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Issue No.51
  • :0973-1156
  • :April
  • :2016

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.

Q & A

Interview of Mercy Antony, fish vendor from Adimalathurai (literally means the coastal village below the hill), Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, India

This interview is by Venugopalan N (, ICSF Documentation Centre

How long have you been selling fish?

I have been working for the last seven years as a fish vendor at Mukkola fish market in Kerala. We sell mostly marine fish, and, occasionally, dry fish. We reach the market either in the morning at 7 or 10 am, or in the afternoons at 2. 00 pm. There are about 20 women fish vendors working at  Mukkola.

What are the problems you face?

Our fish markets don’t have even the most basic facilities for women to work: no toilets; no water to clean fish; no permits to sell fish without interference from male fish vendors. The market buildings have not been designed with our needs in mind, and particularly during monsoon and summer time, sitting and selling fish is most difficult here. Often, male men fish vendors misbehave with us; they are violent, and sometimes they even destroy our fish baskets.

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