Category Archives: Solomon Islands

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

Economics, trade analysis of fish value chains lacking good gender information

The 2016 conference of the International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade addressed how to incorporate the gender dimension into fish value chain analysis, especially when very limited gender information is available. The report of the gender sessions are now online.

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Woman at Tambak Lorok, Central Jawa, Indonesia, brings two yellowfin tuna ashore. Photo: Zahrah Izzaturrahim.

The 14 presentations and discussions on gender at IIFET-2016 highlighted that sex-disaggregated data and indicators must be improved. Using whatever information they could collect, experts presented gender analyses of value chains in Africa (Malawi and Nigeria), Asia (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand), North America (Mexico) and the Pacific (Solomon Islands), and global efforts on fisheries performance indicators and data sets. The presenters and participants discussed how, in these value chains, women are critical to adding value to fish, although within the household and society, ultimately men still make most of the key household decisions, sometimes despite interventions that seek to empower women. The gender report concludes by making some suggestions to IIFET in its future work on gender in fisheries economics and trade.

Read more the full report on the gender papers at IIFET-2016 here.

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 

1-2-3: Counting the ways women access fish

Women fish processors in Sokone, Senegal. Photo: Robert Lee, FAO.

Women fish processors in Sokone, Senegal. Photo: Robert Lee, FAO.

In a recent FAO report (A Review of Women’s Access to Fish in Small Scale Fisheries), Angela Lentisco and Robert Lee have gone beyond the typical portrayal of women as fish processors and marketers have reviewed and categorized three main ways in which women access fish in small scale fisheries. First is primary access through fishing and financing/owning fishing operations; second is through close personal relationships including family; and third is through the normal purchases. By conceptualising women’s access in this more structured way, policy and action to assist women’s empowerment and equality in fish value chains can be better formulated. Angela and Robert first explored this approach in their paper resulting from their paper at the 4th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF4) – read their earlier paper here.

The report, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular 1098 can be downloaded at this link.

Abstract: Women play a critical role in every link of the value chain in small-scale fisheries, although their best-known roles are in processing and marketing of fish and other fishery products. This perception of the highly gender-segregated division of labour (men fishing / women processing) has shaped the generalized approach in supporting development initiatives for small-scale fisheries. More often than not, this approach targets men as fishers, and women as processors and marketers of fishery products. However, this generalization has also made fisheries governance blind to women’s other valuable inputs to the sector. In fact, their roles can and should go beyond postharvest and marketing. However, the lack of utilization of their additional contribution has deterred, for example, women’s participation in fisheries resource management and policy decision-making.

The present review aims to move policy attention beyond the generalized, and perhaps limited, perception of women as fish processors and marketers and in this way enhance their participation in fisheries resource management and decision-making. The study describes the different ways women have access to fish in small-scale fisheries: as primary users (when they fish by themselves or they finance fishery operations), secondary users (when they access fish through kinship or other close relationships), and tertiary users (when they use capital to buy fish directly from fishers or traders). The review provides case studies to illustrate some of the issues that tend to keep women in marginalized positions along the value chain. Factors and processes that can contribute to improve women’s participation and decision-making in small-scale fisheries, such as those that challenge conventional approaches based on traditional or “typical” gender roles and obsolete institutional arrangements, are also given. The document also discusses how participation can be improved by raising awareness on gender equality issues along the value chain through applying a gender lens, by providing appropriate support to women’s organizations, including formal recognition of their professional activities, by understanding the socioeconomic context and the particular needs of small-scale fisheries, by giving due attention to power and power relationships, and by taking greater account of the contribution of women in fisheries. As neither women nor men form homogenous groups, the challenge is even greater for women to have access to productive tools and services, which if secured can give them a greater say and control over fisheries resources, thereby increasing their social capital and financial capital. These reflections can be introduced in existing resource management arrangements such as co-management or community based management, and can probably empower women and improve their participation in fishery resource management decision-making.

The reflections in this review can and should be used as guidance and discussion material to develop interventions under the Global Assistance Programme in support of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication.

Women in Solomon Islands tuna and coastal fish chains

Women selling reef fish in Solomon Islands fish market. Photo: kate Barclay.

