Category Archives: NACA

Celebrating the artworks of school children

2nd prize snr

“The role of women and youth in aquaculture development or sustainable fisheries management.” Painting by Ms. Narumol Damrongsiriphakdee and Ms. Oranut Sangpiya, Sripruetta School. Teacher: Ms. Sumitra Kanapang

Take a moment to browse this delightful book that celebrates the imagination, perceptions and vision of junior and senior high school students from Thailand who, during GAF6 in August 2016 in Bangkok, were asked to paint their impressions of “The role of women and youth in aquaculture development or sustainable fisheries management,” or “The impact of aquaculture or fisheries on men, women and youth in the community or along fish value chains.”

3rd Prize snr-2

“The role of women and youth in aquaculture development or sustainable fisheries management.” Painting by Ms. Duenpen Pansukha and Ms. Pitchatorn Wawilai, Wat Nang Sao School. Teacher: Ms. Onnicha Bunyasitphichai

The book of winning entries, presented in vivid colors, can be  be seen in this excellent volume containing the paintings. It has been produced by the Network of Aquaculture and Fisheries Centres in Asia-Pacific, GAF6, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Faculty of Fisheries Kasesart University and USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership.

The book can be downloaded here.

To find our more about the art competition, and see photos of the students working on their art projects, visits this page.

“Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture” Special Issue of Asian Fisheries Journal online

Special Issue of Asian Fisheries Science journal, Volume 30S, has just been released online, presenting 25 papers, plus a Guest Editorial and other information based on GAF6 – the 6th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (2016, Bangkok, India).

The Special Issue is “Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture.” Dr Nikita Gopal, Chief Guest Editor of the Special Issue, and her co-editors, highlight that, as applied research, “most of the work published represents on-the-ground efforts to empower women and men to improve their livelihoods. These applied studies are complemented by others of a deeper theoretical and more exploratory nature addressing women‟s and men‟s personal perceptions of themselves within the fish sectors.

The papers cover many angles, including the impacts on fishermen’s perceptions of their masculinity under strict new fisheries regulations, women’s and men’s strategies and niches in aquaculture, a large tuna port, following a major land reclamation project, a tsunami and in seaweed production. In exploring the paucity of sex-disaggregated data, aquaculture publishing by women, and women’s needs after disasters, the papers range from global in scope, to the national and local.

Visit this page to gain an overview of the Special Issue and download the whole volume or individual papers. LINK

Congratulations to all the authors!

4th Anniversary of Dr M.C. Nandeesha


Dr M.C. Nandeesha and Prof M.S. Swaminathan together during a 2011 conference in Chennai on mangrove conservation. Photo: Piyashi DebRoy.

Dr. Mudnakudu C. Nandeesha (1957-2012), who instigated many women/gender in aquaculture and fisheries initiatives, passed away on 27 December 2012. On the 4th anniversary of his passing, we pause to remember him and acknowledge his contributions on many fronts, including on gender awareness and action.

Dr Nandeeshabegan his work in aquaculture research and development in Karnataka State, India, and was then influential in fish breeding in Andra Pradesh. From India, he moved on to work in aquaculture and development work in Cambodia and Bangladesh, before returning to become a leading aquaculture educator in universities in Tripura and Tamil Nadu, India. Along the way, Nandeesha became very engaged and influential in institution building, through professional societies such as the Asian Fisheries Society Indian Branch, the Asian Fisheries Society, the World Aquaculture Society and Aquaculture without Frontiers, among others. He was concerned with improving the professionalisation of fisheries and aquaculture, infrastructure and bringing women and men farmers into collaboration with scientists (see his regular “Farmers as Scientists” articles in NACA’s Asian Aquaculture magazine from about 2002 to 2004: LINK).

See our previous articles on Dr M.C. Nandeesha. LINK

Social development in seafood production


Panel at the Seafood Industry and Social Development Conference, September 2015, Maryland, USA. Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit is second from left.

