Category Archives: Fisheries

Women’s voices, gender equity champions and a gender lens all matter – converging messages from GAF6

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A Thai woman gets ready to process threadfin salmon for the market. Photo: Supaporn Anuchiracheeva, the Small-scale Fishers and Organic Fisheries Products Project.

In bold outline, the take home messages from the GAF6 full report – Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture – converge on the following: women’s voices and gender equity champions  can make a real difference; and a gender lens lets us see inequalities and how to remedy them. These points were woven through the 68 rich and varied presentations, panels, posters and workshops of GAF6. Read the full report here, see the take home messages below.

  • Participants were urged to focus on gender relationships, not simply roles, and on intersectionality, as women’s and men’s lives were interconnected and gender interacted with other systems in society, e.g., cultural, political and economic structures.
  • The 2014 Small-Scale Fisheries Voluntary Guidelines are opening up new policy space on gender equality. Yet, in implementing the Guidelines, women have been deterred from taking part in decision-making, are invisible in most fisheries statistics and their interests excluded from national policies – unless NGOs and women’s groups have advocated for inclusion. Even when women’s needs are recognized, money and expertise may not have been allocated. In a hopeful sign, some recent projects are committed to gender equality.
  • Aquaculture is gendered. Gender roles and relationships in aquaculture follow typical social patterns of ownership, rights and power. Unless they break out as entrepreneurs, women are positioned in small-scale, near-home, and low technology aquaculture, or as low-paid labour in medium and industrial scale operations. Nevertheless, small-scale household aquaculture can fulfill important subsistence roles and be improved to better satisfy food security and nutrition.
  • A persistent thread on fair livelihoods in fish value chains was that gender equality and equity must be fought for, and protected by active measures, rather than expecting it to happen through a sense of natural justice.
  • Using a gender lens brings deeper understanding of climate and disaster adaptation. Flexibility, versatility and agency are keys to people’s resilience. Gender-blind efforts to help people adapt should always be challenged.
  • Real progress in securing gender equality will not be achieved unless social norms are transformed.

Read the whole GAF6 report here – Link

Join GAFS!

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Join the new Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society and become part of a community of people committed to equitable and effective cooperation in research and practice on gender in aquaculture and fisheries issues!

We are proud to launch the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS) of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS). This is the first formal gender section ever to be created in a professional fisheries or aquaculture society and is the culmination of over 20 years of developments within AFS in addressing women and gender in fisheries and aquaculture. The fundamentals of GAFS have been developed by two teams of volunteers from among the attendees at GAF5 and GAF6 who we gratefully acknowledge.

The objectives of GAFS are to promote equitable and effective cooperation among scientists/academics, technicians, fisheries officers and non-governmental organization experts involved in issues related to gender in fisheries and aquaculture so as to advance research and practice in Asia-Pacific and other regions of the world. For more detail see the full objectives and mechanisms.

Wherever you come from, we welcome your membership in GAFS. If you join before the end of 2017, you can become a Founding Member of the AFS Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS). Here is how to join.

You can become a GAFS member through either of two pathways.

The first pathway is for existing AFS members in good standing who are interested in advancing the GAFS objectives. For AFS members to become a GAFS member, simply send a short message indicating you wish to join GAFS to the AFS Executive Officer –info@asianfisheriessociety.org. Your AFS membership details will be amended to include membership of GAFS.

The second pathway if you are currently not an AFS member. In this case, you can easily join AFS by visiting the membership page and joining AFS. On joining, you will be asked to indicate which sections or branches of AFS you wish to join, including GAFS.

Generous member discounts at AFS and GAFS events such as the triennial aquaculture and fisheries forums and other AFS conferences, workshops and forums. What you will get from becoming a member of GAFS:

  • Opportunity to take a leadership role by nominating for the GAFS Executive Committee
  • Voting rights in electing GAFS, and AFS officers
  • Chance to contribute to and receive periodic the GAFS Newsletter, AFS Newsletter, special interest news and information on gender in aquaculture and fisheries, including through social media
  • Access to a strong, participatory community of like-minded people committed to the objectives of GAFS and AFS, including senior experts and mentors
  • Ability to advance research and practice in gender and women’s issues in aquaculture and fisheries
  • Access to  with other like-minded organisations regionally and globally

MARE & Oceans Past: Proposal for gender panel

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Mariscodoras (shellfish gatherers) of Galicia. Photo: @AKTEA

For the 2017 MARE Conference 2017 (People & the Sea IXDealing with Maritime Mobilities), Katia Frangoudes and colleagues propose a panel – are you interested in taking part?

Date: 5-7 July, 2017, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Panel title: From Past to Present Gender/women relations within coastal and fisheries Communities

Panel proposal to the conference People and the Sea 9: dealing with maritime mobilities, Amsterdam 5-7 of July, 2017.

