stocks and the policies that accompanied the changes.

Their paper, “Women and Children First: the Gendered and Generational Socialecology of Smaller-scale Fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador and Northern  Norway,” draws from the great depth of excellent sociological and gender research over the last decades, including especially their own. It explores the impacts since the late 1980s and early 1990s of the Canadian cod stock collapse and of the introduction of a new type of quota system in the Norwegian part of the Norwegian-Russian cod fishery.

They found that the ecological trajectories were very different in both fisheries – the Canadian cod stock has not recovered, but some other fisheries have prospered in its place, while the Norwegian cod stocks are at a record high. However, policy differences between the two countries resulted in employment decreasing in both countries, with the Norwegian decrease 10% greater than that in the Canadian fishery. Women’s formal engagement in the two fisheries differ, but is generally low, especially in  Norway where they have been less likely to engage in the catching sector. In both places, young people are not entering the fishery, although modest success has been achieved with youth-oriented initiatives in Norway. The age profile of fish-workers is getting older.  Women and  youth face the hurdle of raising sufficient funds to buy boats, licences and quota. The changes are complex and the social and household impacts have emerged in the face of gender and generational blindness in policy-making.

Download the paper here

ABSTRACT. The resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed and developing countries has been used to provide lessons to conventional managers regarding ways to transition toward a social-ecological approach to understanding and managing fisheries. We contribute to the understanding of the relationship between management and the resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed countries by looking at these dynamics in the wake of the shock of stock collapse and fisheries closures in two contexts: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and northern Norway. We revisit and update previous research on the gendered effects of the collapse and closure of the Newfoundland and Labrador northern cod fishery and the closure of the Norwegian cod fishery in the early 1990s and present new research on young people in fisheries communities in both contexts. We argue that post-closure fishery policy and industry responses that focused on downsizing fisheries through professionalization, the introduction of quotas, and other changes ignored the gendered and intergenerational household basis of small-scale fisheries and its relationship to resilience. Data on ongoing gender inequities within these fisheries and on largely failed recruitment of youth to these fisheries suggest they are currently at a tipping-point that, if not addressed, could lead to their virtual disappearance in the near future.

Counting all the fishers: a global overview

Collecting Shells at Low Tide, Hokusai, Japan, c. 1832-1834. Colour on silk. Osaka Municipal Art Museum, Osaka. Source:

“Collecting Shells at Low Tide”, by Hokusai, Japan, c. 1832-1834. Colour on silk. Osaka Municipal Art Museum, Osaka. Source:

Women’s as well as men’s fishing should be taken into account in marine ecology assessments, according to the recent global review, “Gender and small-scale fisheries: a case for counting women and beyond“, by Danika Kleiber, Leila Harris and Amanda Vincent. Typically, they point out, women’s participation is only considered from a social perspective.

After reviewing 106 case studies reported over the last 20 years (including many reported in the AFS Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries symposia), they examine why women may not be included in fishing accounts. They conclude that the very definition of fishing and fishers can be a limitation (see also their paper on fishing in the Central Philippines). Also, gender may be overlooked as a key variable in the study design and thus the sampling becomes biased. Finally, gender data can “evaporate” as a study is conducted, even if included in the design from the start, for example if the field data collectors are not trained in collecting gendered data.

The paper ends with this statement:

The inclusion of gender enables us to more accurately assess the state of fisheries, to better understand the diverse effects of fisheries change and management for populations, and to move towards the interdisciplinary management models that are increasingly demanded by policy makers.

To contact Danika Kleiber:

Abstract: Marine ecosystem–scale fisheries research and management must include the fishing effort of women and men. Even with growing recognition that women do fish, there remains an imperative to engage in more meaningful and relevant gender analysis to improve socio-ecological approaches to fisheries research and management. The implications of a gender approach to fisheries have been explored in social approaches to fisheries, but the relevance of gender analysis for ecological understandings has yet to be fully elaborated. To examine the importance of gender to the understanding of marine ecology, we identified 106 case studies of small-scale fisheries from the last 20 years that detail the participation of women in fishing (data on women fishers being the most common limiting factor to gender analysis). We found that beyond gender difference in fishing practices throughout the world, the literature reveals a quantitative data gap in the characterization of gender in small-scale fisheries. The descriptive details of women’s often distinct fishing practices nonetheless provide important ecological information with implications for understanding the human role in marine ecosystems. Finally, we examined why the data gap on women’s fishing practices has persisted, detailing several ways in which commonly used research methods may perpetuate biased sampling that overlooks women’s fishing. This review sheds light on a new aspect of the application of gender research to fisheries research, with an emphasis on ecological understanding within a broader context of interdisciplinary approaches.

