Coastal Fisheries Programme


Number 28 - July 2018

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

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

Prepared with financial assistance from the Australian Government, the European Union, France and the New Zealand Aid Program

Editor's note

Welcome to the 28th issue of the Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin, which highlights gender roles in coastal fisheries and development, and women’s fishing activities in urban and rural communities.

The first article in this edition is by Alyssa S. Thomas and co-authors on the ‘Impact of Tropical Cyclone Winston on mud crab fishers in Fiji’. The authors assessed the social and economic impact of Cyclone Winston on the mud crab fishers in Bua Province in Fiji two to three months after the cyclone. The results of the study showed that the Category 5 cyclone had a wide impact on fishers’ communities in Fiji and there were notable differences between men and women and on their investment in the mud crab fishery. In particular, there were changes in fishing effort, catch volume and price. Women were highly vulnerable to the impacts of the cyclone because of inequalities in resource access, opportunities and capabilities. Because the women were unable to collect mud crabs after the cyclone, there were negative consequences for the women fishers’ sense of independence.

In the second article, on ‘Conserving womangroves: Assessing the impacts of improved cooking stoves on resource management in Langalanga Lagoon, Solomon Islands’, Helen Maefasia Teioli and her co-authors describe the impacts of improved cooking stoves on mangrove conservation and on women in Langalanga Lagoon, Malaita Province. Most women in rural households in the area depend on mangrove ecosystems for food and firewood. The researchers found that an improved cooking stove, the kiko stove, is not more efficient than cooking on an open fire in terms of cooking time and wood consumption; however women who use the kiko stoves perceive a number of benefits and think the stoves reduce mangrove degradation. The paper concludes that promoting improved cooking stoves can transform gender norms that inhibit community-based resource management.

‘Quantifying and valuing the critical role women play in Fiji’s inshore fisheries sector’ by Alyssa S. Thomas and co-authors is the third article in this edition. The national study in Fiji was undertaken over seven months between October 2017 and April 2018. About 1238 women were interviewed across 11 of the 14 Fiji provinces. The women were from 47 districts and 110 villages. Survey findings showed that women fished in all habitats from freshwater streams to intertidal areas and open oceans. Women fish for subsistence and also sell portions of their catch to support household income. The findings will help government and non-government stakeholders to give recognition to women’s contribution to food security and to the national economy.

The fourth article, ‘Fiji’s Northern Division hosts its first Women in Fisheries Forum’, was written by Sangeeta Mangubhai and co-authors. The article describes the Women in Fisheries Forum that was co-hosted by the Fiji Ministry of Fisheries, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Fiji Locally-Managed Marine Areas Network (FLMMA) and the Women in Fisheries Network–Fiji. The Women in Fisheries Forum took place in Labasa, Fiji on 15 May 2018. There were 18 women who participated from 16 districts of the provinces of Bua, Cakaudrove and Macuata on the island of Vanua Levu. The forum was the first of its kind in Fiji and gave an opportunity for women in the Northern Division to meet, discuss, network and find ways to increase recognition of the roles they play in coastal fisheries in Fiji. The forum also empowered women to speak and to ensure that women’s contribution to food security, livelihood and the national economy is recognised in the long term.

In the fifth article, ‘Establishment of the first private tilapia hatchery in Fiji by a woman after Tropical Cyclone Winston - A case study’, Veikila Vuki presents a case study on a project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) in Fiji. The article describes how the support provided by the EU resulted in the establishment of the first private hatchery by a woman tilapia farmer in Fiji, and acknowledges the provision of training (transfer of knowledge and technology) and materials for the hatchery as key factors in the establishment of the hatchery for recovery after the cyclone.

In the sixth article, ‘Samoan women at the helm of inland fishing’, Joanne Kunatuba writes about an interview with Epifalia, a tilapia farmer, and her son-in-law, Talalelei. They were among the 85 key informants interviewed for a gender assessment of the aquaculture sector in Samoa in December 2017. The paper describes how Epifalia has gained a sense of empowerment and a better involvement in decision-making thanks to her knowledge of tilapia farming. She reports on how it has also allowed her to be more involved in village activities and has given her increased visibility within the village community.

In the seventh article, Jimaima Lako and her co-authors present a paper on ‘Consumer preference for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) value-added products in Samoa’. The authors have investigated the possibility of better utilising tilapia by developing four value-added products: smoked fish in different brine concentrations, cured-smoked, surimi and fish paste. These products were evaluated through a consumer preference test in Samoa. Results showed that fish paste was consumers’ preferred product, followed by brined-smoked, surimi and cured-smoked tilapia. Women in Samoa who, like elsewhere in the Pacific Islands, are actively involved in fish post-harvest activities should be able to utilise the results of this study to generate income and increase food security. This study can also promote the marketing of cultured tilapia for fish consumption in the Pacific region.