Panel Organise by Katia Frangoudes, Siri Gerrard, Danika Kleiber, Cristina Pita

Panel abstract:

The coastal areas and communities have experienced major changes over recent decades. Some are under pressure by the rapid development and urbanisation, industrialisation, climate change, mass tourism, etc. Others have suffered economic depression as the activities that traditionally sustained coastal communities become increasingly unsustainable. These changes had economic impacts on the fishing; aquaculture and others related activities and modified the social role within coastal societies, with new social organisations and cultural processes emerging in coastal areas.

Research on gender and gender relations, as well as on women, in fisheries and aquaculture and their role in communities is not abundant. And this despite the fact that change has impacted men and women differently, the construction of gender and gender relations has consequences on the division of labour in fisheries, in coastal communities and also in the relationships in the community.

The interconnection between gender relations, work and community can include many topics and can vary from place to place dependent on the history, “materialities”, social and cultural conditions. Coastal and gender studies can be valuable for research, and for the economic and social development of coastal communities, and fishery related activities and work. So gender relations and communities can be studied in many ways, the propose panel aims to bring together scientists, practitioners, .working on the following themes: gender migration/immigration, changes in job opportunities (eg. paid and unpaid contribution of women in fisheries and aquaculture), women’s organisations and participation in the public sphere, property rights in fisheries and aquaculture, gender and climate changes, women’s capacity building, etc…

Note: The panel is organizing by the TBTI (Too Big to Ignore) cluster on women/gender in fisheries and aquaculture and the Working group Gendered Oceans Past Platform. If you wish to be part of this panel please send your send your abstract Katia Frangoudes Katia.Frangoudes@univ-brest.fr before the 27 of January. We need to know if we ask for one panel or more… in depends on the number of interested participants.

First UNEP report on Gender and the Environment

2016-ggeoThe United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the 2016 Global Gender and Environment Outlook report.

This first ever such report uses a drivers-pressures-states-impacts-responses approach to summarise available information and make an attempt to address four policy questions:

  • What social forces are producing the changes seen in  the environment, and are they gender-dependent?
  • What are the large-scale consequences of ongoing environmental changes for social systems and human security, and are these consequences gender-differentiated?
  • What do future projections and outlooks look like, are they gender-differentiated, and will there be different outcomes for women and men?
  • What actions could be taken for a more sustainable future that would position women and men as equal agents in taking such actions, and which socio-economic factors could shape different outcomes and responses for women and men?

The introductory section -“The gender-environment nexus: Towards more equitable and inclusive forms of sustainability” – presents interesting material on why the report is needed in the face of economic growth and its impacts on the environment and natural resources, many of which are gendered. A brief history of the environmental feminist movement is covered, from the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” to recent local-led conservation initiatives. The report was made possible and encouraged by a gradual infiltration of gender equality articles in major global environment, development and climate instruments and pledges. It stresses the still under-representation of women in environment positions of power and calls for much better collection of sex-disaggregated information. The priority areas identified miss reference to those in fisheries and aquaculture, focusing instead on agriculture, land, water and climate change. This reflects the lack of substantive work done in the aquatic resources, but also to some extent the incompleteness of the Outlook report on aquatic resource themes.

One of the sections of the Outlook report covers marine and coastal communities and ecosystems, looking at “what we take out”: fish, fishing and livelihoods, and “what we put in”: contaminants and pollutants. Although this section is not particularly current, comprehensive or, in some cases, nuanced, in its drafting, it does provide useful material and it is valuable to have the Outlook report recognize the marine part of the aquatic realm, even if this is not reflected in the opening essay. Here are the Key Messages highlighted in the this part of the report:

  • Women and men have common but differentiated responsibilities in the fishing sector. Fishing is frequently portrayed as a male domain, but when the whole fishing cycle is taken into account, actually some 47% of the workforce is female.
  • Fishing both reflects and defines gender boundaries; men are conventionally defined as “fishers”, while women’s activities in the sector are too often overlooked in official programmes, data collection and support.
  • Environmental change and damage to marine systems have gendered impacts, and women and men experience climate disruptions differently. Climate change is especially threatening to coastal communities and fishing livelihoods. “Downstream” effects on fishing sector activities such as post-harvest work are often not taken into account.
  • Health impacts are gender-differentiated. For example, many marine contaminants are particularly dangerous for foetal development. Chemical contaminants in ocean systems bioaccumulate, threatening human health and the health of marine organisms.
  • As fisheries collapse globally and fish become scarce locally, many women have to turn to transactional sex to bridge the scarcity gap.
  • Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing relies on trafficked, indentured and slave labour, mostly by men.
  • Evidence suggests that fisheries management improves when women are actively involved.

