Category Archives: Tuna

A welcome new FAO gender Handbook to support the Small Scale Fisheries Guidelines

A very welcome addition to the technical support for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication – a handbook –  has just been released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).  Called “Towards gender-equitable small-scale fisheries governance and development“, the handbook written by Nilanjana Biswas, of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), is a treasure trove of essential background knowledge on women, gender and small-scale fisheries, combined with practical advice and case examples on incorporating gender equality principles in small scale fisheries work. The target audience is broad – from government officers to fishers and their communities, fish worker groups and researchers, as befits a product of the very participatory development process the Handbook team took.

The Handbook is organised in 3 parts:

  • Part 1: Understanding gender and the role of women in small-scale fisheries
  • Part 2: Responsible fisheries and sustainable development through a gender lens
  • Part 3: Ensuring an enabling environment for gender equality and supporting implementation

Among the rich and varied advice and explanatory boxes are such gems as a guide to tried and tested FAO methods for assessing post-harvest losses, and disaster response and rehabilitation issues to target to help women. Throughout, the Handbook has action points for policy-makers and for community service organisations, offering a few key tips on each subject.

A particular highlight is the set of case studies, each containing a description of the case, followed by a gender-sensitive “Let’s analyse this…” section that gets to the heart of the gender issues.

Here is the list of Case Studies:

  1. Women in fishing communities on Lake Victoria
  2. Tenure rights of traditional fishing communities in Raigad, India
  3. Recognition of indigenous community-owned land in Nicaragua
  4. War-affected women in the fishing villages of the Mannar Coast,
    Sri Lanka
  5. Self-regulation by women harvesters in the Gulf of Mannar, India
  6. Mandira Marine Extractive Region, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  7. Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from India and Sri Lanka
  8. Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from the European Union
  9. Diversifying livelihoods for small-scale fishing communities in Uganda
  10. Pacific Fishing Company on Levuka Island, Fiji
  11. Migrant Chinese women workers employed in oyster shucking in Japan
  12. Growing violence and abuse in small-scale fisheries in South Africa
  13. Reclaiming the Marol fish market in Mumbai, India
  14. Impact of harbour fishing on fish trade in Kerala, India
  15. Impact of competition along Lake Victoria in Kenya and on inland
    fisheries in Zambia
  16. Impact of industrialization on women in small-scale post-harvest
    fisheries in South Africa
  17. Issues of cross-border trade for traditional women fish vendors in
    Cambodia
  18. The risks of neglecting women in policy implementation
  19. Post-tsunami rehabilitation in Aceh, Indonesia
  20. Impact of mine pollution in Buyat Bay, Indonesia
  21. Matsyafed in Kerala, India – an apex cooperative for small-scale fisheries
  22. Impact of seasonal fishing ban on women fish traders in
    Puducherry, India
  23. Marshall Point, a coastal indigenous fishing/farming community in
    Nicaragua
  24. Women fishers fight corruption in the Sunderbans, India
  25. An example of value chain analysis (VCA) (in Malawi)
  26. Public hearing on issues of women in the fish trade in Kerala, India
  27. Enabling women’s participation in meetings in Kigombe, the United
    Republic of Tanzania
  28. Fisherwomen in Brazil organize for their rights
  29. Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast
    Asia (RFLP)
  30. Mainstreaming gender in the BOBLME project

Download the full Handbook at this LINK.

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