Asian Fisheries Science 30S Special Issue (2017)

AFS Special Issue 30S ||Engendering Security in Fisheries & Aquaculture || Reports || Program, Abstracts, PPTs || Organization



Download whole Special Issue here: 2017 AFS 30S GAF6 Special Issue

This Special Issue of Asian Fisheries Science journal includes a Guest Editorial, 24 papers and a report based on the presentations and posters of the 6th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF6) held during the 11th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum, 3-7 August 2016, Bangkok, Thailand.

Reference: Gopal, N., M.J. Williams, S. Gerrard, S. Siar, K. Kusakabe, L. Lebel, H. Hapke, M. Porter, A. Coles, N. Stacey and R. Bhujel. 2017. Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries: Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture. Asian Fisheries Science (Special Issue) 30S. 423 pp.

Table of Contents – Link

The 6th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF6) was the eighth women/gender and fisheries Symposium of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS). AFS also became the first fisheries and aquaculture professional body to move from talk to action by formally creating the new Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section.

We acknowledge with gratitude our key sponsors: AquaFish Innovation Lab of the United States (Platinum); Thailand Department of Fisheries and the Asian Development Bank (Gold); and Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific and the United States Agency for International Development Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID-Oceans) (Silver). GAF6 was conducted in partnership with: Asian Institute of Technology, University of the Philippines in the Visayas, Aquaculture without Frontiers, Marketing Seafood and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC). We express our gratitude to our presenters/authors, their institutes, and the reviewers for this Special Issue.

The Guest Editorial examined engendering security through looking at the adequacy (and inadequacy) of policies and practices, the importance of fair livelihoods and decent, safe work in fish value chains, and the impacts of change in coastal communities. It also reviewed recent directions of work on gender in fisheries and aquaculture by FAO and noted the cautious self-assessments of progress on gender in the programs of other multilateral development agencies. It concluded that realising security will require making better use of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality), and the transformation of the fish sectors and social norms, a prescription presenting enormous challenges and better organisation by those who hold the vision. Steps, such as the creation of the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society can help set us on the pathway. 

Seven gender issues were identified as not receiving sufficient attention: violence against women, fish processing, impacts on women of changes in resources and climate, linkages between fisheries, aquaculture and agriculture, household impacts of women’s success in technology adoption, how to transform gender relationships and norms, and the effect of global processes on gender relations in the fish sectors. The Editorial also provided an overview of the papers in the Special Issue.


Using ethnography, the spaces of women in the Fish Port Tambler Complex of General Santos City, and the points of convergence with and divergence from the value-chain nodes of the tuna fishing industry were investigated. This major tuna port generated at least 42,000 jobs  but limited spaces were filled by women. Guided by the standpoint of Henri Lefebvre on social spaces, women were observed occupying spaces in the fish port complex and demonstrating their agency and capacities as income earners, friends to fellow workers, and allies in the fish marketing processes. Although their spaces were marginal compared to those of men, and, largely, did not interface with the conceived formal value chain nodes in the tuna industry, these women did not consider themselves marginalised. When viewed through the gender lens of Longwe (1991), however, the women’s sense of their places was either a manifestation of hope for better livelihoods, or a call for increased capacities to enable these women to critically see through their current spaces.

In Phan Thai Norasing village, Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand, livelihoods revolved around fishing-related activities in which men concentrated on fishing and women on on-shore activities such as sergestid shrimp (Acetes spp.) processing.  Masculinity was constructed around the status of the breadwinner, catching the targeted species, earning sufficient income and working at sea with an important sense of being their own boss. In Thailand since 2015, the yellow card issued by the European Union for not taking sufficient measures against illegal fishing has led to massive legal reform and tightening enforcement, such as a strict ban on push nets traditionally used by the village fishermen. The legal amendment hindered the capability of fishermen to maintain their masculinities and the fishermen adapted their strategies in response, also impacting the gender roles of women.

Mariculture was envisioned to help reduce poverty by increasing employment and income. In seven mariculture sites in the Philippines, only 24% of the 785 households surveyed had members with any participation in mariculture. By site, household participation ranged between 5 % and 44 %. Although men dominated mariculture, women had demonstrated that they could equally contribute as operators, caretakers or feeders. The majority of the study participants expressed support for mariculture, particularly men from non-fishing households, and were willing to be involved, particularly among men from fishing households. The willingness to become mariculture operators was higher among women than men. 