The report can be downloaded at this link.

Fiji and Solomon Islands articles feature in SPC’s Women in Fisheries Info Bulletin #27

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Market vendor selling seagrapes (Caulerpa racemosa) in Suva. Photo: SPC WIF 27.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s 27th Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin features several in-depth reports on women in Fiji fisheries and rural communities, and a one on women in Solomon Island fisheries. In addition, several news items are carried.

The whole issue or individual articles can be found at this link.

Inside issue #27

  • Supply chain and marketing of seagrapes, Caulerpa racemosa (Forsskaål) J. Agardh (Chlorophyta: Caulerpaceae) in Fiji by Cherie Morris and Shirleen Bala
  • Changing patterns in household membership, changing economic activities and roles of men and women in Matokana Village, Onoilau, Fiji by Veikila Vuki
  • Gender issues in culture, agriculture and fisheries in Fiji by Veikila C. Vuki and Aliti Vunisea
  • The participation of women in fishing activities in Fiji by Aliti Vunisea
  • Toward gender-equitable fisheries management in Solomon Islands by Olha Krushelnytska
  • True gender champion recognised
  • Veikila Vuki: Cultivating the sharing of information on aqua women 

FAO: Promoting women’s empowerment in fisheries and aquaculture

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Woman sorting the catch at the dock in Muscat. Photo: FAO

By Jennifer Gee, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO

FAO has released a publication, Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in fisheries and aquaculture”, prepared jointly by the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division and the Fisheries Department within FAO.

The publication provides an overview of current gender equality and women’s empowerment issues in the fisheries and aquaculture sector are presents them alongside information on policy, institutions and planning processes; statistical dimensions in gender analysis; and specific concerns in the sectors. Lessons learned are identified and some case studies presented. The publication was not intended to make an exhaustive analysis of the subject, but rather to suggest some relevant approaches to offer continuity with the work that has been conducted over the years on women’s crucial role in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development.

The document concludes with a section on the way forward that address the macro, meso and micro-levels with a call that “Human dimensions must be considered in all formal fisheries regulations, policies and plans, and the gender perspective must be included in fisheries and aquaculture activities and development strategies.” Looking ahead it suggests that the relationships between women and men’s role and relationships within the sector must be further investigated and highlights the ongoing need to improve sex-disaggregated statistics.

The publication is currently available in English (link) and will be released in Spanish and French in early 2017.

Fisheries Thematic Symposium @ World Women’s Congress 2017

The World Women’s Congress 2017 (WWC) will be held in Florianopolisw, Brazil, July 30 to August 4 [see main Congress link).

cabecalho-enOne of the Thematic Symposia will be on fisheries. It is being coordinated by Maria do Rosário de Fátima Andrade Leitão (Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco), Maria Helena Santana Cruz (Universidade Federal de Sergipe).

Thematic Symposium 129: Transformations, connections, displacements of feminism regarding sex, work, educational formation and traditional communities (fisherwomen, fishermen, “quilombola” and indigenous communities, and family farmers)

Abstract: The proposal of this Thematic Group is to contribute to the academic discussion and establish dialogues about the diversity both in scientific and popular knowledge concerning the “Transformations, Connections, Displacements of Feminism: gender, work, educational formation, and traditional communities” especially with regard to sex and gender roles, work, educational formation and traditional communities from research results of different approaches. Thus, there would be an interaction from approaches and challenging topics in the field of Human Sciences established by Public Policies that could include Public Policies established by governmental and nongovernmental organizations that which take into account the diversities and their impact to the development of social gender role relations. That means, proposals addressing the feminist intersectionality (whose perspectives reject the separation between analytical categories and identities) and with analysis of the promotion of sustainable development with equity in power relations, their impact on the everyday experiences of the subjects, in the production of injustice, in the systemic social inequality on a multidimensional base that focuses on specific contexts. This scope would encompasses particularly scientific studies with analysis of the conditions of life in traditional communities. Consequently, it urge to study their unequal access to political actions and the space of women in communities of fisherwomen and fishermen, as well as in “quilombolas” and indigenous groups and family farmers; the equal participation of women and men at all levels of political decision-making processes in public and private spaces; the discussion of self-reflection and self-criticism in order to know their personal values and how they affect life itself and the relation with others. We expect to stand by people interested in an advanced knowledge about the dynamics and interdependence of social relations in the fight against the multiple and conjugated forms of oppression.

Keywords: Feminism, Gender, Work, Educational formation, Traditional communities.

Also see our page on the 2011 women in fisheries session at the 2011 World Women’s Congress (Ottawa) – Why the Coast Matters – link.