Another International Women’s Day (March 8) has gone by, with significant achievements for women in the fisheries across the world. However, while we take stock of, and celebrate the achievements, we should also reflect on the long road of struggle ahead—a struggle for the rights of small-scale fisheries; for the rights of women engaged in fishing, fish trade and fish-work.
Women have always been the backbone of the small-scale fisheries sector across the world. However the contribution of women, both in economic and social terms, have been constantly undervalued.
ASIA / INDIA
Many opportunities for increased participation of women are open to a fisheries cooperative in an underprivileged community in Maharashtra, India
By Suhas Wasave (email@example.com), Assistant Professor, College of Fisheries, Shirgaon, India, and Arpita Sharma (firstname.lastname@example.org), Principal Scientist, Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, India
Maharashtra is a prominent fishing state in India, with a coast line of 720 km and a fisher population of around 450,000, of whom around 55,000 are active fishers. The state has 304 registered primary marine fisheries cooperatives with a total membership of 114,000. The fisheries cooperatives are part of the strong producer-cooperative sector of rural Maharashtra with a history of over 100 years.
The fisheries cooperatives are formed with the objectives of production and marketing of fish. Many cooperatives have diversified their operations and added ancillary activities such as rendering economic assistance to fishers, undertaking grading, preservation, s