7.4 Module D: Coastal Water Resources and Fisheries

A detailed case study of a coastal water resources/fisheries project with gender mainstreaming practices and results can be found in Case Study E from the Philippines.

7.4.1 Introduction

Densely populated coastal zones are at particular risk from climate change. Sea levels are expected to increase and lead to greater coastal erosion and more frequent flooding. The frequency and impacts of tropical storms appear to be increasing. In addition, climate change can lead to increased salt water intrusion into freshwater estuaries and aquifers. Small island states, such as those in the Pacific, are at particular risk. CCA measures have ranged from physical barriers, to improved access to weather information and insurance schemes, to communit
-enforced fishing regulations for species or areas, increased marketing profitability via value-added processes, group approaches to marketing, and livelihood diversification for fishing families.

This module focuses primarily on fisheries sector activities in coastal zones, including deepwater and near-shore activities. A broad definition of fisheries is used and includes not just fish harvesting from boats but also the range of coastal water resources that are harvested and managed by both women and men. It includes a range of value chain for fish, gleaned mollusks, frogs, wild aquatic products, mariculture, and both salt and freshwater aquaculture. It encompasses harvesting, processing, and marketing activities that are done by women and men. While coastal households engage in a variety of livelihood activities, including agriculture, mangrove forest harvesting, tourism, and other formal and informal sector employment and enterprises, the main emphasis of this module is on fisheries-related value chains.

7.4.2 Gender issues for coastal water resources/fisheries

Gender division of labor.
Men and women, as well as girls, often have different responsibilities for fisheries value chains, depending on local gender norms.

  • In some areas, women have no role in boat fishing;elsewhere, women participate in these activities and own boats. Men more often own boats and nets and more expensive fishing gear. In some places, women own the boats and gear and hire men to do the fishing.
  • Women and children are more often involved in gleaning activities from beach and mangrove areas.
  • Women usually dominate postharvest activities such as fish processing, including cleaning, drying, smoking, and/or cooking. They perform these tasks for their families and also for sales. In some locales, women intermediaries also own freezers and refrigerators and transport processed fish to other markets.
  • In addition to coastal fishing, some households are able to fish in either common property or private freshwater sources. However, women may less often have access to these resources due to the travel involved or the absence of many fishing lease agreements with landholders.
  • With climate change, men are migrating elsewhere more often than women, leaving women and children with responsibilities for fishing and other livelihood activities.

Gender differences in indigenous technical knowledge.
Women and men who have lived in coastal areas for their entire lives often have different cultural knowledge of how to find and harvest fish and other coastal resources for food and medicine. But in difficult times, either household misfortune, economic downturns, or after extreme weather events, sustainable patterns of use may be upended. In addition, coastal areas are magnets for economic migrants;the poorest of these households, without local ecological knowledge, may over-harvest “free”resources.

Lower rates of ownership for fishing boats and technology and agricultural lands for women.
Women’s rate of land ownership is very low in most countries and their access rights are usually mediated by men from their households or clans.

  • Land ownership is often key as collateral for obtaining credit to purchase boats and other fishing gear. Without these types of property, women may not be allowed membership in marketing cooperatives for fishers since joint household memberships are not always allowed. Land ownership and access are also important to women’s opportunities for freshwater aquaculture (Box 15).
  • In addition to these issues, there are gender differences in men’s and women’s traditional fishing rights.

    Box 15. Group leasing of aquaculture ponds by landless women

    Bangladeshi NGOs, via the ADB-funded Bangladesh Meghna-Dhanagoda Command Area Development Project, organized 2,900 landless and marginalized poor people into groups. Women made up 96 percent of the group members. Via private leasing arrangements, the groups gained access to ponds for fish farming. The project also provided training in aquaculture skills and marketing, with additional arrangements for microcredit.

    World Bank. 2009b. Gender-responsive institutions for accessing and managing resources. In: World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Fund for Agricultural Development. 2009. Gender in agriculture sourcebook. World Bank, Washington, DC.

Women face more market-related barriers.
As with agriculture, women have greater mobility constraints for taking their products to wholesalers and retail customers.

