Category Archives: Pacific

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.

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 

Gender roles in Pacific coastal fisheries

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Satellite image of Veivatuloa village, Viti Levu, Fiji, showing  its mudflats. Source: Google Earth, in SPC WIF 26, p. 18

The latest Secretariat of the Pacific Community Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin (#26), “highlights gender roles in coastal fisheries and development, and women’s fishing activities in urban and rural communities”, said its editor, Veikila Vuki.

The issue contains the following articles, and can be downloaded here:

  • Guest editorial: Gender in aquaculture and fisheries – Navigating change, by Nikita Gopal and colleagues.
  • Pacific invertebrate fisheries and gender – Key results from PROCFish, by Meryl J. Williams.
  • An ecological study of the sea hare, Dolabella auricularia, on the southeastern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji, by Sandeep Singh and Veikila Vuki.
  • Livelihoods, markets, and gender roles in Solomon Islands: Case studies from Western and Isabel Provinces, by Froukje Kruijssen and colleagues.

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.

Looking back at 2013

At the end of GAF4, student volunteers and Piyashi DebRoy (winner of GAF4 AquaFish CRSP Best Student Paper award congratulate all GAF4 participatns.

At the end of GAF4, student volunteers and Piyashi DebRoy (winner of GAF4 AquaFish CRSP Best Student Paper award congratulate all GAF4 participatns.

In 2013, the Genderaquafish.org website continued to develop as a global source of information sharing and news. Compared to 2012, the number of visitors grew by 16%, to over 17,000 for the year. The visitors came from even more countries than last year (163 countries, compared to 154 countries in 2012). The top 5 countries of our visitors were: India (3,695), USA (1,804), UK (1,124), Philippines (1,078), Malaysia (705).  Click here to see the complete report for 2013.

World map of visitors to Genderaquafish.org, 2013. source: WordPress Stats

World map of visitors to Genderaquafish.org, 2013. source: WordPress Stats

Summary table of visits by region 2013

By region, most visits came from Asia, followed by Europe and North America. The visits are no doubt driven not only by the interest in the topics on our website, but also by the fact that information is only in English and that internet access varies greatly across the world. We would welcome links with multi-lingual partners to share similar information and translate posts to mutual benefit.

Here is a snapshot of information from our 47 new posts and several new pages for the year!

REGIONS. Asia, Africa and Europe have been the regions most covered. Other regions were not forgotten. We covered Oceania, the Americas, and West Asia/Middle East. We even featured a story on Arctic fisheries.

THEMES. Many themes ran through our posts and events for the year. Just a few to highlight were: change, climate change, post-harvest, gender in the workplace, gendered labour studies and HIV/AIDS were just a few.

EVENTS. The main gender in aquaculture and fisheries events of 2013 that we reported were:

– the 4th Global Forum on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF4) in Yeosu, Korea; and
– the  Center for Maritime Research’s (MARE) People and the Sea conference held a session entitled ” Engaging Gender for Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods and Improved Social Wellbeing: Perspectives from the Global North and South,” in Amsterdam in June. 
 

PUBLICATIONS. We highlighted many new publications in our posts, including one of our own, the Special Issue of the Asian Fisheries Science journal containing papers and an overview from our 2011 GAF3 Symposium.

PEOPLE. We are endeavouring to give more profile to the leaders – the people with a passion to make a difference – who supply the news and lead the studies and projects. This is a relatively new initiative, so not all of our leaders are highlighted in the posts. You can a check out a few who are through this link: posts on people.

SOCIAL MEDIA. Our Facebook page, Twitter feed, Genderaquafish Google Group, Paper.li and Flickr media outreach is all integrated, although each has different, sometimes overlapping, audiences. all audiences continued to grow slowly. Piyashi Deb Roy and Danika Kleiber have stepped up to do the regular posts to the Google Group (a big thanks to both Piyashi and Danika!) and Angela Lentisco help with a sterling job tweeting during the GAF4 event [read the tweets for day 1, day 2, day 3] (a big thanks, Angela!). N.C Shyla gave tremendous support in the posts and webpages for GAF4 (a big thanks for your work, N.C.!). 

2014 promises to be another big year for gender in aquaculture and fisheries. Thank you all for your support as readers, contributors and commentators. Your contributions, suggestions and feedback are always welcome!