Coastal Fisheries Programme
Number 23 - December 2013


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 23rd issue of the Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin, which highlights gender roles in coastal fisheries, women’s fishing activities in communities, climate change and gender issues in development.

In the first article, “Gender and change in the spotlight: Researchers must engage with grassroots”, Meryl Williams reports on the changes in the fishery sector caused by various factors such as globalization, environmental disasters and modernization to name a few. She then challenges researchers to target grassroots groups to include gender on the fishery sector agenda. In this article, she also reports on presentations given at the Fourth Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF4), at the recent Asian Fisheries Society conference in Korea. The four major threads that ran through GAF4 were the gendered impacts of fishery sector change, gender assets and roles, challenges and tools to meet future needs, and the road to mobilization to achieve gender equality in aquaculture and fisheries.

In “Moving the gender agenda forward in fisheries and aquaculture”, Meryl Williams and her co-authors conclude that gender in aquaculture and fisheries research has not progressed as rapidly as they had hoped. Despite this, there is also a feeling of optimism because of the emerging interest in research in gender in aquaculture and fisheries during the Third Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF3) in Shanghai, China in 2011. Women still play critical roles in fish supply chains and are often undervalued and less appreciated than men. The slow progress in the advancement of women in aquaculture and fisheries is an indication of a global lack of priority and resources. The authors conclude that there are several reasons why there is slow progress in gender research in aquaculture and fisheries. Because gender issues are not on the policy agenda and action plans, there are limited resources to support gender work. A stronger conceptual framework needs to be developed for gender work before it can be disseminated and used.

In her paper on gender assessment of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project, Sarah Whitfield assesses the need to integrate gender in the PACC Project. She undertook a comprehensive literature and desk review of all project documents before she visited the selected Pacific Island countries for consultations. Her findings strongly indicated the need to include gender analysis in the original project design and planning. In addition, there is a real need to support and advocate for gender mainstreaming in climate change adaptation. Furthermore, there is also a need to upscale and improve the integration of gender into climate change adaptation. Good practices and lessons learned about gender and climate change should be shared at national and regional levels.

In the fourth article of this issue, Karen Bernard reports on the study she conducted about how men and women use their time during a typical day in various locations of Tuvalu. The study revealed that women spend substantially more time cooking, washing and cleaning than the men. Women’s main activities, therefore, require the use of water. In contrast, men spend more time than women tending to home gardens and feeding pigs and poultry. Men’s main activities use small amounts of water when compared to women’s main activities. Only men are engaged in tending pulaka pits and in fishing from boats. Gleaning from reefs or mangroves was carried out only by people from Funafuti, and tending to pulaka pits was reported to be done only by men in Nanumea. Neither men nor women engage in farming for commercial sale.

In the following article, Bagsit and Jimenez describe how gender roles and responsibilities in mangrove reforestation programmes in the Philippines were undertaken. Women’s participation was higher in the planning process, during meetings, nursery development and in maintenance, as well as in mangrove management and protection. Men were involved in the construction and maintenance of fences in the mangrove areas. Women tended to remain active longer than men in the running of the organization, and undertook a variety of roles in the mangrove replanting and nursery activities. Where gender comparisons were possible, men tended to take on more leadership positions and tasks requiring greater physical strength, but women performed many different roles and substituted for husbands when they were not available. The women also earned low incomes from their other activities and valued the small additional income from the sales of mangrove seedlings and propagules.

In the article “Gender roles in the seaweed industry cluster of Southern Philippines: The DICCEP Experience”, Bacaltosi and co-authors describe gender roles in the long value chain of seaweed production in Davao del Sur, Philippines. The project was designed to increase the income of fishers, improve the regional contribution of the industry, and sustain productivity and competitiveness. Three pilot projects were undertaken and these were the establishment of seaweed farms for the benefit of farmers, the creation of a directory of seaweed farmers and traders, and the development of a database on seaweed production. About 95 farmers and housewives were trained on seaweed value-adding and entrepreneurship. These projects helped farmers to generate income and develop new value-added seaweed products. Although men took the main leadership roles, women were active in production and, particularly, post-harvest processing.

Three papers from Yemaya are also included in this issue of the bulletin. In “Strengthening livelihoods”, Lentisco and Thao explain how a fisheries livelihood programme has helped improved women’s roles and participation in decision-making in the Vietnamese fisheries sector. In “Net gains: YouTube is a sea of resources for documentaries on women in fisheries”, Ramya Rajagopalan describes how YouTube as an online resource is increasingly being used by organizations to upload video content on specific issues. The third article presents “Chronicles of oblivion” a 25-minute documentary film on female fishworkers from Odisha, India.

The bulletin ends with a short article about two leaflets produced by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to promote careers for women and men in fisheries.

I welcome any feedback on these articles and encourage you to submit articles on gender and fisheries issues from your country or from your region for the next issue of this bulletin.

Veikila Curu Vuki



Gender and change in the spotlight: Researchers must engage with grassroots groups
Williams M.J. (pdf: 153 KB)
Moving the gender agenda forward in fisheries and aquaculture
Williams M.J., Porter M., Choo P.S., Kusakabe K., Vuki V., Gopal N., Bondad-Reantaso M. (pdf: 117 KB)
Gender assessment of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project
Whitfield S. (pdf: 567 KB)
How men and women use their time in Tuvalu: A time use study
Bernard K. (pdf: 817 KB)
Gender roles in the seaweed industry cluster of the southern Philippines: The DICCEP experience
Bacaltos D.G., Revilla N.N., Castañaga R., Laguting M., Anguay G., Ang D., Caballero G., Omboy A., Efondo K.M., Flamiano-Garde G. (pdf: 107 KB)
Gender roles in the mangrove reforestation programmes in Barangay Talokgangan, Banate, Iloilo, Philippines: A case study where women have sustained the efforts
Bagsit F.U., Jimenez C.N. (pdf: 87 KB)
Strengthening livelihoods: A Vietnamese fisheries programme helps improve women’s roles and participation in fisheries decision-making
Lentisco A., Phuong Tao H.T. (pdf: 88 KB)
Net gains - YouTube is a sea of resources for documentaries on women in fisheries
Rajagopalan R. (pdf: 194 KB)
Chronicles of oblivion - A documentary film on female fishworkers from Odisha, India
Anon. (pdf: 128 KB)
Two leaflets promote careers for women and men in fisheries
Anon. (pdf: 87 KB)

Download the complete publication:

Women in fisheries #23 (pdf: )


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