Coastal Fisheries Programme
Number 22 - July 2012


Coordinator: Veikila Curu Vuki, Oceania Environment Consultants, PO Box 5214, UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96913.

Production: Information Section, Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, SPC, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia.

Prepared with financial assistance from Australia, France and New Zealand.

Editor's note

Welcome to the 22nd issue of the Women in Fisheries Bulletin, which highlights gender roles in coastal fisheries, women’s activities in urban and rural communities, and gender issues in development.

In this edition, Tuara and Passfield provide information on issues relating to gender in fisheries science and management. The current status of gender participation in the fisheries sector is assessed for three countries: Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The study was funded by SPC through its SciCOFish Project. It is not surprising that the study shows that there are still more men than women employed in the fisheries management sections of governments in the three countries. Tuara and Passfield also indicate that women make up 18% of the total number of staff working in fisheries, environmental institutions and environmental non-government organisations in the three countries. But when the fishing vessel observers (work that is heavily dominated by men) were eliminated from the statistics, the participation of women increased to 25%. As expected, the percentage of women working as administrators and clerks is about 60%. This is an interesting study as it shows that the effort to actively involve women in fisheries has not really progressed in the last 20 years. This is a male dominated field in the Pacific just as in other parts of the world. How can we fast track the work to make quicker progress from where we are? This study has made some interesting recommendations and it is worth reading. But it may also be time to take stock and reflect and identify where women’s strengths lie and where women can be effectively utilised in this sector, as for example in aquaculture and post-harvest activities.

The two papers by Meryl Williams deal with gender in fisheries. The first paper reflects on the transitional path to move women in fisheries issues from marginalisation into the mainstream. In the second paper, she reports on the 3rd Global Symposium on Gender and Aquaculture and Fisheries of the Asian Fisheries Society. This symposium was held as part of the 9th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum at the Shanghai Ocean University from 21 to 23 April 2011. An overview of the papers presented is reported in this paper. The common theme indicates that women are still marginalised and are not visible. 

Zelda et al. discuss the process involved in training women to support community-based management of marine resources (CBRM) in Solomon Islands. This paper highlights the key components of the training and identifies the lessons learned. The objective of the process is to empower women and to improve gender equity in community-based management.

Recently, the Solomon Islands government established a community-based fisheries section in its fisheries department. This section deals with issues relating to communities, gender, etc. This might help solve some of the problems we encounter in the region with inshore fisheries management.

In a paper on seaweed harvesting, Novaczek describes her trip to Alao in Chile. She then gives a brief overview of the sea plants that are harvested for food and medicine. Finally, the last two papers are on the traditional fishing methods and roles of men and women in Aorangi (Cook Islands) and Foueda, Malaita (Solomon Islands). Both papers describe the fishing methods utilised by men and women. Traditionally, men and women fish in different areas and also use distinct fishing methods. Because of better access to modern fishing gear technology, the gender differences in the use of fishing methods are disappearing in Arorangi.

I welcome any feedback on these articles and encourage you to submit articles on gender and fisheries issues from your country or region.

Veikila Curu Vuki



Issues on gender in oceanic and coastal fisheries science and management in the Pacific Islands: Case studies from Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Tonga
Tuara P., Passfield K. (pdf: 465 KB)
Heading towards the mainstream from the margins
Williams M.J. (pdf: 94 KB)
Shining a light on gender in aquaculture and fisheries: Report on the 3rd Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries
Williams M. (pdf: 476 KB)
Strengthening the role of women in community-based marine resource management: Lessons learned from community workshops
Hilly Z., Schwarz A.-M., Boso D. (pdf: 450 KB)
The seaweed harvesters of Alao
Novaczek I. (pdf: 185 KB)
Traditional fishing methods, raui and gender roles in Arorangi village, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Solomona D.M., Vuki V.C. (pdf: 226 KB)
The people of the artificial island of Foueda, Lau Lagoon, Malaita, Solomon Islands: Traditional fishing methods, fisheries management and the roles of men and women in fishing
Buga B., Vuki V. (pdf: 182 KB)

Download the complete publication:

Women in fisheries #22 (pdf: )


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