The Saemangeum Seawall Project, South Korea, is a major land reclamation scheme that commenced in 1991 and is still ongoing. The primary goal of reclamation was to create agricultural land and to strengthen the Gunsan area’s position as an international centre of trade and industry. Among the problems the project experienced, women and men fishers lost their means of living, water became polluted, and ecosystems were destroyed. These problems were hidden behind debates about economic values and the priority for economic development. Once they were compensated for their fishing rights, the fishers did not have a place to appeal for their basic livelihood rights. With a focus on the change in the women and men fishers’ lives, the present study aimed to elucidate the impacts and changes of the tideland reclamation on the fishers’ communities and their cultural cohesion, the gender roles and the differences people of different ages experienced from the time of closure of the tide embankment.


A review of more than eight million papers across disciplines found that men predominated in the first and last author positions and women were underrepresented in single-authored papers. The present study  assigned gender by author name to the broad discipline of aquaculture in peer-reviewed journals in the complete JSTOR database archive, and compared these results to authorship by gender in the International Aquaculture Curated Database (IACD),  a compilation of over 500 peer-reviewed publications supported by four international aquaculture programs developed by Oregon State University researchers. Preliminary findings revealed that the percentage of women authors was similar for the JSTOR aquaculture journals subsample (13.8 %) and the journals in the IACD (15.7 %). Women, therefore, are not well represented in either database. The next steps for this work were discussed. Gender authorship is a critical component for promoting gender equity in the academic discipline and broader field of aquaculture.

A gender-based post-harvest fisheries technology transfer scheme was conducted to inform an alternative intervention model to provide more effective and responsible livelihood activities for capacitating women in Philippine coastal communities. The study undertook a rapid resource and needs assessment of the coastal community and designed skills training modules for the women of Carles, in northern Iloilo, Philippines. This model that focused on women may be replicated in other coastal communities.

Gender roles can influence the community’s values and beliefs on MPAs as these management tools affect women and men differently. In San Joaquin, Central Philippines, women and men had different perspectives on their marine resources and differed in their knowledge and perceptions regarding MPAs. A greater percentage of women respondents than men had complete awareness of, and some formal knowledge about, MPAs. Similarly, a higher percentage of women respondents than men had a “sustainability mindset” that acknowledged the need to manage marine resources sustainably for future generations. 

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) risks are emergent issues for the female work force in the Bangladesh shrimp processing industry. The Bangladesh Government, along with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the local shrimp factory owners, has taken the OSH issues seriously. Shrimp processing is done in cold and moist conditions for long periods, often without adequate personal protection equipment. Respiratory problems and musculoskeletal pains are prevalent in workers. Recent investigations of OSH in shrimp processing revealed that female workers suffered more than their male counterparts from several illnesses and occupational diseases. They were also victims of wage disparity and were deprived of admissible leave and privileges. 

The people in coastal villages, particularly the women, face different challenges due to disaster threats such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, climate and environmental changes. 200 women and men including the tribal people from four coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, South India, were selected for a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tool and socio-economic and gender analysis (SEAGA). This study revealed the impact of disaster threats, climate and environmental changes on the livelihoods of women and men, the village environment, the village infrastructure and institutions, gender and social issues.


The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus, in an environment of increasing climate variability, is one lens which stakeholders must develop and embrace. Changes in the climate and an increasing population are intensifying the pressures on natural resources on which food production is primarily dependent. The challenge is mounting on the fish drying food chain in Brgy Duljugan in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines. Heightening the women fish driers’ awareness about the nexus and strengthening their roles within the nexus are crucial towards attaining sustainable and resilient livelihoods.

This paper described the roles of men and women in the sergestid shrimp (Acetes spp.) value chain to provide a better view of the industry in Oton and Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines. Sixteen women and 21 men, comprising 46 % of the total number of 80 main players in the study sites were interviewed and key informant interviews and a focus group discussion held. The sergestid shrimp industry was found to be a sphere of both women and men; certain activities were more commonly undertaken by men, others were dominated by women. Although few women were involved in the capture segment, more women were in the processing and trading segments.

