Start planning to be part of GAF5!

Fish-Shaped Box, Islamic bidiri ware, 19th century India, Lucknow or Hyderabad. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (

Fish-Shaped Box, Islamic bidiri ware, 19th century India, Lucknow or Hyderabad. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (

The 5th Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries symposium (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.

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 (

New: For visa information please visit: information on how to obtain your Indian visa to attend GAF5

New: draft themes and program for GAF5.

Report recommends integrating fish into food security and nutrition

HLPE-Report-7_Cover-smA new report, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition, has provided probably “the most comprehensive recent attempt to review and synthesize the current knowledge” said Dr Christophe Béné. Dr Béné, of the Institute of Development Studies, chaired the team of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security that produced the report.

The report recommends that fish need to be fully integrated into all aspects of food security and nutrition policies and programmes. It pays special attention to all dimensions of food security and nutrition and promotes small-scale production and local arrangements, as local markets, e.g. for procuring school meals, and other policy tools, including nutrition education and gender equality.

The report is dedicated to Chandrika Sharma who was one of the peer reviewers of the report.

HLPE Team for fish, food security and nutrition report. Left to right: Gro-Ingunn Hemre, Modadugu V. Gupta, Moenieba Isaacs, Chris Béné, Meryl Williams, Ningsheng Yang and Vincent Gitz (Secretary)

HLPE Team for fish, food security and nutrition report. Left to right: Gro-Ingunn Hemre, Modadugu V. Gupta, Moenieba Isaacs, Chris Béné, Meryl Williams, Ningsheng Yang and Vincent Gitz (Secretary)

Download the report here

Extract of the FOREWORD by Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Chair of HLPE Steering Committee

This report addresses a frequently overlooked but extremely important part of world food and nutrition security: the role and importance of fish in seeking food and nutrition security for all. Fisheries and aquaculture have often been arbitrarily separated from other parts of the food and agricultural systems in food security studies, debates and policy-making. I applaud the Committee on World Food Security for its decision to bring fisheries and aquaculture fully into the debate about food and nutrition security.

The report presents a synthesis of existing evidence regarding the complex pathways between fisheries and aquaculture and food and nutrition security, including the environmental, economic and social dimensions, as well as issues related to governance. It provides insights on what needs to be done to achieve sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in order to strengthen their positive impact on food and nutrition security.

The ambition of this compact yet comprehensive report is to help the international community to share and understand the wide spectrum of issues that make fisheries and aquaculture such an important part of efforts to assure food security for all.

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) was created in 2010 to provide the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with evidence-based and policy-oriented analysis to underpin policy debates and policy formulation. While specific policy interventions should be based on context-specific understanding, HLPE reports provide evidence relevant to the diversity of contexts, with recommendations aiming to be useful to guide context-specific policy interventions.

The main findings of the report cover the themes:

  • Fish as a critical food source
  • Fish has received little attention in food security and nutrition strategies
  • Risks and pressures affecting the world fisheries
  • Opportunities and challenges in aquaculture
  • Small vs large scale fishing operations
  • Unsettled debates on fish trade
  • Social protection and labour rights
  • Gender equity
  • Governance

In the Executive Summary, the report says the following on Gender Equity (paras 27-29; the body of the report contains more detail)

  • 27. The first comprehensive attempt to estimate the number of fish workers found that 56 million, near half of the 120 million people who work in the capture fisheries sector and its supply chains, are women. This is essentially due to the very high number of female workers engaged in fish processing (including in processing factories) and in (informal) small-scale fish trading operations. However, small-scale fisheries and supply-chain jobs outside production are not well recorded, so the actual number of women may be higher. Comparable estimates are not yet available for the 38 million aquaculture sector workers.
  • 28. Gender, along with intersectional factors (such as economic class, ethnic group, age or religion), is a key determinant of the many different ways by which fisheries and aquaculture affect food security and nutrition outcomes, availability, access, stability and diet adequacy, for the population groups directly involved in fish production and supply chains, but also beyond.
  • 29. Men are dominant in direct production work in fisheries and aquaculture. Much of women’s work, such as gleaning, diving, post-harvest processing and vending, is not recognized or not well recorded, despite its economic and other contributions. Gender disaggregated data are not routinely collected and, partly as a result of this, little policy attention is given to women and to the gender dimension of the sector.

In the Recommendations, item 7 addressed Gender Equity with the following recommendation (7)

States should

  • 7a) Ensure that their aquaculture and fisheries policies and interventions do not create negative impacts on women and encourage gender equality.
  • 7b) Enshrine gender equity in all fisheries rights systems, including licensing and access rights. The definitions of fishing must cover all forms of harvest including the forms typically practised by women and small-scale operators, such as inshore and inland harvesting of invertebrates by hand and the use of very small-scale gear.