Women selling reef fish in Solomon Islands fish market. Photo: Kate Barclay.

Women are particularly important in the key industrial tuna and coastal fish value chains in the Solomon Islands. They are active inshore fishers, critical in providing labour in the large SolTuna at Noro in Western Province, and in certain domains of local fish marketing.

A recent World Bank study [“Gender, Fisher, Trader, Processer: Towards Gender-Equitable Fisheries Management and Development in Solomon Islands” by Kate Barclay, Anne Maree Payne and Senoveva Mauli (2015)] has been synthesized by Olha Krushelnytska.

The study not only investigated the roles of women in the supply chains, but also examined the challenges for them and others making use of their labour.

In the case of the 1,000 women working for SolTuna, almost all on the processing line, the women and their employers reported several issues. The women reported on the sex segregation of jobs on the production line, in which they ended up in the lower paying jobs, lack of suitable housing, childcare, health issues, gender based violence that affected their ability to attend work at times, and low wages.

Management in the factory reported problems of high turnover and absenteeism, and lack of budgeting skills among employees.

However, even with good will, tuna processing alone is not enough to deliver on gender equality as many of the issues have deep social roots, and the industry is battling strong competition that emphasizes controlling production costs.

However, transactional sex occurs in ports, on ships and associated with factories and appears to have arisen with the growth of the fishing industry from the 1970s onwards. Judging by the summary report, more efforts are needed to address the issues

In coastal fisheries, women in the Solomon Islands are responsible for more than half the subsistence catch and are important in marketing. Women are also involved in such (low paying) traditional activities as making shell money.

Of the range of fisheries activities for women, the most lucrative is marketing of coastal fish, which is better than working on the tuna processing line or making shell money. However, men dominate (75% in the capital Honiara) the markets, in numbers, management and the overall functioning of the system.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations.

Download the summary report here

Broadening the perspective of fisheries management by including gender

Selling shell jewellery, Central Markets, Honiara, Solomon Islands 2014. Photo: Kate Barclay

Selling shell jewellery, Central Markets, Honiara, Solomon Islands 2014. Photo: Kate Barclay

The Secretariat for the Pacific Community’s recent regional workshop on the “Future of coastal/inshore fisheries management,”  3 to 6 March 2015 included the role of women (along with youth and culture) in fisheries management as one of the main topics. Other topics included community based resource management, livelihoods and the private sector, and the role of tuna in food security.

Presenter Assoc. Prof. Kate Barclay from the University of Technology Sydney talked about including gender in fisheries management within broader approaches to fisheries management such as the Interactive Governance for Fisheries (see Fish for Life) approach.  She argued that conventional fisheries management has a tunnel vision approach and that addressing the shortcomings of conventional fisheries management involves broadening the perspective of what is involved in resource governance to include social factors, including gender relations. This means fisheries agencies working in collaboration with other government agencies, as well as with various stakeholder groups, to cover the complex social issues affecting fisheries management.

logo_future_fisheriesBroadening the perspective to include gender relations and look at fisheries as social ecological systems means doing things differently. Two examples of changed approaches were presented. Danika Klieber’s work demonstrates that the tunnel vision of conventional fisheries management means renders invisible a significant amount of fishing activity, and shows how enumeration may be done differently to better include women’s fishing. The work by WorldFish in Solomon Islands has involved introducing gender transformative approaches, rethinking how consultation with fishing communities is conducted, and developing new methods to effectively engage with women, elicit their perspectives, and design projects that reflect women’s as well as men’s interests.

Kate Barclay’s presentation can be downloaded here.

25th SPC Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin: Looking forward and back

Seaweed farming Waigina, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands. Photo by M. Kronen, SPC WIF25.

Seaweed farming Waigina, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands. Photo by M. Kronen, SPC WIF25.

The Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC), has just released its 25th Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin. Congratulations to the SPC, Bulletin Editors including current editor Dr Veikila Vuki, donors and supporters for this achievement. This issue starts with a message of support from Moses Amos, the new Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division, who outlines his vision for women in fisheries at the SPC.

The whole issue or individual articles can be downloaded here.

CONTENTS