Category Archives: FAO, UN Women, World Bank, IFAD, UNIDO and other multilateral

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!

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.

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.

Mrs Usha becomes a community leader through aquaculture

Mrs M Usha (center) weighing crabs for market. Photo: Dr B. Shanthi, CIBA, India.

Mrs M Usha (center) weighing crabs for market. Photo: Dr B. Shanthi, CIBA, India.

Mrs. M. Usha belongs to the Indian Scheduled Irular tribal community. She lives in the remote area of Kulathumedu, a Scheduled Tribal village, Palaverkadu (Pulicat) Post, Ponneri Taluk, Tiruvallur dt.,Tamil Nadu, South India.

Reaching her farming site is quiet tedious. Either you need to trek to these remote villages or go in by boat. When the lake becomes dry during the summer season, you need to walk in through slushy waters to reach the ponds.

Irular tribal people are fishers and crab collectors. They fish in Lake Pulicat as well as in the adjacent sea. During the lean fishing season, their income is affected and they are compelled to look for alternative incomes. Thanks to a collaboration with scientists from the Central Institute for brackishwater Aquaculture, they are now able to consider alternative livelihoods through brackishwater aquaculture technologies like mud crab farming, seabass nursery rearing in hapas and polyculture farming of crab and seabass in a scientific way in the tide fed and community brackishwater ponds in Mrs Usha’s village.

Mrs. M. Usha has developed strong expertise in these brackishwater aquaculture technologies. Utilizing the common brackishwater resources and inputs within her village she has adopted all these technologies and has facilitated the tribal families in her village to take up alternative livelihoods for additional income during the lean fishing season.

An in-depth case study was conducted by Dr. B. Shanthi, Principal Scientist, Social Sciences Division, ICAR- Central Institute of Brackish Water Aquaculture, (CIBA, Chennai). On the basis of her study, Dr Shanthi found Mrs. M. Usha to be versatile and self-confident, have good leadership qualities, be a good motivator, and always fast to grasp new ideas. She has led 150 tribal people, both women and men in families, of this village to adopt polyculture farming of crab and seabass in the community ponds. A Women’s Self Help Group (WSHGs) named ‘Marikolunthu’ adopted crab farming in tide fed pond and Asian seabass nursery rearing in hapas.

The brackishwater aquaculture carried out by Mrs. M. Usha and other tribal families have enhanced the group’s savings. From the profit, they grew their bank accounts and reinvested this in farming. Mrs Usha communicated with others in the self-help group and strengthened internal lending among the group members. Polyculture farming has helped Mrs. Usha and other Irular tribal beneficiaries learn a new occupation for the lean fishing season. The developments also provided demonstration and leadership leading to impact among other tribal families who have slowly started adopting the technologies by investing money from their own their savings.

In the village social taboos prevailed, such as that women should not walk in front of men when the men are returning from fishing because this would lead to poor sales that day. In addition, women should not go outside their village to participate in meetings and events, and should not talk out in front of men. After the technical interventions, the tribal men became more aware of the inequalities and gave more power to the women. Actually, the women in the village overcame the taboos and beliefs when they started going outside their villages to do crab marketing. Mrs. Usha contributed her part to this empowerment.

Noticing the interest of Mrs. M. Usha and her tribal WSHGs, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted the Post -Tsunami Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (PTSLP) in Tamil Nadu. Mrs. M. Usha and her groups received funds and subsidy of Rs. 1 – 3 lakhs (I lakh is 100,000) per each group to assist them adopt crab farming. For their work, Mrs. Usha and her SHG group in Kulathumedu village were subsequently awarded the “Best WSHG of Tiruvallur District”.

In addition on the technology front, these were the first tribal families in India to take up the tedious and risky task of rearing Asian sea bass in nursery hapas in brackishwater ponds and creeks. Farm made feeds developed by Mrs. Usha and her groups gave helped nourish the seabass fingerlings.

Mrs. Usha has enhanced her knowledge and skills through training on mud crab aquaculture from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (a Society under the Indian Marine Products Export Development Authority) and, from CIBA, on fish sampling, packing of seabass fingerlings for marketing and record & account keeping.

