Women play a myriad of roles on a daily basis, taking care of family, performing domestic duties, financially and emotionally supporting the household, contributing to professional sectors, building community and supporting the national economy.
In Fiji, women in coastal communities have engaged in the fisheries sector for decades. Their contributions towards household and economy, however, have often been undervalued. A national report on ‘The critical contribution of women fishers to food security and livelihoods in Fiji’ provides evidence and a comprehensive analysis of the roles that women fishers play in household food security, nutrition and income generation.
Cover of the newly launched national report on women in fisheries.
The Report was produced by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in partnership with Ministry of Fisheries, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Conservation International, Vatuvara Foundation Fiji, Women in Fisheries Network-Fiji, Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area-Network, University of the South Pacific and the Pacific Community (SPC).
The partners launched the report on Friday, 6 March 2020, in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
Wildlife Conservation Society Country Program Director, Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai and the Director for Ministry of Fisheries, Mere Lakeba cut the cake to celebrate International Women's Day. © WCS
Over 1,200 iTaukei (indigenous) women fishers were interviewed from 11 provinces of Fiji to explore their fishing motivations and strategies in five habitats: freshwater rivers, mangroves and mudflats, soft bottom, coral reef and open ocean habitats.
The Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji Country Program Director, Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai said it was important to quantify the role of women in fisheries as it will help better design interventions specific to women fishers which in turn, contributes to the effective management of Fiji’s fisheries. The study suggested that collectively, 70% of the catch by women fishers are for household consumption, while the rest are sold for income. Women also fished for social and cultural events within their community.
The Director for the Ministry of Fisheries, Mere Lakeba, congratulated the authors of the report, as it will assist the Ministry in addressing the challenges faced by women in fisheries sector and ensure their long-term sustainability of Fiji's coastal fisheries.
The partners who participated or contributed to the report with the Director for Ministry of Fisheries, Mere Lakeba at the launch on March 6 2020. © Arishma Devi
“Through the report, I believe that women working hard day in and out to provide for their families through fisheries will have a voice and finally be recognized for all that they do and contribute to the sector,” Ms Lakeba said.