Brief report on the Proceedings of the Seafood Industry and Social Development Conference
21-22 September 2015, Annapolis, Maryland, USA
By Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit

In early 2015, NACA (Network for Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific) was invited by Oxfam/SFP/UNDP to participate in the Seafood Industry and Social Development Conference to present the work we are doing on gender in aquaculture, and the results of the USAID/MARKET Gender project. The conference was aimed to promote and encourage further work towards social development in seafood production. The Conference was held on 21-22 September 2015 at The Loews Hotel, Annapolis, Maryland, USA. It was attended by various actors along the seafood value chain, mainly from the US and Europe.

The conference was convened by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Oxfam and the UNDP, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation (RF). The representative of the RF emphasized during the opening remarks, that the industry has to ensure the social and economic well-being of those who depend on the industry for their lives. There is an intersection between human livelihoods and natural ecosystems to meet food security and economic growth. The need for sustainable approaches to meet the demand for fish in the future as emphasized, considering that only 150 M tons could be produced but 230-250 M tons are needed to meet the demand for fish. The challenge is how to meet this difference. Small-scale fisheries was mentioned several times, in terms of livelihoods, diversified livelihoods and social safety nets. Efforts should focus on them, and it was suggested to promote financial innovations, with efforts having meaningful economic impacts and strengthened safety net. The Rockefeller Foundation recognizes the human development challenge, and they are willing to work with everyone to meet these challenges and achieve solutions.

Keynote speakers emphasized the role of the seafood industry in advancing social development. Gender equality and women empowerment were mentioned as key aspects to achieve social development. Dr Christophe Bene (CIAT/CGIAR) suggested that we should focus on the contribution of fish to food security and nutrition. The importance of women needs to be considered, as they are half of the labor force, especially in processing, factories, fish trading, and informal sectors. However, their contribution and involvement are oftentimes unrecorded, undervalued, and invisible in national statistics. There is gender bias both in and outside the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. It is time to create a positive narrative food security and nutrition. One of his recommendations was to consider women as a key entry point, and collecting gender disaggregated data is necessary to provide policy makers relevant information on the importance of women in the seafood industry. In addition to this, he also recommended the promotion and defense of labor rights, looking beyond the fish farmers. The fisheries and aquaculture sector needs to change our narrative, moving away from ‘crisis’ narrative to emphasizing the positive contribution of fish to nutrition. This will result in a new image of fish based on food security and nutrition and impact on health.

Other keynote speakers also made suggestion on how the industry can contribute to social development. One suggestion was to find ways to ensure that benefits are widely shared across the industry, especially among small scale producers and suppliers, women and marginalized groups. The UN Guiding Principles were also cited, wherein human rights in seafood industry concerns include forced labor, and impacts on women and children, consumer health, transportation, etc. In addition, a rights based approached is necessary to achieve a socially responsible seafood industry to end poverty and injustice. For Oxfam, their vision for change is to have synergies with other stakeholders, and to develop a more sustainable and socially responsible seafood sector. Producers need to have a role and a voice. Social concerns can be matched with environmental and economic concerns.

Gender focus, and women as half of the workforce was mentioned in some of the presentations, especially those from international organizations such as World Bank, and also by the various NGOs working among the small scale fisheries in developing countries. The Voluntary Guidelines for Small-Scale Fisheries was also presented, and the section of Gender Equality was pointed out, considered a first in a fisheries instrument.


Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit presenting on NACA’s gender work at the Seafood Industry and Social Development Conference.

NACA’s presentation was on its gender programme, the newly launched Women, Youth and Aquaculture Development, and the results and recommendations from the recently concluded project on Thematic Studies on Gender in Aquaculture in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam. This was a project implemented by NACA under the USAID supported Maximizing Agricultural Revenue through Knowledge, Enterprise Development and Trade (MARKET) project. Participants were encouraged to work in partnership with NACA to reach the various groups of small scale producers and stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The remaining other sessions consisted of speakers from various organizations and companies involved in seafood production, trade, marketing, certification, and social development, presenting their activities and how they are involved or plan to involve in promoting social development. There is a high intention to be involved in social development and an interest in promoting gender equality throughout the value chain. However it is clear that much still needs to be done in equipping those interested with tools and mechanisms for them to apply a more gender sensitive and responsive approach in their activities.