The enterprise has developed a systematic marketing strategy that has helped the villagers learn the modern crab marketing. Mrs Usha has her own style in establishing rapport among the tribal families, WSHGs and crab marketing agents. She gains their confidence to stock water (post-moult) crabs for farming in pond and seabass fry in hapas and then to supply the harvested crabs and seabass fingerlings to the retailers and marketing agents. She has helped transfer this approach to other tribal coastal families and WSHGs.

She has strived hard to bring in a diversification of livelihoods among the tribal families by making them understand that they need an alternative livelihood to earn an additional income apart from fishing to improve their standard of living. Every day she walks 4 kms in the water-logged land to reach her work spot. She along with other tribal family members in the village devotes most of her time to improving their farming enterprises.

The adoption spread from, at first, two WSHGs and three families, and later others came forward. At present in the village, 20 families farm 20 crab ponds and 12 SGHs practice crab farming in tide fed ponds. Seeing the success, a total of 150 irular tribal families both men (82) and women (65) including new 5 WSHGs came forward with a new proposal of polyculture trials.

Mrs. M. Usha receiving the award from Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India Shri. Radha Mohan Singh and the Hon’ble Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries of India Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan. Photo: ICAR

Mrs. M. Usha receiving the award from Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India Shri. Radha Mohan Singh and the Hon’ble Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries of India Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan. Photo: ICAR

HONOUR RECEIVED
For all her contribution to her society in the adoption of brackishwater aquaculture technologies, Mrs Usha was selected for the “ICAR – INDIAN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE – IARI Innovative Farmers Award”- 2016 of India. She received this award from the Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India Shri. Radha Mohan Singh and the Hon’ble Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries of India Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurated this Mela during the KRISHI UNNATI MELA 2016, 19-21 March 2016 held at New Delhi.

Acknowledgement: Drawn from material prepared by Dr B. Shanthi, Central Institute for Brackishwater Aquaculture, Chennai, India.

Building climate resilience in Laos by bringing in women

Lao women researchers. Photo: FishBio (Fisheries research, monitoring and conservation) http://fishbio.com/field-notes/population-dynamics/lao-women-in-fish-research

In other projects in Laos, women in Donexay village have become involved as researchers in the Nam Kading River of central Lao PDR. Photo and story: FISHBIO [Fisheries Research, Monitoring and Conservation] FISHBIO

Charlotte Moser worked among Lao fishers in the Sekong River basin that begins in Vietnam, traverses Lao PDR and flows into the Mekong in Cambodia. The project on which she worked, in Samakhixay and Saysettha districts of Attapeu Province in southern Laos, involved Lao PDR, World Bank and IUCN support. She reports [“Listening to Women Fishers on the Sekong River: Fostering Resilience in Village Fishery Co-Management“] that the advent of fisheries comanagement and new national laws and institutions such as the Lao Women’s Union and a flurry of activity, especially after the 1995 UN Beijing  Conference on Women, tended to stay at the national level.

What was happening at the local level along the Sekong, where men fished in the main river and its tributaries and women were seasonal fishers in the rice fields? Following the new national 2009 Guideline for Fisheries Comanagement, several comanagement fishery committees were established to oversee fisheries conservation zones. Elite men tended to be appointed to the committees (by village chiefs), thus cementing the status quo, whereas women, if in the committees, were elected and tended to be challenging the status quo. The national fishery guidelines did not mandate women’s participation.  Generally, the fisheries committees also avoid other difficult issues such as ethnicity, the deteriorating quality of the river water and its fishery resources, and the maintenance of fish conservation zones. Of 6 committees established in 2009 in the study area, the only committee to survive until 2013 was the one that had a woman member (who kept the committee records) and it was also the only one to maintain a conservation zone.

Charlotte Moser laments that, despite the calls to include women, and the good advice available as to how to do this, action on the ground often disappoints, as in this case in Laos. She reiterates the generally recommended steps needed, but does not underestimate their difficulty to implement.

Among these steps are including language in the national Fisheries Law that requires participation by women in village fishery management committees, creating incentives to allow women to develop new skills, ensuring more places in governance structures for women and providing opportunities for adaptive learning tailored to the experiences and interests of women in fishing villages.

