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Issue No.17
  • :December
  • :2004

Yemaya 17 carries writeups from countries like Mexico, Asia, Pakistan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Africa etc

Latin America/ Mexico

Street of the Shrimp Ladies

Women shrimp traders in northwestern Mexico have organized to defend their interests, though problems persist

By Maria L. Cruz-Torres, Department of Anthropology, University of California

When one looks at travel brochures or web pages highlighting the tourist attractions of the Mexican port city of Mazatlán, located in the state of Sinaloa (in Mexico’s northwest coast), one hears about ecotourism, gift shops, restaurants, nightlife and hotels. One also finds women shrimp traders included among these “attractions.” At any time of year—but especially during the coolest months, December through May—tour buses packed with Canadian or American tourists stop by the Street of the Shrimp Ladies so they can look at the shrimp and talk to the women, even though few of these tourists speak Spanish.

Women shrimp traders are such a lively part of the local culture that a play depicting their work and their social life was staged at the Mazatlán Cultural Institute. Working people all over Mazatlán and nearby towns and rural communities are aware of their contribution to the fishing sector and the local economy. Ye