  • Women’s groups may operate on a small scale but often have weak market links. Women less often benefit from the privileges associated with membership in fisher associations or cooperatives for marketing raw or processed fish and seafood.
  • Women’s entry into municipal markets may be more difficult than for men due to sexual harassment from bureaucrats and lack of suitable sanitation facilities.
  • Women may not have the resources to meet export standards of hygiene and sanitation during product preparation.

Women are under-represented as members of fishing groups and planning bodies for integrated coastal management.
They are also under-represented in the leadership of these entities. There are gender disparities in the participation of women, compared to men.
There has been more progress at achieving greater gender balance at the community level recently, but the percentage of women still declines as the scale of management activities increases.

7.4.3 Gender-coastal water resources/fisheries issues in the context of climate change

Climate change leads to marine and coastal ecosystem changes, including plant and animal species composition, flooding, and salinity intrusion into freshwater sources. The availability of desirable species may decline or expand with warming waters;there may also be an increase in invasive species and pathogens. Overall shortages of fish have a particularly pernicious impact on the poorest households, most of which are often headed by women. Aquatic resources, including fish, frogs, snails, clams, and wild aquatic plants, are often a nutritional safety net for poor households. Climate change may reduce these supplies and exacerbate food insecurity and detrimentally affect people’s health status due to less protein. Women will need to spend more time on family care-giving.

Climate change leads to increased reliance on non-fishing livelihood sources. Women with husbands who fish may respond by adopting less sustainable agricultural practices, as well as over-harvesting wild food sources. They will seek out employment in the formal and informal sector. For poor women, particularly those from women-headed households, they may resort to occasional or ongoing prostitution, either trading sex for fish or for cash. Trafficking of women and girls also increases when household income declines from fishing and non-fishing income.

7.4.4 Gender entry points for CCA coastal water resources/fisheries projects

Conducting gender-sensitive vulnerability assessments for the coastal water resources/fisheries sector.
Vulnerability assessments in coastal zones include fisheries but are usually multisectoral.

  • Assessments need to include climate impacts on the fish and seafood species harvested by both men and women, as well as other coastal products such as seaweed, and also examine traditional fishing rights arrangements for women and men.
  • Assessments need to review the vulnerability differences for coastal men and women, as amply illustrated in lessons from the Aceh tsunami in which many more women than men perished due to the impact of cultural modesty norms on women’s abilities and willingness to swim or climb trees.
  • Given that many households engage in a mix of fishing, gleaning, agricultural, tourism, and informal sector production and services, vulnerability analyses must examine how these strategies vary for women and men across economic class and by household headship, using locally defined criteria.

Planning and design of gender-sensitive adaptation strategies.
To increase household climate resilience and advance gender equality, several types of coastal water resources/fisheries conservation activities for CCA projects should be prioritized:

  • Expand women’s participation in coastal planning and management bodies.
  • Support reforms to collateral requirements, including increased women’s land ownership or group-based schemes, to enable investments in harvesting, production, and processing activities related to fishing, mariculture, and aquaculture.
  • Expand women’s access to more profitable segments and employment within the fisheries, agriculture, and tourism value chains.

When planning, various actions could be taken and methodologies employed.

  • As with other natural resources management,
    stakeholder consultations
    with committees, cooperatives, tourism employees, and entrepreneurs will provide project design ideas and feedback on proposals.
  • Gender-sensitive institutional analyses
    can focus on the executing ministry/agency at relevant levels, and for different country partners, if relevant. These analyses, with client consultations, help to identify gender capacities and weaknesses among staff and in programming.
  • Institutional mapping
    can identify possible partnerships and expertise available to support gender mainstreaming.
  • At a local level, a closer look is needed at gendered access and use rights to terrestrial and marine resources, participation in household and community decision-making, and the ecotourism gender division of labor.
    Conflict mapping
    for a specific area can pinpoint conflicts between different communities and sub-groups and protected area authorities over access rights to resources. These analyses will suggest specific policy reforms and local arrangements for improving women’s access to coastal resources, credit and more accessible markets, and higher value tourism-related activities.

Implementing gender-sensitive coastal water resources/fisheries interventions for CCA.
Gender-specific barriers to coastal zone governance, fisheries associations, credit, markets, and alternative livelihoods can be addressed via capacity building, education to change attitudes, tapping the potential of women’s groups and cooperatives and collateral requirement changes.