World Bank report on “Gender at Work”

coverA new report from the World Bank provides practical and strong arguments for making gender equality explicit in the workplace.  The report also continually makes the case that gender equality in the world of work is a win-win on many fronts.

The new report accompanies two World Development reports from the World Bank:

Download the report here

FOREWORD of the report from the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim

Today, many more girls are going to school and living longer, healthier lives than 30 or even 10 years ago. That was the good news in our flagship 2012 World Development Report on gender.

But this has not translated into broader gains. Too many women still lack basic freedoms and opportunities and face huge inequalities in the world of work. Globally, fewer than half of women have jobs, compared with almost four-fifths of men. Girls and women still learn less, earn less, and have far fewer assets and opportunities.

They farm smaller plots, work in less profitable sectors, and face discriminatory laws and norms that constrain their time and choices, as well as their ability to own or inherit property, open a bank account, or take out a loan—to buy fertilizer, for example, that would boost food production for whole communities.
Gender at Work looks closely at existing constraints as well as policies and practices that show promise in closing the gaps. A companion to the 2013 World Development Report on jobs, the report advocates investing more in women’s capabilities and eliminating structural barriers such as laws that bar women from owning property, accessing financing, or working without permission
from a male relative.

Public and private policies and actions can promote equality over a lifetime. This includes education and training during youth and creating opportunities for women to participate in paid work during their economically productive years. It extends to implementing equitable old-age labor regulations combined with appropriate social protection later in life. We need leadership and innovation as well as scaled-up efforts to fill critical gaps in knowledge and evidence, from the private sector, governments, science, and media—and individuals. This agenda is urgent. Failure to act represents a huge missed opportunity. We know that reducing gender gaps in the world of work can yield broad development
dividends: improving child health and education, enhancing poverty reduction, and catalyzing productivity.

Empowering women and girls is vital in order to achieve our twin goals: ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity. The World Bank Group is fully committed to this agenda.

Fish trade policy and women in the Gambia

Beach landing and trading, Gambia. Source: UNCTAD 2014.

Beach landing and trading, Gambia. Source: UNCTAD 2014.

From sardines and mackerels to cockles and oysters, the fisheries and fish processing activities of the Republic of the Gambia in West Africa are important to people and to the economy. A new report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), called “The fisheries sector in the Gambia: trade, value addition and social inclusiveness, with a focus on women,” examines the fish trade and gender linkages. In particular it discusses the complex issues around domestic markets and trade and export supply chains which can “accentuate dynamics of polarization and exclusion.” The domestic-oriented chain is most important to women.

Download the report here

Executive Summary (extract):

The relationship between trade and gender is highly contextual and country-specific, as the gender effects of trade depend on the specificities of individual economic sectors and countries. However, it is at times possible to extrapolate some general patterns that are likely to be found across countries. In general terms, The Gambian case study points to three critical dimensions that should be taken into account when promoting fish-export-oriented policies as a pro-poor strategy: i) the existence of gender-specific patterns in the processing and marketing of fresh and cured fish products; ii) the resultant, gender-differentiated impacts of a commercial, export-oriented strategy in the fisheries sector; and iii) the need for trade policy responses that are gender-specific and redistributive.

April issue of Yemaya now out

Two young Nova Scotia (Canada) fishers - Fallon and Grace, running their own fishing boat. Source: Corinne Dunphy, Yemaya 45 p. 8

Two young Nova Scotia (Canada) fishers – Fallon and Grace, running their own fishing boat. Source: Corinne Dunphy, Yemaya 45 p. 8

Yemaya, the gender and fisheries newsletter of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) has recently released its April 2014 issue.

This issue, Yemaya has a special focus on the progress and shortcomings of the coverage of women’s equity strategies in the forthcoming Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale  fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. 

Visit the ICSF website to download the whole issue, which contains the following articles.

  1. SSF Guidelines: Through the gender lens by Cornelie Quist
  2. Profile: Taking the lead—Ramida Sarasit by Kesinee
  3. Milestones: Milestone agreement at UN gender equality talks by Ramya Rajagopalan
  4. Review: A yawning gender gap by Danika Kleiber
  5. Canada: Following Fallon and Grace by Corinne Dunphy
  6. What’s New Webby? Interactive map of fi sh markets in Chennai
  7. India: Mapping markets in Mumbai by Shuddhawati S Peke
  8. Q & A: Interview with Maria Odette Carvalho Martins by Naina Pierri
  9. Yemaya Mama: cartoon
  10. Yemaya Recommends: Film “A Mae e o Mar/The Mother and The Sea: review by Alain Le Sann

Draft GAF5 Programme released!

