Category Archives: Gender

Contributions by women in the fisheries of five major fishing countries

Women shrimp traders in Mazatlan, Mexico. Photo: Maria Cruz-Torres

A recent paper published in Coastal Management (Contributions by Women to Fisheries Economies: Insights from Five Maritime Countries) investigates the contribution by women to fisheries economies in Mexico, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.

Through an exhaustive review of data and literature on women and fisheries, the authors of this paper, Sarah Harper, Charlotte Grubb, Margot Stiles, and Rashid Sumaila, take stock of what is known about women in the fisheries sector of these five countries. From the available information, women appear to make substantial contributions to the fisheries sector and related economy; however, these contributions are not always visible in an economic accounting or policy sense. For example, indirect participation in all five countries was mainly measured by statistics for processing and retail activities, as little information was available for the many other activities of women that support fishing households, e.g., book keeping, gear repairs, and provisioning for fishing trips.

The paper highlights major gaps in the availability of sex-disaggregated data on participation in fishing activities through the fish value chain and suggests the need for improved national-level data collection for the development of gender-sensitive fisheries policies and programs.

Download the paper : link (Institutional access may be required; lead author’s e-mail: sjmharper@gmail.com )

See other media related to article:

Expert panel recommends promoting wider opportunities for women in giant freshwater prawn

Drs Malasri Khumsri, Amonrat Sermwatankul and Jarvey Demaine, the expert panel on gender and giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium) farming  at the Giant Freshwater Prawn 2017 Conference, concluded that, while women’s involvement in low-cost marginal occupations was well-known, the range of opportunities for women in the value chain was much wider and these had to be identified and promoted. The panel session was the first formal activity of the recently launched Asian Fisheries Society Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section and was supported by the Thailand Department of Fisheries, Asian Institute of Technology and the Giant Freshwater Prawn 2017 Conference.

The panel discussion provided a platform for development of a community of people committed to equitable and effective cooperation among researchers and academics, technicians, fisheries officers and non-governmental organizations in research and practice on gender in aquaculture and fisheries and explore the ways to promote gender equitable and sustainable livelihood opportunities in GFP value chains.

The panel examined the gender arrangements in Bangladesh and Thailand (see the report), and, in the case of Thailand, suggested the way forward.

Read the report of the panel session here.

Mapping the action on International Women’s Day ’17

Map showing the locations (mainly at country resolution level) for events and news about women in aquaculture, fisheries and seafood in honor of International Women’s Day 2017. If you have more events from 8 March 2017 to put on this map, please let us know at: e-mail genderaquafish@gmail.com.

IWD-17-image-1

Click this LINK to view the interactive version of of the above map, created with eSpatial mapping software.

Before, during and after 8 March 2017 (International Women’s Day), news, tweets and posts flooded in relating to the Day. Our group shared these events via two roundup messages. We have now put the events onto the map above, using eSpatial mapping software, and generous assistance from Ciara at eSpatial (thank you Ciara!).

To read the details of any event, click on the marker for it. We have placed the event marker on the country (sometimes city or state) where the event happened, although many have global or regional significance.

This seemed to be the most active IWD ever from a fisheries, aquaculture and seafood industry perspective. Let’s hope it is a sign of an active and fruitful year ahead for gender equality in the sector!

Yemaya: gender equality in small-scale fisheries is a struggle at two levels

2017-01 343_yem53_e_FULL

Sally Barnes runs an artisanal fi sh smoking business. Through the smoking business, she added value to her husband’s catches and increased the family income. Source: Yemaya and WWW.WOODCOCKSMOKERY.COM

The first 2017 issue of Yemayathe gender and fisheries newsletter of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), recognizes that implementing the gender equality provisions of the Voluntary Guidelines on Small Scale Fisheries is a struggle at two levels. The first struggle is in the household and community, and the second is the level of the state and other stakeholders. Many of articles in this issue of Yemaya amplify on this theme.

  •  World Fisheries Day: Africa – Sustainability through unity by Béatrice Gorez
  • What’s New Webby? By Ramya Rajagopalan
  • Ireland: Independent and happy by Sally Barnes (see photo)
  • Milestones:  UNESCO inscribes haenyeo culture on Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Ramya Rajagopalan
  • Network –  An uphill task by Marja Bekendam de Boer and Katia Frangoudes
  • Tanzania – Study time by Ali Thani and Lorna Slade
  • Profile – Gilda Olivia Rojas Bermudez: In defence of rights and culture by Vivienne Solis
  • India – Anjali: Woman of the waters by Sujoy Jana and Santanu Chacraverti
  • Asia – Round table of women in fisheries (Goa) by Mariette Correa
  • Q & A – Interview with Mercy Wasai Mghanga, fish trader and Chairperson, Bamburi Beach Management Unit (BMU) and Vice-Chairperson, Mombasa County BMU network by Hadley B. Becha
  • Yemaya Mama – Cartoon – “Gender equality begins at home”
  • Yemaya Recommends – Review: Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in fisheries and aquaculture (FAO) by Ramya Rajagopalan

Download the whole issue of articles at this link.

 

Broadening perspectives on markets, relationships and benefits in seafood trade: The role of Zanzibari women in small-scale fisheries

By Elizabeth Drury O’Neill and Beatrice Crona

E-mail: elizabeth.druryoneill@su.se

zanzibar_interviews_mkokotoni

Elizabeth Drury O’Neill conducts interviews at Mkokotoni, Zanzibar. Photo: E.D. O’Neill.