Despite the significant presence of women in seaweed production in Indonesia, most of the data collected in official statistics fail to capture their participation, leading to policy neglect of gender issues and affecting the strategy to increase seaweed production and quality. In seaweed production in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) Province, Indonesia, this case study took place in three districts (Alor, Rote and Kupang districts). Men and women contributed similar amounts of labour to most processes in NTT seaweed production.  To improve production and quality, women and men farmers need comprehensive basic and upgraded skills to reduce post-harvest losses. 

An on-farm trial of carp polyculture was carried out with participation of women farmers from Sundardeep Women Fish Farmer’s Cooperative (15 women farmers) in Chitwan District and Mishrit Fish Farmer’s Cooperative (22 women farmers) in Nawalparasi District to field-test the enhancing effect of periphyton on use of feed and fish production. Women farmers stocked six carp species and two small indigenous species (SIS) to ponds. The trial showed that culturing carps with SIS with 50% feeding amount and with bamboo substrates in ponds resulted in a 22% higher fish production as compared to the culture of carps with normal feeding. More interestingly, the gross margin of the half-fed periphyton enhanced carp polyculture was almost two times as much as that of the normal fed polyculture system. Women farmers also benefited socially as well as economically from the interactions within the cooperatives, which increased their self-confidence and developed leadership skills in some members.

For the first time in 2016, a curated set of sex-disaggregated statistics on employment in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors was disseminated by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). For the period of 2009-2014, only 27 % of FAO Member countries reported sex-disaggregated employment data for the fishery sector and 33 % for the aquaculture sector. The FAO data on employment focused on the primary sector and did not include information about the secondary sector of post-harvest processing activities. In 2014, the average number of women engaged in both fisheries and aquaculture in the reporting countries was 19 % of the total workforce and, when considered across a four year average, the figure was 15 %. In Asia, women, on average, made up 15 % of the workforce in the primary sectors for those countries reporting. Enhanced statistics for the secondary post-harvest and service sectors, not presently covered in FAO fisheries and aquaculture statistics, would greatly improve the understanding of the importance of women’s contribution to fisheries and aquaculture, food security and livelihoods. To complement the encouragement for improved national reporting, FAO offers support through tools and guidelines to improve data collection efforts that form the foundation of reporting. 

Consumer awareness is not univocally consistent with behavior. This study compared awareness and behavior of milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forsskål 1775) purchase decision makers in the Province of Iloilo, Philippines towards 8 food consumption trends: (1) food safety; (2) organic food; (3) sustainability in production; (4) good agricultural practices; (5) traceability; (6) local production; (7) support to local farmers; and (8) food labeling. Respondents of the study were 378 milkfish purchase decision-makers in 5 municipalities and 1 highly urbanized city. Except for food safety, results showed that there was no significant difference between male and female purchase decision makers on the level of awareness for all 8 identified consumption trends. However, there was a statistically significant difference in the level of behaviour between male and female purchase decision makers for all 8 food consumption trends. Difference in the level of behaviour was found to be highest on the issue of food safety with males having an average of 5.9 (true of me) vis-à-vis 5.2 for females (somewhat true of me).

In 2013, Super typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc on the coastal communities of Northern Iloilo and other areas of the Visayas group of islands in the Philippines. Using the post-Haiyan experiences of women in the island-village of Bayas as a case study, the paper examined post-disaster relief and rehabilitation and emphasizes the opportunity that post-disaster contexts provided for coastal village women’s agency. Since the women in the coastal village of Bayas were not engaged in offshore fishing they did not directly benefit from the various boat replacement assistance efforts extended to fishing families. Thus they organized themselves and lobbied in order to address security and sustainability concerns.

Mud crab (Scylla serrata) fattening and culture is an emerging industry in Bangladesh where 37.8 % of crab fattening and culturing facilities are owned and operated by women whose households are generally poor. The study was conducted to promote the integration of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus 1758)) into mud crab culture, thus diversifying the crops and potentially improving household income and nutrition. A survey revealed that the majority of mud crab farmers were poorly educated (5 years average schooling) and consumed low dietary nutrients, particularly from animal protein sources. Including tilapia in mud crab fattening and culture increased growth and production of mud crabs, albeit not to a level that differed significantly from the group where mud crab alone were produced. Adding tilapia into mud crab culture increased the nutrient-rich foods available for the farmer’s households. A follow up survey found that the women and their household members improved their incomes and consumption of high quality protein. Overall, the integration of tilapia provides a more sustainable method for growing mud crab while also enhancing the livelihoods of farmers.