Abstract: The accelerated economic development of landlocked Laos, combined with extreme climate variables, points to dramatic transformations in subsistence fisheries on its rivers. In the country’s first Fisheries Law, adopted in 2009, co-management of village fisheries is required as a way to promote sustainable development at a local level. The co-management model, however, does not stipulate participation by women fishers, important stakeholders who make up almost one-half of all Lao fishers and whose work contributes directly to family nutrition and well-being. Based on fieldwork conducted in fishing villages on the Sekong River in southern Laos in 2013, this paper takes an ecosystems approach to discuss how the country can build resilience and social cohesion into fisheries by incorporating women and their knowledge into village fishery management. In the process, the health of river ecosystems and food security will improve, while women fishers will acquire new skills to help them avoid ‘poverty traps.’

Download the paper here

Women-led fish farming improves life for families in Yapacani, Bolivia

Picture1The Fish for Life project, initiated by experts from Canada, Brazil and Bolivia, and carried out with families in Yapacani, Bolivia, has succeeded in expanding the farming families’ diversity of food and farming options – previously based on single crop rice farming – by successfully introducing women-led fish farming.

The comprehensive development project, complete with pilot studies to prove up the technical options and then help for local farmers to develop their knowledge and skills, has generated an additional US$15,000 per year per family.  Since 2008, before the project, fish consumption has increased from 3.8 kg per year per capita to 5.6 kg per year per capita. This is an area that traditionally eats little fish, despite good water resources and available local species of fish. In the project, a small native fish, sabalo or black prochilodus (Prochilodus nigricans) was added to previous aquaculture attempts using just pacu (Colossoma macropomum).

The women have become majority members of the Yaqcapani Northern Integrated Pisciculture Association – APNI), coming from a former position in which they had little economic recognition to one of leadership in an important new economic activity. Their husbands have gone from scepticism to strong support.

To read more about this interesting success story, click this link from the website of the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2015: Make it Happen!

NACA-AwFThis International Women’s Day we are pleased to share a heartening and forward looking set of messages from Asian women in the aquaculture sector. The presentation comes courtesy of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific and Aquaculture without Frontiers

Dr Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit

Dr Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit

Click on the picture above to launch the slide show, which starts with the challenges and shows the spirit of women succeeding in their lives, businesses and careers in aquaculture.

Download all the images in PDF here. The project to compile the personal accounts was led by our forward-looking colleague Dr Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit.

Here are some snippets from the quotes:

  • Meryl Williams (Australia) – the challenges of growing gender inequity
  • Gina Regalado (Philippines) – women in aquaculture are a special breed ….
  • Ms Saovanee V (Thailand) – I make my own decisions as farm manager
  • Ms Siyarut Isarawongchai (Thailand) – women have the right to do what they want. We can discuss and help each other.
  • Dr Amonrat Sermwatanakul (Thailand) – trains smallscale ornamental fish farmers, founded DrNoi.com for ornamental fish farming industry
  • Prof Alice G. Ferrer (Philippines) – I conduct research in aquaculture to look for evidence to inform decision/policy makers
  • Dr Supranee Chinabut (Thailand) – women in Thai Department of Fisheries have equal rights to work and be promoted.
  • Mrs Mam S. (Thailand) – I can do everything that a man can do in the farm. People here perceive me as economically better-off.
  • Dr Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay (Philippines) – I dream of gender-responsive work spaces along upgraded fisheries and aquaculture value chains.
  • Nguyen Thi Kim Quyen (Vietnam) – I am proud of my contribution to fisheries education in my country.
  • Dr Malasri Kumsri (Thailand) – I am confident we women have made significant contributions and progress
  • Dr Temdoung Somsiri (Thailand) – aquatic animal health profession is favorable to women
  • Ms Sunee Kanrith (Thailand) – when I visit my farm, I can interact with my manager and workers without any difficulty.
  • Ms Sirisuda Jumnongsong (Thailand) – my expertise in research and knowledge generation can contribute to successful aquaculture and fisheries development
  • Dr Puttharat Baoprasertkul (Thailand) – women make good researchers
  • Dr Melba G. Bondad-Reantaso (Philippines) – the scope of my aquatic animal health responsibilities for FAO takes me from farmers to ministers