The article ‘Trailblazers: Conversations with Pacific women driving scientific advances in fisheries’ by Melinda Morris is the eighth article in this edition. Four women were interviewed to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls on 11 February 2018. Lucy Joy, Esther Leini, Maria Fiasoso Sapatu and Sarah Botaake Teetu tell us what motivates them to work in fisheries science and what advice they would give to young women and girls considering a career in this field.

The ninth and tenth articles are reproduced from Yemaya with permission. The ninth article, ‘Women in Fisheries in Asia: 1978– 2016’ by Meryl Williams and her co-authors, summarises fisherwomen’s struggles in Asia and the Pacific. The article describes the milestones achieved by fisherwomen based on existing literature and contributions from the authors from various Asia-Pacific countries. The milestones described reflect fisherwomen’s struggles against unfair taxation, the difficulties they face in organising global programmes, and the lack of recognition of their contribution to the economy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The tenth article, ‘Women in Fisheries Network’, was written by Loata Leweniqila. The article summarises the current activities of the Fiji-based Women in Fisheries Network on needs training assessments, capacity building and helping women to add value to their activities within the fisheries sector. The Women in Fisheries Network Strategic Plan was designed to support fisherwomen by engaging them in training and capacity-building activities that will reinforce their participation and the added value they bring to the fisheries sector.

I have been the coordinator of this bulletin since issue number 17, published in December 2007 – more than 10 years ago. My role of coordinator will end with this issue and I will pass the baton to Sangeeta Mangubhai, who has accepted to become the new editor, starting with the next issue. Sangeeta has been involved in many projects related to women in fisheries and has good experience working with Pacific Island communities. I am giving her my support for the coordination of the bulletin and will remain an attentive reader of and an active contributor to the bulletin.

Don’t hesitate to send us any feedback on these articles, and I also encourage you to submit articles on gender and fisheries issues from your country or region.

Veikila Curu Vuki


Message from Moses Amos, Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division

The Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin was first published in October 1997 – following recommendation 10 of the 26th Regional Technical Meeting on Fisheries – to provide a channel to exchange ideas, knowledge and experience about all issues related to women involved in fisheries activities. Twenty years later, the bulletin is still relevant with good interest, as shown with the present issue, and this is largely due to the hard work and dedication of four women who volunteered to be the successive coordinators of the bulletin: Aliti Vunisea (1997–1998 and 2004–2007), Lyn Lambeth (1998–2001), Kim DesRochers (2002–2003) and Veikila Vuki (2007–2018).

Veikila will, as she says in her editorial above, ‘pass the baton’ to Sangeeta Mangubhai as the new coordinator for the next issue. I would like to use this opportunity to deeply thank Veikila for over eleven years of hard and dedicated work in maintaining the network and keeping it active, sourcing the articles for the bulletin, advising authors – including young authors from the Pacific Islands region – on how best to convey their message, and the many other tasks associated with putting together an issue of the bulletin. The coordinator’s job is done on a voluntary basis. I think everybody will understand that Veikila’s eleven-year dedication to the bulletin was mainly driven by her passion. Passion is often a very efficient tool for progressing things. Thank you Veikila for allowing us to benefit from your passion.

Moses Amos



Impact of Tropical Cyclone Winston on mud crab fishers in Fiji
Thomas A.S., Vandervord C., Fox M., Nand Y., Nalasi U. (pdf: 508 KB)
Conserving womangroves: Assessing the impacts of improved cooking stoves on resource management in Langalanga Lagoon, Solomon Islands
Maefasia Teioli H., van der Ploeg J., SchwarzA.-M., Sukulu M., Eriksson H. (pdf: 878 KB)
Quantifying and valuing the critical role women play in Fiji’s inshore fisheries sector
Thomas A.S., Mangubhai S., Fox M., Meo I., Miller K., Veitayaki J. (pdf: 178 KB)
Establishment of the first private tilapia hatchery in Fiji by a woman after Tropical Cyclone Winston – A case study
Vuki V. (pdf: 395 KB)
Samoan women at the helm of inland fishing
Kunatuba J. (pdf: 162 KB)
Consumer preferences for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) value-added products in Samoa
(pdf: 469 KB)
Trailblazers: Conversations with Pacific women driving scientific advances in fisheries
Morris M. (pdf: 385 KB)
Women in fisheries in Asia: 1978–2016
Williams M., Sze C.P., Fatema K., Gallagher J., Khumsri K., Kim J.Y., Kirana M., Nayak N., Nuruzzaman M., Shanthi B., Susilowatu I., Vuki V. (pdf: 214 KB)
Women in Fisheries Network
Leweniqila L. (pdf: 198 KB)

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