Coastal Fisheries Programme
Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin #14
Number 14 - September 2004


Coordinator: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Coastal Fisheries Management Officer, SPC, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia. Fax +687 263818

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

In this issue we look at various areas of women's participation in fisheries, including commercial participation, fish handling and processing, involvement in the maritime industry and working with children in village fisheries. Women in Fiji, as is the case in other Pacific Island countries, are increasingly moving away from traditionally defined areas of fisheries participation and are taking on commercial and post harvest activities, and setting up small-scale businesses. Through their seafood marketing activities, women secure buyers and establish networks to facilitate selling. Women are however, faced with the task of fulfilling traditional obligations and expectations, and at the same time meeting the challenges of the modern market economy. Women in many cases must deal with dual or triple day work programmes, fishing, processing, selling and domestic chores.

Over the last two decades there has been minimal improvement in women's inclusion in government fisheries planning and development. The lack of acknowledgement of women's fishing participation or of the significant contribution to the livelihoods of coastal people is due, in part, to the non-remuneration of their fishing activities. The lack of data and appropriate economic valuation of subsistence fisheries result in women's fishing activities not being included in most official statistics. Women's small-scale economic activities are also not seen as independent economic ventures, for in most cases, their marketing participation is viewed as part of their daily chores of meeting family needs.

Mecki Kronen's article highlights the significant role children play in community fisheries. Children accompany their mothers or elders when they go fishing and little attention is given to their activities and their contribution to family fishing and collection activities. The article underlines the dynamic nature of the village fishery and how subsistence fisheries involve a diverse range of users.

The article on Tokelau is an example of traditional community fishing. The inati is a fishing venture organised regularly to ensure that all families have sufficient food. The inati is also organised when there are visitors to the islands and this is an example of a strategy people use in different communities to cater for communal obligations. Traditional practices are rife in Pacific Island countries and some practices have been modified and some lost, but those that are still known are revered.

The two papers from the International Maritime Organization meeting held in Samoa at the end of 2003, bring to our attention new work areas women are involved in. Women's involvement in the maritime industry can be in a wide range of areas and this include maritime safety, aviation and marine search and rescue, the protection of the marine environment from ship sourced pollution, and customs and immigration related work. Work in ports is not easy but not impossible for women. Women breaking into the maritime field face numerous challenges, especially when on board vessels, but women at the meeting shared experiences of how crew and officers were always willing to help. These experiences definitely indicate the opportunities that exist for women in the maritime industry.

Tony Chamberlain's paper on fish handling and processing training in Tonga, highlights the importance of training women in new areas of interest and work. Women are increasingly involved in the processing industry and in the setting up of cottage industries in many island countries, thus it is timely they receive training on quality handling.

Chandrika raises some concerns on the involvement of women in the Asian fisheries that are not only relevant but important for Pacific Island women fishers. This includes the lack of accurate statistics on women's roles in fisheries in any developing country, the need for market research to assist in the understanding of the role women play in fish marketing, and the problems they face in transport, in accessing market facilities, in accessing credit, etc. This issue highlights challenges that women face in their different fishing participation. One of the main areas that needs to be addressed is linking up women involved in the different areas of the fisheries or marine sector.

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The challenges of seafood marketing in Fiji
Vunisea A. (pdf: 205 KB)
Alu toutai - Na laki qoli - Fun or duty: School children's involvement in subsistence fisheries in Tonga and Fiji
Kronen M. (pdf: 253 KB)
Communal fishing in Tokelau: The inati
Vunisea A. (pdf: 142 KB)
International Maritime Organization Regional Seminar for the Pacific: The role of women in the maritime sector - Opportunities and challenges
Streeter M. (pdf: 96 KB)
Women in the maritime industry
Narbutas J. (pdf: 121 KB)
Tonga fish handling training
Chamberlain T. (pdf: 73 KB)
The impact of fisheries development and globalization processes on women of fishing communities in the Asian region
Sharma C. (pdf: 75 KB)

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Women in fisheries #14 (pdf: )


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