Coastal Fisheries Programme
Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin #16
Number 16 - March 2007


Coordinator: Veikila Vuki, Marine Laboratory, University of Guam, UOG Station, PO Box 5214, Mangilao, Guam 96913.

Production: Information Section, Marine Resources Division, SPC, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia. Fax +687 263818.

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

Editor's note

This issue of the Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin looks at women’s fishing participation in communities and fisheries management and development issues in general. One of the biggest challenges in the region is how to reach a balance between development and management. Management means the closing-off of fishing grounds and the implementation of user and use controls on fisheries areas or certain species. The challenge for management practitioners is how to ensure that people manage their resources and at the same time have access to those resources to maintain their social and economic livelihoods, because for some it may be the only option available.

Thomas Malm contributes to the discussion on gender roles in Oceania by presenting some previously overlooked data on the division of labour in Tonga, with particular reference to agriculture and fisheries involvement of women and men. He has done this by comparing gender roles during the pre-contact period to current practices. Joeli Veitayaki, Alifereti Tawake, Sakiusa Fong and Semisi Meo’s article looks at supporting communities that set up coastal management initiatives by assisting them with alternative sources of livelihood and income.

Mecki Kronen demonstrates how PICTs rely on subsistence and small-scale fisheries for food production, income and livelihood, and how these fisheries represent a resource critical to the economic health of coastal communities. With the growing awareness of the decline of reef fisheries in the region, she suggests that it is vital to identify and determine the values and benefits of the various methods of fishing in order to to enable the implementation of sustainable management strategies and the identification of useful performance indicators. Her paper also illustrates the limitations of using simple economic tools to estimate approximate monetary values at the microeconomic level (households and rural communities).

Women’s fishing participation in countries varies and in a second short article Mecki discusses the participation of women in crab fishing on Christmas Island.

The article on Nauru highlights the importance of fisheries in small island states and how fisheries will remain a fall-back option in some countries. Many PICTs are going through political instability, while some are undergoing reforms and other changes that may result in people losing their employment. For most of these countries, fishing becomes the main source of food and income. The diet trend that is common in countries of the Pacific – that is, moving from traditional food systems to imported foods – is being reversed in Nauru, where high reliance on imported food is changing to reliance on traditional farming and fishing for food. With the collapse in Nauru’s economy have come positive adaptive strategies, with family ties firming up and closer working relationships occurring in communities and in families.

The article on changes in women’s fishing participation looks at how women are doing in the fisheries sector in general in PICTs. Women have taken on new fishing tasks and new areas of work in the last few years and are venturing out into male-defined work areas and fishing areas. In a lot of these cases, women use informal networks and mechanisms because of a lack of infrastructure and also because of a lack of awareness and information by women in rural areas that hinders their full participation in fisheries development, education and training. Despite all this, the roles of women are starting to change. While traditional roles persist in some areas, there are changes occurring in women’s participation. New mechanisms of dialogue are beginning to emerge at the community level, with new measurements of women’s status being used, such as education and employment. Women’s roles and participation in fisheries and in their communities in general can be greatly enhanced by bridging the gap in information transfer, skills transfer and education opportunities that exists for women who live in rural coastal locations.

This bulletin includes a brief introduction to Etuati Ropeti, the new Coastal Fisheries Management Officer at SPC. Etuati worked as a senior fisheries officer in the Samoa Fisheries Department before joining SPC.

After editing this issue of the Women in Fisheries Bulletin I am pleased to introduce Dr Veikila Vuki who has accepted to become the new editor, starting with the next issue. Dr Vuki who is currently based in Guam has extensive experience working in women in fisheries and community fisheries issues in the region. You will find a brief introduction to Dr Vuki in the press release that we reproduce at the end of this issue. If you wish to submit an article for the next edition of this bulletin, please contact Dr Vuki at:

Aliti Vunisea



Bendable facts: A note on the division of labour in Tonga
Malm T. (pdf: 292 KB)
Assisting coastal communities in the Pacific Islands with alternative sources of livelihood and income
Veitayaki J., Tawake A., Fong S., Meo S. (pdf: 252 KB)
Monetary and non-monetary values of small-scale fisheries in Pacific Island countries
Kronen M. (pdf: 117 KB)
Chasing land crabs on Christmas Island
Kronen M. (pdf: 73 KB)
Fishing to sustain livelihoods in Nauru
Vunisea A. (pdf: 139 KB)
Women's changing participation in the fisheries sector in Pacific Island countries
Vunisea A. (pdf: 46 KB)

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Women in fisheries #16 (pdf: )


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