Tag Archives: fisheries

Five-country information for gender in fish production


A new working paper from WorldFish Center delves into some of the basic background information needed to develop research and development programs with a gender focus in aquaculture and fisheries production systems in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Zambia.
Weeratunge, N., Chiuta, T.M., Choudhury, A., Ferrer, A., Hüsken, S.M.C., Kura, Y., Kusakabe, K., Madzudzo, E.,
Maetala, R., Naved, R., Schwarz, A., and Kantor, P. (2012). CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems. Penang, Malaysia. Working Paper: AAS-2012-21.
Abstract: “Aquatic agricultural systems (AAS) are systems in which the annual production dynamics of freshwater and/or coastal ecosystems contribute significantly to total household income. Improving the livelihood security and wellbeing of the estimated 250 million poor people dependent on AAS in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Zambia is the goal of the Worldfish Center-led Consortium Research Program (CRP), “Harnessing the development potential of aquatic agricultural systems for development.” One component expected to contribute to sustainably achieving this goal is enhancing the gender and wider social equity of the social, economic and political systems within which the AAS function.
The CRP’s focus on social equity, and particularly gender equity, responds to the limited progress to date in enhancing the inclusiveness of development outcomes through interventions that offer improved availability of resources and technologies without addressing the wider social constraints that marginalized populations face in making use of them. The CRP aims to both offer improved availability and address the wider social constraints in order to determine whether a multi-level approach that engages with individuals, households and communities, as well as the wider social, economic and political contexts in which they function, is more successful in extending development’s benefits to women and other excluded groups. Designing the research in development initiatives to test this hypothesis requires a solid understanding of each CRP country’s social, cultural and economic contexts and of the variations across them. This paper provides an initial input into developing this knowledge, based on a review of literature on agriculture, aquaculture and gender relations within the five focal countries. Before delving into the findings of the literature review, the paper first justifies the expectation that successfully achieving lasting wellbeing improvements for poor women and men dependent on AAS rests in part on advances in gender equity, and in light of this justification, presents the AAS CRP’s conceptual framework for gender and social analysis.”

Three new ICSF reports tackle Climate Change, MPAs and Small Scale Fisheries in India

Seaweed harvesters, Bharathinagar, Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India. Photo: Shilpi Sharma (courtesy of ICSF)

Climate Change and Fisheries: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities in India on Measures to Protect Life and Livelihood

by Venkatesh Salagrama,

Through consultations with key fisheries-based stakeholders in four States of India, this study attempts to assess perceptions of fishing communities about the impact of climate change on their lives and livelihoods. It also evaluates the traditional knowledge, institutions and practices of fishing communities that are relevant to climate-change preparedness. The study identifies adaptation and mitigation measures that may need to be adopted by fishing communities and the State in relation to climate change. Based on this overall analysis, the study proposes measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of small-scale fishing communities in the context of climate change policies and programmes at different levels.

Download report: http://www.icsf.net/en/monographs/article/EN/121-perspectives-fr.html?limitstart=0

MPA Workshop Proceedings 2012: Fishery-dependent Livelihoods, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity: The Case of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas in India.

The lacunae in fishing-community engagement in the management and governance of marine and coastal protected areas (MCPAs) were discussed in the 2009 Chennai Workshop organized by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF). To continue the discussion, a second, two-day workshop to review existing legal and institutional mechanisms for implemention and monitoring of MCPAs, titled ‘Fishery-dependent Livelihoods, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity: The Case of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas in India’, was held in New Delhi during 1-2 March 2012.

The objective was to understand the impact of MCPAs on fishing communities, from an environmental-justice and human-rights perspective, and make specific proposals for better conservation while securing the livelihoods of small-scale fishers. The workshop also served to underscore these issues in light of the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held at Hyderabad in October 2012.This publication contains the prospectus of the workshop and a report of the proceedings.