  • Projects can help to ensure gender-equitable access to fishing-related technologies (see Box 16). Other changes are required for local regulations, rules, and gender norms;in other settings, these may not be sufficient.
  • National laws and regulations can be reformed to facilitate credit requirements, loan size and access to licenses, improve fish and agricultural pricing paid to men and women, create infrastructure that is accessible to women and facilitates their postharvest activities, and ensure equal access to tourism development.

    Box 16. Good gender mainstreaming practices for coastal management and coral
    reef rehabilitation

    The World Bank’s Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program Phase II focused on increasing family welfare from fisheries and aquaculture in 250 coastal villages in seven districts in eastern Indonesia. Its gender mainstreaming objectives are increasing the total number of women managing and implementing the program and also increasing women’s economic and social empowerment. Good practices included setting specific gender targets for specific timeframes, taking into account the importance of women occupying key positions and being present in a critical mass, engaging directly with women in programs, and offering both technical and gender training.

    World Bank. 2009c. Indonesia: Coral reef rehabilitation and management program. In: World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Fund for Agricultural Development. 2009. Gender in agriculture sourcebook. World Bank, Washington, DC.

7.4.5 Monitoring gender impacts

TABLE 9. Illustrative gender indicators for coastal water resources/fisheries CCA projects
Intervention Area Illustrative Indicators
Consultation inclusiveness Number and percentage of men and women, by social group, consulted about project plans and consultation frequency
Improving gender balance of staff, partners, or clients/client groups Percentage of men and women for target group
Active participation Number and percentage of men and women actively participating in consultations, workshops, and committee meetings
Leadership Number and percentage of women serving in leadership positions in harvesters/fishing, enterprise, marketing, and planning groups
Adoption of practices Adoption of targeted fishing/gleaning/other practices, by sex
Increased livelihood  diversification Livelihood changes for households headed by women and those headed by couples or men
Nontraditional practices or roles adopted Number and percentage of women engaged in practices and roles that are new for women in their areas
Women’s status changes by household or community Proxy measures related to relative roles, by sex, in household expenditure decisions or incorporation of women’s priorities into group or community plans
Economic status Changes in income earned over time, by sexChanges in nature-based employment over time, by sex
Service provided Percentage of men and women clients
Inclusive service provided Percentage of women from female-headed households, socially marginalized, landless groups served by extension
Client satisfaction Satisfaction level changes with services (e.g., credit providers)Reported extension visits/meeting in past year, by sex
Policy change Inclusion, protection, and/or improvement of women’s rights in new or reformed agreements, regulations, or laws

Box 17 lists additional literature sources on gender and coastal water resources/fisheries.

Box 17. Further readings about gender and coastal water resources/fisheries

  • Vunisea, A., B. Leduc, K. Bernard, K. Duaibe, L. Cleary, M. Manley, and P. Leavai. 2013. Pacific gender and climate change toolkit: Tools for practitioners. Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia. http://www.pacificclimatechange.net/components/com_booklibrary/ebooks/Toolkit%20booklet%20pages.pdf
    Focused on the Pacific nations, the manual elaborates gender issues and analytical learning activities for food security, water, energy and disasters, under conditions of a changing climate.
  • World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Fund for Agricultural Development. 2009. Gender in agriculture sourcebook. World Bank, Washington, DC. http://worldbank.org/genderinag
    Gender dimensions of fisheries and aquaculture are discussed in Module 13.
  • Asian Development Bank. 2006a. Gender checklist: Agriculture. ADB, Manila, the Philippines. http://www.adb.org/publications/gender-checklist-agriculture
    Short useful guides on issues and entry points for fisheries, as agricultural sub-sectors.
  • Arenas, M.C. and A. Lentisco. 2011. Mainstreaming gender into project cycle management in the fisheries sector: Field manual. FAO, Bangkok, Thailand. http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0004e/ba0004e00.pdf
    Developed by FAO’s Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia, this field handbook includes tools for gender analysis in fisheries development projects and guidance on how to integrate gender aspects at various stages in the project cycle.
  • Aguilar, L., and I. Castaneda. 2001. About fishermen, fisherwomen, oceans and tides: A Gender perspective in marine-coastal zones. IUCN, San Jose, Costa Rica. http://crmi-undp.org/documents/documentos/120.pdf
    Reviews gender dimensions of proposal writing, participatory appraisals, project planning, and M&E for marine- coastal projects.