Fishery changes, caused by modernisation and mechanisation, globalisation and environmental disasters, shift the working spaces, continually destroy and create jobs and livelihoods, and bring greater overlaps in women’s and men’s roles in the household, factory and market place.
"Gender and fisheries studies, therefore, are increasingly addressing these changes and how women and men were affected by them," said Dr Nikita Gopal who led the Program Committee that organised this highly energetic and successful event. "For example, small changes such as bringing migrant labor into Japan’s oyster industry and large changes such as formalising cross-border fish trade in Cambodia brought positive changes for some women and setbacks for other women and men, including the elderly. However, overall, GAF4 also continued to fill out the global picture showing that women and gender issues are still generally not on the radar of the fishery sector."
The present report puts the spotlight on key results and discussion presented over the 3 days of GAF4. In all, 28 oral presentations, one poster and four mini-workshops/panels were given. Feedback declared GAF4 the most successful and highest quality of the 6 women in fisheries/gender in aquaculture and fisheries events held by the Asian Fisheries Society over the last 15 years.
We highlight four major threads of GAF4: (1) the gendered impacts of fishery sector change, (2) gender assets and roles, (3) challenges and tools to meet future needs, and (3) the road to mobilisation to achieve gender equality in aquaculture and fisheries.
Out of these threads, researchers and grass roots representatives will conclude that they need to suspend pre-conceived ideas about gender roles and relationships because many of these are in flux. Researchers need to develop further and make better use of rigorous qualitative social science research methods. Through their participatory nature and to ensure ethical approaches, such methods will bring researchers and grass roots participants closer, which is an essential step in mobilising support for gender equality.
The AquaFish-CRSP Best Paper prize was won by Kumi Soejima (Japan) for her paper Changes in the Roles of Women and Elderly Persons within Oyster Aquaculture in Japan. The AquaFish-CRSP Best Student Paper prize was won by Piyashi Deb Roy (India) for her paper (with R. Jayaraman, M. Krishnan and K. Criddle) Importance of Mangrove Conservation and Valuation to Women – A Case Study of Pichavaram Mangroves in India.
A special part of GAF4 was the Special Session in Honour of Dr M.C. Nandeesha, sponsored by the AquaFish-CRSP and dedicated to the life and work of Dr Nandeesha who established the AFS gender in aquaculture and fisheries work.
GAF4 was supported by the Asian Fisheries Society, grants from the AquaFish Cooperative Research Support Program of the USA (AquaFish CRSP), the Norwegian Agency for International Development (Norad), the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, the Network for Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), the Korean local organising committee for the 10th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum, and the home agencies of the many presenters and participants.