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
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Library and Archives, Canada. 1993 postage stamp.
Barbara Neis, Siri Gerrard and Nicole G. Power have written a reflective paper on the social-ecological systems of cod (Gadus morhua) fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Norway. Their study revealed similarities but also many differences between the ways small scale fishing communities in the two countries have reacted to changes in the fish stocks and the policies that accompanied the changes.
Their paper, “Women and Children First: the Gendered and Generational Socialecology of Smaller-scale Fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador and Northern Norway,” draws from the great depth of excellent sociological and gender research over the last decades, including especially their own. It explores the impacts since the late 1980s and early 1990s of the Canadian cod stock collapse and of the introduction of a new type of quota system in the Norwegian part of the Norwegian-Russian cod fishery.
They found that the ecological trajectories were very different in both fisheries – the Canadian cod stock has not recovered, but some other fisheries have prospered in its place, while the Norwegian cod stocks are at a record high. However, policy differences between the two countries resulted in employment decreasing in both countries, with the Norwegian decrease 10% greater than that in the Canadian fishery. Women’s formal engagement in the two fisheries differ, but is generally low, especially in Norway where they have been less likely to engage in the catching sector. In both places, young people are not entering the fishery, although modest success has been achieved with youth-oriented initiatives in Norway. The age profile of fish-workers is getting older. Women and youth face the hurdle of raising sufficient funds to buy boats, licences and quota. The changes are complex and the social and household impacts have emerged in the face of gender and generational blindness in policy-making.
Download the paper here
ABSTRACT. The resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed and developing countries has been used to provide lessons to conventional managers regarding ways to transition toward a social-ecological approach to understanding and managing fisheries. We contribute to the understanding of the relationship between management and the resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed countries by looking at these dynamics in the wake of the shock of stock collapse and fisheries closures in two contexts: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and northern Norway. We revisit and update previous research on the gendered effects of the collapse and closure of the Newfoundland and Labrador northern cod fishery and the closure of the Norwegian cod fishery in the early 1990s and present new research on young people in fisheries communities in both contexts. We argue that post-closure fishery policy and industry responses that focused on downsizing fisheries through professionalization, the introduction of quotas, and other changes ignored the gendered and intergenerational household basis of small-scale fisheries and its relationship to resilience. Data on ongoing gender inequities within these fisheries and on largely failed recruitment of youth to these fisheries suggest they are currently at a tipping-point that, if not addressed, could lead to their virtual disappearance in the near future.
Posted in Americas, Barbara Neis, Canada, Change, Europe, Fish post-harvest, Fisheries, Gender, Gender in the workplace, Gendered impact study, Gendered labor studies, Globalization, Labrador, Men, Newfoundland, Nicole Power, Norway, People, Siri Gerrard, Women
Tagged Canadian cod collapse