Category Archives: Pacific, Oceania

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.

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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!

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 

Milestones for women in fisheries

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2016, Yemaya, the gender in fisheries newsletter of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, collected a set of regional summaries of milestones for women in fisheries. In her overview for this issue of Yemaya, the editor, Nilanjana Biswas, concluded that while we take stock of, and celebrate the achievements, we should also reflect on the long road of struggle ahead—a struggle for the rights of small-scale fisheries; for the rights of women engaged in fishing, fish trade and fish-work. 

Cartoon courtesy ICSF, Yemaya Issue 51.

Cartoon courtesy ICSF, Yemaya Issue 51.

Read these summaries, plus other articles at: Yemaya. Here are the contents.

  1. Counting on Women by Sarah Harper and Danika Kleiber
  2. Women in Aquaculture by Arlene Nietes
    Satapornvanit et al
  3. Women in Fisheries in Africa: 1999-2015 by Jackie Sunde
  4. A Historic Journey by Cornelie Quist and Katia Frangoudes
  5. Profile: A.G. Chitrani: Transforming others’ lives with her courage
    Leader from Trincomalee, Sri Lanka 
    by Herman Kumara
  6. Milestones: General Recommendation on the Rights of Rural Women by Ramya Rajagopalan
  7. Cooperative Action by Suhas Wasave and Arpita Sharma
  8. Evocations of the Sea by Vipul Rikhi
  9. Women in Fisheries in Asia: 1978 – 2016 by Meryl Williams et al
  10. Q & A: Mercy Antony of Kerala by Venugopalan N
  11. Yemaya Recommends: Film – Oceans, the Voice of the Invisible by Alain Le Sann (translated Daniele Le Sann).

Coral Gleaning in Lido Village, Papua New Guinea

By Aung Si

University of Melbourne, Australia, e-mail: aung.si@unimelb.edu.au

The women of Lido Village, on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, have traditionally made an important contribution to their families’ protein intake by gleaning for marine invertebrates and small fish off exposed reef flats at low tide. Unlike their counterparts in many Pacific communities, however, Lido women improve their catch by constructing “gardens” on the reef flat, which are demarcated by metre-high rock walls, and enclose numerous rock pyramids of a similar height. The pyramids provide shelters for delicacies such as catfish and octopus, which are trapped by the rock walls when the water recedes. Crushed pieces of a poison vine are dropped into the water to stun the trapped organisms.

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Fig. 8.2 from the chapter. Aerial view of Lido Village (N. coast PNG) at high tide, showing location of the o lɛ̃ depression in the fringing reef and the approximation of the coral garden belonging to Witepu, the mother of author Lahe-Deklin. The surf zone at the edge of the fringing reef is clearly visible, as is the seaward extent of the reef flat. Image courtesy of Google Maps.

In recent decades, an influx of imported “city” foods has significantly changed the diet of the people of Lido. As a consequence, coral gleaning has declined in importance, and the garden walls and pyramids are no longer maintained. Contact with powerful neighbouring languages, such as Bahasa Indonesia, Tok Pisin and English, has also impacted adversely on the knowledge of the names of numerous reef fish and invertebrates that were once consumed as staples. Many children are no longer able to name these common, culturally important organisms in their mother tongue, called Dumo. In a chapter of the book Ethnobiology of Corals and Coral Reefs (Chapter 8 Coral Gardens of the Dumo People of Papua New Guinea: A Preliminary Account), my co-author Francesca Lahe-Deklin and I have tried to document some of this endangered vocabulary of the Dumo language, as well as describe the cultural beliefs and practices associated with coral gardens. Historically, women would have been the main repositories of this knowledge, passing it onto the children (both boys and girls) that accompanied them on gleaning trips. The open sea beyond the reef flat is the domain of adult men, who catch large fish such as cod and shark. Women, on the other hand, specialised in tending their coral gardens in family groups, with each person in charge of a part of the garden.

Link: Chapter 8: Coral Gardens of the Dumo People of Papua New Guines: A Preliminary Account.

E-mail:  aung.si@unimelb.edu.au