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Issue No.58
  • :December
  • :2018


Female fishers in Lake Chapala

Meet Alejandra and Maria Elena, women fishers from Mexico’s Lake Chapala region, whose work contradicts the belief that fishing is something that only men can do

By Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez (, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (UNAM), México

Lake Chapala is the second largest lake in Mexico, and fishing has been an important economic activity in the region for hundreds of years. From colonial times to the 19th century, there was a high regional demand for fish, thanks to the region’s abundant native species. The introduction of carp and tilapia forced a change in the market structure, including a shift to fish processing and other value-adding activities. Currently, women mostly engage in the task of filleting tilapia and carp. If you talk to the fishers, most will say that women don’t fish in the lake; in fact, even little boys will say: “Only men go fishing, not ladies.”

However, Alejandra and Maria Elena have been fishing in Lake Chapala with their husbands for years. Though they came from different communities, they learned how to fi

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