Download report:  http://www.icsf.net/en/proceedings/article/EN/120-fishery-depende.html?limitstart=0

Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries: Towards FAO Guidelines on Marine and Inland Small-scale Fisheries: Workshop and Symposium

 The workshop and symposium titled “Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries: Towards FAO Guidelines on Marine and Inland Small-scale Fisheries” was jointly organized by the National Fishworkers’Forum (NFF) and the Society for Direct Initiative for Social and Health Action (DISHA),in collaboration with the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

The workshop was the first in a series of consultations around the world organized to discuss the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-scale Fisheries (VGSSF) and propose measures, keeping in mind the interests and concerns of small-scale fisheries and fishing communities. The workshop was also a forum to make the role of small-scale fisheries and fishworkers more visible in the context of food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable use of fishery resources. The workshop had 62 participants from both the marine and inland sectors, representing 10 States of India. The participants included fishworkers, representatives of fishworker organizations, policymakers and representatives of multilateral organizations. The workshop was structured to facilitate active interaction and discussion among participants, taking into account  linguistic diversity and the contextual differences of the marine and inland sectors.

Dowload report: http://www.icsf.net/en/reports/article/EN/14-workshop-and-sy.html?limitstart=0

Asian women – finding additional income, improving fish quality

Women sewing, Linay, Philippines. Photo: RFLP

The February Newsletter of the FAO-Spain Regional Fisheries Livelihood Program (RFLP) has stories of women’s  contribuitons to improving fish quality and of finding additional income earning opportunities outside the fisheries supply chain.

Essential new tool for projects: Mainstreaming gender into project cycle management in the fisheries sector

New from the Spain-FAO-RFLP!

Women play a significant role in fisheries, yet lack of attention to gender roles and relations can result in policies or programmes failing to improve livelihoods or reduce vulnerability of fishing communities. The largely ‘invisible’ role of women in small-scale fisheries must be addressed if actions aimed at improving the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and their families are to be successful.

‘As part of its efforts to promote gender equity to improve fisheries livelihoods, the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) which is funded by Spain and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has developed a field handbook that gives guidance on taking gender into account in all phases of small-scale fisheries development projects.

The handbook provides:

  • An overview of the rationale, concepts and approaches concerning mainstreaming gender equality in development cooperation;
  • An overview of the role of women in the fisheries sector, the problems they face and possible empowerment opportunities;
  • Tools for gender analysis in fisheries development projects and guidance on how to integrate gender aspects at various stages in the project cycle.

‘To download the handbook or to browse a magazine-style electronic version please visit gender mainstreaming manual

The RFLP would love to receive your feedback or comments on the new handbook. Please visit the above link to make contact.

Microfinance impact: a challenge to assess

Women in India. Photo. N. Gopal

Over the last several months, studies, blogs and news articles have highlighted the challenges of assessing and understanding the various impacts of microfinance. Although not directly addressing fisheries and aquaculture, the findings are relevant to those studying gender in aquaculture and fisheries  as microfinance is often part of a development initiative targeted at women in small scale fisheries and aquaculture. For those with an interest in microfinance, here are some of the recent items and related papers from GAF2 and GAF3.

1. Microfinance’s Sober Reckoning  from the Guardian, and the two recent reports it refers to.

  • David Roodman August 16 2011 from the Center for Global Development  (The New Realism

Download at: http://blogs.cgdev.org/open_book/2011/08/the-new-realism.php Center for Global Development

Download at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/r4d/.pdf

 [Duvendack M, Palmer-Jones R, Copestake JG, Hooper L, Loke Y, Rao N (2011) What is the evidence of the impact of microfinance on the well-being of poor people? London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London].

2. Science magazine, June 2011

Summary. Roughly one-half of the world’s adults, about 2.5 billion people, have neither a bank account nor access to semiformal financial services such as “microcredit,” the growing practice in developing nations of providing small loans, typically less than US$500, to self-employed people (1). But what if they did? Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, a pioneering microcredit institution, argues that this lack of financial access means that the poor, especially poor women, can’t obtain the loans they need to build their businesses and get on a path out of poverty. The idea has taken hold: In 2009, for instance, Grameen Bank served 8 million customers; its average loan balance was just $127. Worldwide, microcredit advocates now claim more than 190 million customers. Proof of concept, however, is not proof of impact. Recent studies have found that some efforts to provide small loans have produced surprisingly weak results, and on page 1278 of this issue, Karlan and Zinman provide more evidence that we need to rethink microcredit. Their findings, from a randomized evaluation of microcredit lending in the Philippines, add to a handful of recent results that suggest that microcredit’s effectiveness has been overstated by studies that selectively focus on success stories.