The GAF5 Programme Sub-Committee, Chaired by Dr Nikita Gopal, has released the draft GAF5 Themes to help you prepare your abstracts, papers, posters, videos and workshops. Check out the themes on our GAF5 Themes page! They include:

  • a wide range of themes on “Experience sharing on gender inclusion in Aquaculture & Fisheries”
  • a Special Workshop on GAF 101 : Mainstreaming Gender into Aquaculture & Fisheries Education
  • a day of Focus India
  • the Special Workshop on NACA-MARKET Thematic Studies on gender in aquaculture in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam 
  • Films, videos and lots more

Visa information for GAF5 attendees

Other than Indian nationals, most people wanting to attend GAF5 (the 5th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries) will need to obtain an Indian visa. If you are planning to attend, then you will need to obtain the necessary invitation from the organizers, and provide them with relevant passport and other details.

For GAF5, Dr Lalit Tyagi  (e-mail:, the Chair of our GAF5 Host Country Team, will assist. You should allow a minimum of 2 months to get your visa.

You should click here to download the document for passport particular to facilitate the invitation and visa, fill it in and return it directly to Dr Tyagi by e-mail. Also, please direct your visa inquiries to Dr Tyagi.

Reducing gender disparities in Mozambique fisheries and aquaculture value chains

Woman street-side fish vendor. Photo: Norad report

Woman street-side fish vendor. Photo: Norad report

A new Norad report by Cecile Brugere and Bodil Maal has delved into gender roles in the fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Mozambique, finding that women play a large role in the fisheries value chain, but their social organization is not strong. Women dominate aquaculture production but the aquaculture value chain is still only weak, with most fish sold at the pond-side. The authors identified a number of potential entry points for women in the value chains.

Fact-finding mission - Study of fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Mozambique: How to reduce gender Discrimination in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors by Cecile Brugere and Bodil Maal

Executive summary

A fact-finding mission about the role women play in fisheries and aquaculture in Mozambique was conducted between January 28 and February 14, 2014. The mission’s objective was to document the participation of women in two value chains: The smallscale capture fisheries value chain and the aquaculture value chain. A value chain is defined as the full range of activities that businesses go through to bring a product, in our case the fish, to the customers. Our task was to identify entry points for improving the work condition and creating equal access to resources and opportunities for women in the two value chains. We studied the two value-chains in Gaza Province.

The capture fisheries value chain is well established. Male fishers are typically involved in the production of the commodity (resource management and catch), and women are predominantly engaged in trading activities. The social organisation of women traders is very weak. Women are under-represented in local fisheries management committees and credit and savings groups. This largely constrains their access to fish preservation equipment (e.g. cool boxes). The lack of such equipment makes it difficult to distribute fish to remote rural areas.

The aquaculture value chain, on the other hand, does not include post-harvest traders and operations. In most cases, fish produced is sold at the pond by the aquaculture producers to the local villagers. Aquaculture producers operate either individually or through associations of producers. These associations have been established to facilitate the dissemination of aquaculture know-how. In contrast to the capture fisheries sector, women dominate aquaculture production. This is a result of specific targeting of women by the government extension officers. Lack of feed and fingerling supply currently constrains the development of aquaculture. The capacity of the aquaculture administration at provincial level is also currently inadequate to satisfy the information and support needs of new producers.

The mission identified the following areas as possible entry points towards the further involvement and improvements for women engaged in the small scale capture fisheries sector and the aquaculture sector:

In the aquaculture value chain:

  • Nursing of tilapia fry for the production of fingerling in individual small production units.
  • Preparation of fish feed and/or pond fertilizer in individual small production units.
  • Improving access to funds and credit.
  • Development of a “mentoring” role for experienced fish farmers towards newcomers in the sector.
  • Recognise officially the aquaculture producers’ associations.
  • Development of post-harvest activities and networks (trading and distribution of fish).

In the capture fisheries value chain:

  • Improve the organisation of women fish traders.
  • Increase the participation of women in credit and savings groups.
  • Advertise and promote the benefits of fish consumption.

Regarding both the capture fisheries and aquaculture:

  • Create an inter-institutional “platform” to strengthen knowledge sharing and coordinated actions in the capture and aquaculture sectors.

The interventions mentioned above aim to address identified bottlenecks in value chain of the capture fisheries sector and the aquaculture sector. In addition, the interventions address shortcomings women have in becoming key agents in the production and distribution of quality fish. The interventions will however require discussion and further development by the Ministry of Fisheries and its decentralised administrations if they are retained as part of a pilot project to be funded under the cooperation agreement between the governments of Norway, Iceland and Mozambique. The design and coordination of the pilot project should be located in one province. This will contribute to enhance a more rapid implementation of activities.

The Ministry of Fisheries has shown its commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. In addition to enhancing the conditions of women in fisheries and aquaculture at field level, it is anticipated that the proposed interventions will also support the implementation of the Ministry of Fisheries’ new Gender Strategy and strengthen the role and capacities of its Gender focal points at provincial level.

Download report here