Philippines reef study shows the importance of defining “fishing”

Woman reef gleaning on a reef on the Danajon Bank, Bohol Province, Central Philippines. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

Woman reef gleaning on a reef on the Danajon Bank, Bohol Province, Central Philippines. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

Danika Kleiber and her co-authors have made a welcome contribution to the information on total fisheries harvest and the often un-recorded harvests of women and men, especially by reef gleaning. Working with local communities who live and work on the reefs on Danajon Bank, Bohol Province Central Philippines,  and 4 Cebuano-speaking research assistants (see photo), they have estimated  total catches and participation in all types of fishing including reef gleaning, an important local activity.  Their paper is: “Improving fisheries estimates by including women’s catch in the Central Philippines” (Danika Kleiber, Leila M Harris, Amanda C J Vincent in the Canadia Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences).

In the paper, they report on how the number of fishers, the percentage of women fishers, the total catch and its composition changes depending on the definition of fishing used. Including gleaning as fishing had a particularly strong effect. They distinguish the “cultural” and “livelihood” definitions of fishing. In the cultural definition, fishing tends to be a more male focused activity and does not include gleaning, even though some men also glean. In the livelihood definition, fishing and gleaning, especially of women, may not feature because it is secondary. Thus, using the cultural definition of fishing yielded only 20% of the fishers were women, and using the livelihood definition only 16%. If fishing is defined to include all the activities that harvest marine life, then 42% of fishers are women. In the communities studied, men outnumbered women who tended to have higher out-migration.

E-mail contact: Danika

Field enumerators and the senior author. L to R: Aileen Montejo, Jay Estrella, Danika Kleiber, Bernie Calinajan, Venice Lazo. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

Field enumerators and the senior author. L to R: Aileen Montejo, Jay Estrella, Danika Kleiber, Bernie Calinajan, Venice Lazo. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

AbstractSmall-scale fisheries catch and effort estimates are often built on incomplete data because they overlook the fishing of minority or marginalized groups. Women do participate in small-scale fisheries, and often in ways distinct from men’s fishing. Hence, the inclusion of women’s fishing is necessary to understanding the diversity and totality of human fishing efforts. This case study examines how the inclusion of women’s fishing alters the enumeration of fishers, and estimations of catch weight, fishing effort, and targeted organisms in twelve communities in the Central Philippines. Women were 42% of all fishers, and contributed approximately one quarter of the fishing effort and catch weight. Narrower definitions of fishing that excluded gleaning (gathering of benthic macro invertebrates in intertidal areas) and part-time fishing masked the participation and contribution of most women fishers. In this case study it is clear that overlooking women, part-time, or gleaning fishers led to the underestimation of fishing effort and catch weight. Overlooking gleaning had also led to underestimation of shells and other benthic macro invertebrates in fishing catches.

People reef gleaning at low tide, Danajon Bank, Bohol Province, Central Philippines. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

People reef gleaning at low tide, Danajon Bank, Bohol Province, Central Philippines. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

See Danika’s post in 2011 on some of her data collecting techniques:

Gender in Fisheries and Aquaculture e-Learning Course

Women sorting seaweed Nhon Hai, Vietnam. Photo: M. Akester.

Women sorting seaweed Nhon Hai, Vietnam. Photo: M. Akester.

The World Bank, IFAD, FAO and the Michigan State University have transformed the 2008 “Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook” into an e-learning course. This includes Module 13 on Gender in Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Module 13 is full of handy material and structured as follows:

Section 1: Gender in Fisheries and Aquaculture
Section 2: Gender Roles, Power, and the Distribution of Profits
Section 3: Gender Planning
Section 4: Benefits from Gender-Responsive Actions
Section 5: Monitoring and Evaluation
Section 6: Thematic Note 1 (Gender responsive institutions for accessing and managing resources)
Section 7: Thematic Note 2 (Family-based systems for aquaculture development in Asia)
Section 8: Thematic Note 3 (Associations for protecting the livelihoods of fishers, processors and traders)
Section 9: Thematic Note 4 (Gender and alternative livelihoods for fishing communities)
Section 10: Innovative Activity Profile 1 (Coral reef rehabilitation and management program)
Section 11: Innovative Activity Profile 2 (CARE Bangladesh: family approaches in integrated aquaculture)
Module 13 Quiz

IIFET 2014, Brisbane: Economics and trade papers on gender are welcome



The biennial conference of the International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET) will be held in Brisbane, Australia, from 7-11 July 2014. Gender issues in fisheries and aquaculture are listed among the themes and topics (

Abstracts close on 31 January 2014.

downloadWe encourage submissions for this (and other) sessions. will report on the gender papers as it did in IIFET2012. In 2012 we joined with the AquaFISH CRSP project sessions to encourage gender papers, mainly focusing on gender in fish supply chains. See our story and links here.