Practical examples given by FAO included providing direct support of women to women’s organizations for example in the processing sector and in developing their capacities and skills. The Global Environmental Facility promotes equality across genders, promotes livelihoods and opportunities for women, and strengthening business skills to empower women’s organizations. World Bank tries to disaggregate gender data, looking for opportunities along the value chains to improve efficiency and make more money for those in the value chains, especially deficiencies in post-harvest where mainly the workers are women.

In conclusion, on the gender aspect part, it was recommended to not use the term “fisherman” as there are also women fishers, so it was suggested to use fisher folks instead. Governance is recognized as needed to have an enabling environment and the private sector is also a key actor in advancing social development in the seafood industry. The gender dimension was not really mentioned much in this conference so it was suggested to put women at the center of social development. Working in partnerships with others is also essential, including investing in the empowerment of small scale fisheries and labor industry, and promoting gender inclusiveness as it benefits business.

The majority of the presentations for the 2 day conference can be found here:


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 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

GAF5 Photos available on our Flickr group

A set of GAF5 photos are now available on our Flickr group:

Check them out! They include group photos, presenters photos, people asking questions, participants in working groups, ceremony, prize winners, etc etc..

The photos are courtesy of our hosts in India, the National Bureau of Fish Genetics Resources. Thank you!

NACA and partners studying gender in aquaculture in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam

Mrs Xiem (Ca Mau, Vietnam), one of the largest crab farmers in Vietnam, and local women workers. Photo: Ha Thu

Mrs Xiem (Ca Mau, Vietnam), one of the largest crab farmers in Vietnam, and local women workers. Photo: Ha Thu

In 2012, the NACA (Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific) Governing Council put gender issues on the work programme as a cross-cutting issue (see our post). In 2013, NACA held a special workshop at GAF4, with Norad support, to develop ideas for gender mainstreaming at NACA (see our GAF4 Report for a short summary of the Workshop outcomes).

Early this year, the USAID-MARKET project in the lower Mekong countries, NACA and partners in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam combined to start the project: Thematic Studies on Gender in aquaculture in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.

Read about this project and how it is progressing. Come to GAF5 in Lucknow in November )



In for the Long Haul

Mekong Gender and Fisheries Network Meets in Nong Khai, Thailand

Mekong Network for Gender Promotion in Fisheries Development, 13th Meeting

On 21 and 22 June 2012, the world’s longest running gender and fisheries network, the Mekong Network for Gender Promotion in Fisheries Development (NGF) held its 13th annual meeting and field visits to women’s groups for fish processing and aquaculture in the northwest of Thailand . The genesis of the network has been documented in papers by (1) Kathleen Matics in the Asian Women in Fisheries Symposium (1998), (2) M.C. Nandeesha and Elsie Tech at the Global Symposium on Women in Fisheries (2001), (3) Napaporn Sriputinibondh (2004), (4) Hap Navy and Wolf Hartmann (2007), (5) Heng Ponley and Kaing Khim (2011), and also during the 13th NGF meeting (see all references below).

Developed out of workshops in Cambodia in the 1990s, the NGF formed as a federation of government-led national women in fisheries networks in the four lower Mekong River basin countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam). The Network is independent, owned by the government fisheries line agencies of MRC member countries and is supported by them and by the Mekong River Commission’s Fisheries Programme. The NGF is a member of the Mekong Technical Advisory Body on Fisheries Management. For the first time, the NGF invited the MRC Fisheries Programme’s national focal points to also attend the NGF meeting in order to further strengthen the links between mainstream fisheries matters and the gender issues. NGF also invited the Asian Fisheries Society, the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and SEAFDEC to take part in the meeting. I attended on behalf of AFS and NACA, along with Dr Ambekar Eknath, DG of NACA and representatives of SEAFDEC.