Market structures of small-scale “economically developing” country fisheries (SSF) have remained relatively under-examined in the academic literature and the work done has focused primarily on relations between fishers and traders. However, most studies have focused only on economic transactions and this has likely skewed our understanding of the interactions between people in SSF and the social and ecological outcomes they give rise to.

In an attempt to broaden the understanding of how market structures and trading relations benefit local fishery actors we conducted a study that examined the wider social system in which fish trade is embedded. Many local societies have evolved informal norms based on customs and reciprocities (e.g. gift giving, sharing of large catches) that have become intertwined with fishery trade. These exchanges are necessary for human well-being, providing additional sources of support to resource-poor households, which can be irreplaceable during shocks. The question is if these systems of exchange and benefits serve all equally?

The reef based small-scale fisheries of Unguja Island, Zanzibar are the focus of this study. Located approximately 40 km off mainland Tanzania (5°40′ 6°30′S) Zanzibar has a millennia old history of global trade, including slaves and spices and constitutes the center of the Swahili coast and culture. Like most of the Swahili coastline, it has a population highly dependent on fishing for both livelihoods and nutrition and is surrounded by a coastal environment dominated by coral reef, seagrass, sandy beach and mangrove ecosystems.

Gender emerges as a strong determinant of seafood trade and fishery participation. Men and women fulfill different roles in the Zanzibari fishery system, as seen in many SSF elsewhere. Women are predominately involved as traders rather than fishers, while men dominate resource extraction. Smaller or lower-value products are principally traded in the booming local market, either fresh, fried or dried. A growing export market largely targets small dried pelagics and the tourist industry demands fresh specimens of high-value species.

While tourism is a rapidly expanding market for fishery products, our study saw that women traders remain relatively unlinked to the tourist hotels, resorts and restaurants. They do not access these higher-value links and are largely confined to the lower ends of the value chain income spectrum. The fact that it is deemed inappropriate or unsuitable for a woman in Zanzibar to be linked to the tourism industry is one explanation for this.

Women in the rural sites run largely home-based businesses supplying the local villages with processed products, dried or fried. This is typical of women in many SSF, limited by the time they can devote to work outside the home. Travelling in and out to the central markets in Stone Town is costly both in terms of time and money. Male traders are much more linked to the central markets and have more fish marketing options, including selling from bicycles, to a greater variety of customers in town and to the tourist hotels and restaurants. Men therefore have access to the higher sales prices in Stone Town and at the same time the lower purchase prices at the rural landing sites. When based in the central areas female traders have no space inside the Darajani fish market, which is rented entirely by male retailers, and sell on the ground outside with other smaller-scale male traders. The sales by women traders, in general, are done through on-the-spot transactions rather than with a patron or predetermined customer, a typical informal contract-type relationship in SSF. This patron-client relationship can provide the clients with various credit, loan and support options, though tying them into sales. However, women do not appear to have access to, or use, this option in Unguja. Over half the male traders in the study sell through this method, marketing continuously to the same customer in exchange for support.

zanzibar_mfenisini

Women in fish trading, Mfenisi. Photo: Elizabeth Drury O’Neill.

Seafood trade in Zanzibar, as in other SSF, runs deeper than simple economic arrangements and is embedded in an informal exchange network. Males and females appear to be installed differently into this network, where flows of assistance (i.e. material like food, money, equipment or service support, like processing, transporting, reciprocated between actors) pass between various actors in conjunction with sales. Female traders are less frequently involved in this reciprocal support exchange with fishers than their male counterparts, whom more commonly exchange cash, food, credit and discounts. However, women traders cooperate between themselves over a range of activities, in some sites more than males, which includes buying together, pooling products to sell, lending or borrowing money and selling products on each other’s behalf when necessary.

Women in fishing communities across the world appear to face barriers to higher-rent generating roles in the supply chain due to various cultural obstacles and conflicting household roles. Large-scale economically focused fisheries development has led to an increase in bulk purchases and wholesale trade, the construction of modern landing sites and market complexes, and more standardized formal sales activities in many places. This type of growth unfortunately has the potential to exclude the Zanzibari home-based traders, which it has already done in other SSF.

The role of women in SSF has been largely invisible to most observers and the Zanzibar harvest arena is dominated by men, with few fisherwomen appearing in any official statistics. Despite this, it is becoming increasingly common and acceptable for women to enter fish trade in Zanzibar. More women now trade seafood than ever before. However, the appearance and rise of the tourism sector in the seafood market has indirect effects on their ability to conduct their business. Already in 2002, ActionAid reported that fishermen no longer need to use women traders as much as before, since they now have the option of selling directly to the hotel industry. Our observations support this, with very few female urban traders linked directly to the fishers, buying mainly through auctions. As the tourism industry continues to grow and as fishery development focuses on further capacitating male fishers to go further offshore while promoting greater formalized economic actors in fishing and related activities this study emphasizes the grave potential for many value chain actors, especially female traders, to be vastly overlooked in such development scenarios.

The paper from this study can be found at this link.

Acknowledgments: This study was part of a SIDA funded project (The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) aimed at understanding the role of middlemen in mediating interactions between the social and ecological components of small-scale fisheries systems. Project Number SWE-2012-104.

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

thailand-2

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!

gaf-logo-white-bg-jpg-crop

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