Abstract: Microcredit institutions spend billions of dollars fighting poverty by making small loans primarily to female entrepreneurs. Proponents argue that microcredit mitigates market failures, spurs micro-enterprise growth, and boosts borrowers’ well-being. We tested these hypotheses with the use of an innovative, replicable experimental design that randomly assigned individual liability microloans (of $225 on average) to 1601 individuals in the Philippines through credit scoring. After 11 to 22 months, we found evidence consistent with unmet demand at the current price (a roughly 60% annualized interest rate): Net borrowing increased in the treatment group relative to controls. However, the number of business activities and employees in the treatment group decreased relative to controls, and subjective well-being declined slightly. We also found little evidence that treatment effects were more pronounced for women. However, we did find that microloans increase ability to cope with risk, strengthen community ties, and increase access to informal credit. Thus, microcredit here may work, but through channels different from those often hypothesized by its proponents.

3. Asian Fisheries Society GAF Symposia

Three papers on microfinance have been presented at the last two GAF Symposia (GAF2 2007 and GAF3 2011)

2007 GAF2

From the GAF2 Summary: A form of marginalization is when access to a range of desired financial services, including credit and insurance, is poor. Arpita Sharma profiled the social and economic status of 4 types of women fish workers in Dakshinda Kannada district of Karnataka state,India– dry and wet fish retailers and laborers – and their small scale financial services needs. Self Help Groups (SHGs), non-government organizations and national banks were productive, especially in their service focus areas of credit and savings. However, only 40% of women are in SHGs, and more could benefit from forming or joining groups. Most significantly, women expressed strong needs for additional services, especially services designed for micro-enterprise development, insurance, remittances, and microfinance for housing and shelter. While agreeing with the better design of microfinance services to meet women’s need, the Symposium participants also pointed out that very little attention is being given to men’s microfinance needs.

[R. Veena and Arpita Sharma* Micro Finance in the Fisheries Sector: A case study of Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka. PPT ]

2011 GAF3

From GAF3 Summary: For poor households, microfinance has become a popular though increasingly questioned solution. It is often targeted at women even if the gender dimensions are rarely studied. Two presentations at GAF3 showed that microfinance, while well regarded by the recipients, usually does not increase their assets and productivity. In 2 districts of Kerala, India, Nikita Gopal reported that government and non-government run microfinance schemes had helped family finances and improved household financial decision-making in low-income families but, since most of the funds had gone into meeting household expenses and not into entrepreneurial opportunities, asset creation had been minimal. In Guimaras, Philippines, Alice J. G. Ferrer found similar results when she studied women and men in fishing and non-fishing households. The decision to seek credit was typically taken jointly by the wife and husband but women then sought the majority of credit, mainly from informal sources. The credit, however, fed consumption rather than production and hence failed to improve productivity or living standards. Both studies stressed the importance of examining all sources of credit and better understanding the need for credit.

[Nikita Gopal and B. Meenakumari Role and impact of microfinance institutions in coastal communities. PPT]

[Alice Joan G. Ferrer and Arthur P. Barrido.  Gender and credit market participation and access among households in coastal barangays in Guimaras, Philippines. PPT]

RFLP News: Gender mainstreaming, women’s activities

Vietnam fish market. Photo: RFLP

In the FAO-Spain Regional Fisheries Livelihood Program for South and Southeast Asia, the August Newsletter (download newsletter) contains several stories that highlight support for fishing community development, with strong participation by women.