This short communication deals with the use of foothill riverbeds for aquaculture involving women in order to improve family nutrition and supplement income of an ethnic community. 90 household ponds were constructed on both sides of river flood plain in foothills of Nepal. Women’s groups participated in monthly technical training sessions along with fish farming activities. Ponds were stocked with grass carp, common carp and Nile tilapia. Local river species were allowed to enter and grow in ponds. Pond dikes were used for vegetable farming, grass cultivation, and pig farming. Though pond fish farming added extra work, ethnic women were able to produce significant amounts of fish, fruits and vegetables that supported family nutrition and was also a source of income.

In Maharashtra State, the Rainbow Revolution scheme was started in 2007 and 305 men and women were beneficiaries. Results of a survey of 30 farms showed the participation and time spent by men in the ornamental unit was significantly higher (8 hrs day-1 average) than that by the women (4 hrs day-1 average). 22 units were owned by men and 8 by women; men had higher access and control over resources. Community norms, including the prevailing social hierarchy, demographic factors and the access to special training on ornamental fisheries were the major factors influencing people in taking up this venture.

This paper described the role of key players in the value chain for milkfish Chanos chanos in a mariculture Park in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, Philippines, with an emphasis on gender dimensions, the value additions by the key players and income distribution. The big, medium and small-scale fish cage operators – 90 % men – were the key players. Along the chain were men and women milkfish brokers/traders, wholesalers, and retailers. Largely, men created value additions; nonetheless, women’s involvement in the different nodes of the chain and their leadership in wholesale and retail trade were evident. Women’s labor was unpaid in small-scale operations, and women’s contribution to the household economy empowered them in household relations and in community affairs. The large and medium players obtained higher incomes from mariculture operations and poverty was perpetuated among small players.


Fish farmers in Northern Thailand who rear Tilapias in floating cages in rivers face significant climate-related risks, in particular from droughts and floods. Women play significant roles in taking care of the fish, raising the question of whether their experience of risks and how they manage risks differ from that of men. This paper is a review of the gender-related findings from a series of studies in Northern Thailand. Gender differences found in perception and management of risks could not be explained by gender differences in attitudes to risk as measured on risk aversion scales. Overall, the studies found that modest gender differences and emotions both influenced risk-taking and decision-making, and thus are significant factors in how climate-related risks are managed.

This paper draws on a study (Monfort 2015) that, among other themes, illustrated the level of knowledge, the level of awareness and the understanding of the distribution of roles by gender through case studies in 6 different countries, Croatia, Egypt, France, Iceland, India and Senegal. The knowledge and understanding of the very complex distribution of roles, power, access to resources and profits between genders were incomplete and varied greatly between regions and industry sectors. This report provided evidence that the quality of data was not linked to a country’s level of economic development.

Women in this study of food security in coastal barangays were basically food consumers and bought food in eateries for their daily food needs thus running the risk of consuming food with high amounts of MSG. This research showed that women played very limited roles in food security, and were relegated mainly to food buying, budgeting, and cooking once a day. Recommendations are made for improving food security and nutrition.

The current study, carried out in the districts of Khulna, Sathkhira and Bagerhat Districts under an USAID supported AIN (Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition) Project of WorldFish, assessed women’s participation in different aquaculture systems. A total of 450 households, 50% of which were assisted under the project, were selected. Women in 74% of the households participated in aquaculture. In homestead-based aquaculture, women’s participation was higher (89%) than the corresponding rates for commercial fish culture (69%) and commercial shrimp culture (36%). Increased awareness and better capacity building initiatives have played a part in increasing women’s participation in aquaculture activities.

This study showed that the decision making power of the women was remarkably improved because of the enhanced income the families could achieve through cage farming, and the education of the children of the women farmers had been aimed at higher levels.