We were welcomed by Dr Peter Degen, Chief Technical Adviser of the MRC Fisheries Programme and Dr Amonrat (Noi) Sermwatanakul, a Regional NGF coordinator and Thailand Department of Fisheries host . The meeting was followed by Dr Malasri Khumsri, Fisheries Management and Governance Specialist of MRC Fisheries Programme presented  an overview of gender mainstreaming in the MRC and updated us on how the NGF is promoting gender equality in the fisheries sector through the NGF as an informal knowledge network. Achievements included creating better information on gender roles through research, data collection and surveys, strengthening the roles of the national gender focal points and of women’s roles in the generally male-dominated fisheries departments and providing space for cross-scale gender dialogue down to community and local groups. Each of the four national NGF focal points then provided a status report, structured around national structures for promoting gender equality, sex- disaggregated data, activities in 2011-2012 and plans for 2012-2013 and self-assessment of progress.

NGF Field visit, 21 June 2012. Photo: Theerawat Samphawamana

Some of the points that stood out from the four national presentations:

  • Within countries, the gender and fisheries units and their activities are linked with the central units of the government responsible for delivery on national and international women/gender policies.
  • The national units are operating with only small resources and have made progress through the commitment of the people running the units and support from mainstream managers and programs. Clearly, much more progress could be made with more resources.
  • A high priority regional activity is to fully develop the methods for collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data, and then conduct basic data gathering and reporting work.
  • Gender equity is a complex and controversial subject and gender mainstreaming is going to take a long time to achieve. Despite this, leaders in fisheries departments generally recognize its importance but do not really understand the concept well enough to know what can be done in practice.
  • The Network is enthusiastic to continue to work to secure more progress.

Established in 1997, the Cambodian network has been the longest running and Kaing Khim, the Deputy Director General of Fisheries Administration, reflected on the lessons learned in gender mainstreaming policies and strategies. Since 2008, the gender plans and strategies have been integrated with annual, mid-term (3-5 years) and long term (10 year) plans, as well as with CamCode, the national adaptation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Good progress has been made, Dr Khim said, through solid policy and strategies and attention from senior leaders, but it is wrong to assume that real change is going to happen suddenly. Due to the sensitivity and complexity of the issues, “unlimited time is needed to disseminate, coordinate, monitor and follow up regularly with agencies and projects/programs.”

Dr Ambekar Eknath, DG of NACA described NACA’s Council commitment to develop gender as a cross-cutting theme in the work programme. I reported in a little more depth on the NACA decision and on the Asian Fisheries Society work to promote gender in aquaculture and fisheries (see: I stressed that we should not expect that the current interest in gender in the fish sector would translate into long term substantive action as the interest had waxed and waned in the recent past. A timeline of gender activities going back to the 1975 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its impacts in sectoral bodies and in countries showed examples of the ups and downs of interest. To date, we still know too little about what to do to make the sector more gender equitable. The current challenge is to ensure that the renewed interest leads to more substantive action.

Meryl Williams (

(3) Sriputinibondh, N., K. Kaing, Nguyen Thi Bich, K. Deeburee, N. Liepvisay, W.D. Hartmann (2004) Gender Mainstreaming in the MRC Fisheries Programme, Paper presented in the Global Symposium on Gender in Fisheries at the 7th Asian Fisheries Forum, 30 November -4 December 2004, Penang, Malaysia (also referred to briefly on p.4 of ).

Putting gender on the Programme of NACA

At its March meeting in Cambodia, the 23rd NACA Governing Council endorsed a proposal to add Gender Issues in Aquaculture as a cross-cutting theme for the NACA Work Plan. This means that gender issues will now be incorporated as a regular component of all the thematic work programmes.

Link to the NACA News report

Barakhandapat Ornamental Fish Breeding Unit, Odisha, India. Photo from: Aquaculture Asia Magazine (NACA) 2011(4)

NACA wins the Margarita Lizárraga Medal

Congratulations to NACA for winning this prestigious award!

Prof Sena de Silva receives the award from DG FAO Dr Jacques Diouf at the 37th FAO Conference, Rome

The Margarita Lizárraga Medal Award was established by the FAO Conference in 1997 to honour the memory of Dr Magarita Lizárraga, former Senior Fishery Liaison Officer, for her decisive role in promoting the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and for her productive work in the field of fisheries for almost forty years, particularly in developing countries.