The Role of Women in the Fisheries Sector

The Role of Women in the Fisheries Sector

Women play significant roles in the fisheries industry worldwide, contributing to both small-scale and large-scale fishing operations, as well as related activities such as processing and marketing. Their roles can vary depending on cultural, regional, and economic factors, but here are some common ways in which women are involved in fisheries:

Fish Harvesting: Women often participate in fishing activities, either as fisherwomen or as part of fishing crews. They engage in activities like net mending, gathering bait, and handling fishing gear. In some regions, they may also be involved in catch collection and fish sorting.

Aquaculture: Women are involved in aquaculture, which includes the farming of fish and other aquatic organisms. They participate in activities such as feeding, pond maintenance, and harvesting. They are also involved in the culture of Trapa.

Processing and Post-harvest Activities: Women frequently play essential roles in processing and preserving fish. This can involve cleaning, gutting, smoking, drying, and packaging fish for sale. In many coastal communities, women are responsible for traditional methods of fish preservation dry and smoke. They are also involved in making pickles.

Marketing and Sales: Women often take on responsibilities related to selling fish in local markets. They may own or operate fish stalls, participate in fish trading, or engage in small-scale retailing. They are seen engaged in selling smoked fish and dry fish in many parts of the county.

Community Leadership: In some coastal and fishing communities, women take on leadership roles in managing local fisheries and promoting sustainable practices. They may organize cooperatives, advocacy groups, and educational programs.

Research and Conservation: Women also contribute to fisheries research, monitoring, and conservation efforts. They may work with NGOs or government agencies to collect data, conduct research, and advocate for sustainable fisheries practices.

Entrepreneurship: Some women in fisheries become entrepreneurs by establishing their fish-related businesses, such as seafood restaurants, fish farms, or processing units.

Social and Cultural Roles: In many fishing communities, women are the primary caregivers and often hold important social and cultural roles. They pass down traditional knowledge and practices related to fishing and seafood preparation.

Relevance to Fisheries Management

The substantial ecological knowledge that women possess due to their fishing activities, is generally passed on from mothers to daughters, which seems to have been largely ignored in fisheries management circles. To succeed in these activities, one must have a thorough understanding of the biology and ecology of the species being harvested. Furthermore, the frequency and regularity of women’s fishing activities and knowledge of fisheries can help in resource management

It's important to note that the roles of women in fisheries can vary widely across different regions and cultures. In some cases, women's contributions may be less visible or undervalued, but their involvement is crucial for the sustainability and resilience of fishing communities. Promoting gender equity and recognizing the contributions of women in fisheries is essential for ensuring the long-term health and viability of the industry and the well-being of these communities.

SAGE University, Bhopal, provides M.F.Sc and Ph.D programs in Aquaculture, presenting opportunities for employment in fish processing farms, fish feed companies, fish drug, and medicine companies, as well as various sectors of the aquaculture industry such as fish and prawn farming, crab and pearl production, coastal management, blue revolution enterprises, and diverse fisheries-related research fields. The female students of our university will be made self-sustained by giving training in the following skills. While many more women are becoming involved in fisheries governance, the majority of high-level positions, which include key policy- and decision-makers, continue to be held by men. As women filter into more of the strategic planning and capacity-building roles in fisheries, greater gender equality will hopefully be achieved.


Dr. Shriparna Saxena
Professor and Head
Department of Aquaculture
School of Agriculture
Sanjeev Agarwal Global Educational University, Bhopal

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