Gender (p. 6):  Mainstreaming gender in fisheries in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam

Post Harvest (p.5):

–  Timor Leste fishers to form National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives

–  Meet the champions! Products offering best value potential picked in the Philippines

–  Over 900 Cambodian fishers and vendors trained in hygienic fish processing

Microfinance (p 6): Financial literacy training for fishers

RFLP August 2011 Newsletter

Fisherwomen in the southern Aegean Sea, Turkey

Huriye Goncuoglu and V. Unal published the results of studies on Fisherwomen in the Turkish fishery, southern Aegean Sea in the Journal of Applied Ichthyology, Vol. 27, p 1013–1018, August 2011. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1439-0426.2011.01721.x/abstract)

Lacking official records on the active involvement of women in Turkish fisheries and acknowledgement of their participation, this study set out to validate their involvement and learn more about the status of women in local fisheries in the southern Aegean Sea region of Turkey. The study collected data from on-site surveys and interviews with fisherwomen living in the southern Aegean region of Turkey. Even finding the women was difficult because of the lack of official records. The “snowball” sampling method was used and 96 fisherwomen were interviewed. In the entire southern Aegean region only ten women were members of a cooperative, although many more fish on boats with gillnets and longlines. Although fisherwomen truly fulfill all functions that the profession requires (both pre- and post-harvest phases),  the study demonstrates that they are ignored in pertinent policies.

Thanks to Cornelie Quist for drawing to our attention this paper on fisherwomen in a little studied area and to the authors for their paper which adds to the growing knowledge that is shining a light on gender roles and contributions in fisheries and aquaculture.

Author: Huriye Gonncuoglu, Faculty of Fisheries, Ege University, TR-35100, Bornova, Izmir, Turkey. E-mail: huriyegoncuoglu@gmail.com

A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT: Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute Repositories

Research agencies are very important social institutions in fisheries and aquaculture. Over the decades, their knowledge continues to grow and multiply, enriched through partnerships, outreach and synergies between existing and new ideas. The electronic information era creates new opportunities to make agency knowledge more accessible through creating institute repositories. In the last year, two major research agencies have made their publications available through new institute repositories.

1. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/. Loaded with scans of publications going back to 1948, and up to the present, you can search the more than 8,000 papers by year, author, subject, document type or division. The collection is also indexed in many of the main academic services, including Scientific Commons, Scirus and Google.

2. SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department. http://repository.seafdec.org.ph/ With hundreds of papers, books, handbooks, extension manuals, articles and newsletter items reaching back to 1978, this collection is also readily searchable and will be further augmented by pictures, videos, presentations and other products.


Bangladesh women shrimp farmers at training course. Photo: M. Nuruzzaman

Catch up here on our comprehensive overview of all 48 presentations and posters from GAF3. Presenters from 21 countries covered the following geographic areas: global – 9 presentations; countries – Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam; Africa: Namibia, Tanzania; regions; South and Southeast Asia, Pacific, Europe.

The report, SHINING A LIGHT ON GENDER IN AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES, discovered some common threads among the many papers.

  • The social context of gender needs deeper diagnosis than gender alone in order to understand the complex ‘back stories’ of women and communities.
  • Women are still invisible and often marginal in the fish sector, trade and in natural resource management, although mainstream exceptions exist
  • The conundrum of women’s access to micro-finance yet lack of progress in building assets; and
  • The struggles and successes of achieving gender equality in institutions.

 Messages of hope also emerged, founded on intrinsic community and personal resilience strategies and innovations such as training and inclusive governance.

All those of us involved with GAF3 wish to express our gratitude for the support of the:

  • Asian Fisheries Society
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • National Network on Women in Fisheries in the Philippines, Inc.
  • FAO-Spain Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast Asia
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research
  • Shanghai Ocean University
  • Mundus Maris
  • plus the personal support of all presenters and their organizations.

Read more

FAO RFLP Newsletter features its GAF3 contributors

The RFLP participants: (from left) Angela Lentisco, Nguyen Dang Hao, Heng Ponley, Bandara Basnayake and Rosario Segundina P. Gaerlan.

GAF3: Dr Stella Williams makes a point. In foreground is RFLP presenter Dr Nguyen Dang Nao, Hue University

RFLP May Newsletter

In its first newsletter, (6 May 2011), RFLP featured its particiaption at GAF3. the Newsletter noted: RFLP ‘helped facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences on gender issues in fisheries by supporting the attendance of participants from Viet Nam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines to the 3rd Global Symposium on Gender and Fisheries (3GAF) in Shanghai, China 21 to 23 of April.’

The Newsletter also features articles on work on co-management, safety at sea, community, vocational training, micro-finance and many other interesting topics in the Spanish-funded Programme’s project countries, namely: Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Vietnam.