Mentorship & Kinship Amongst Women in Mozambique Fisheries

March 8, 2023 Jesi Carson, Participedia Team
February 15, 2023 kauthar.mohammad

The following method entry outlines the significance of kinship, mentorship, and social networks in various two specific cases in Mozambique in Ibo Island and the Gaza Province.

Problems and Purpose

Small-scale fisheries refer to a diverse form of fishing typically rooted in the cultural practices and livelihoods of local communities [3]. Small-scale fisheries are often poorly measured at a global level and have been ignored by states’ policy-making in the past, despite their enormous “aggregate global contribution to nutrition, food security and poverty eradication” [3]. Small-scale fishing governance from the 1990s to the present day focuses on integrated approaches like interactive governance, ecosystem-based management, or territorial user rights [3].  

Women are universally crucial in each link of the value chain in small-scale fisheries, but their most well-known role comes in the processing and marketing of fish and other products in fishery [1]. The perception of a gendered division of labour in fishing has thus shaped the approach developmental initiatives will take when supporting small-scale fisheries [1]. Research regarding women’s contributions in fisheries aims to examine how women can access productive tools and resources, as these findings can be introduced to forms of existing resource management arrangements like co-management and community-based management; these strategies may additionally improve the participation of women in decision-making and fishery resource management [1]. The purpose of this research is thus to examine informal methods that could increase avenues for the participation of women in fisheries management, especially when these informal methods are overlooked due to not being institutionalized or designated as formal methods that are circulating.

Origins and Development

The research paper titled “Access and institutions in a small-scale octopus fishery: A gendered perspective” (2019) by conducted a study entailing the systematic analysis of the institutions structuring access to resources at a level of individual fishing activity, specifically within women’s fisheries [2]. This study was conducted in the northernmost province of Mozambique, called Cado Delgado, specifically within the Quirimbas National Park (QNP). 

A second study, conducted by Norad (2014) titled “How to reduce gender discrimination in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors” identifies existing institutional mechanisms like markets as key sources of insufficient opportunities for women; this places women at an economic disadvantage and makes them unable to change that situation [5]. One of these primary interventions that Norad (2014) offer is to organize women fish traders [5]. Because women fish traders are not organized, collective bargaining power at fish landing sites is weakened [5]. Thus, a proposed intervention is in increasing the participation of women in Community Fishing Councils (CCPs) [5].

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Wosu’s (2019) study focuses on the study site on Ibo Island [2]. Norad’s (2014) study was conducted as a fact-finding mission aiming to identify entry points for improving the economic situation and work conditions of women in the fishery value chains in the Gaza Province [5].

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

Wosu’s (2019) study first defines the conceptual framework by defining institutions in the context of fisheries management, expanding the formally rule-based system to one influenced by values, beliefs and knowledge that may or may not operate formally [2]. Her method is defined through the following framework [2]:

This case uses multiple methods, the first being fisher-follows, in which participants were observed during the women's fishing trips. These occurred with fishermen identified as having “good local knowledge of octopus fishing and with whom a trusting relationship had been established” [2]. The second method was key informant interviews, which occurred with local traders who described the processes involved in trading, imams and village chiefs who explained the customs of resource division, and octopus fisherwomen [2]. The final method was informal discussions, which were conducted to understand economic exchanges and social relationships, alongside the power relations characterizing them [2]. Informal discussions occurred with octopus fisherwomen and local fishermen, alongside boat owners and traders [2]. Norad’s (2014) study had the following breaks down their fact-finding mission into institutional and field information collection phases. This involved meeting actors within aquaculture value chains – "men and/or women from fishers, traders, fish farmers, CCPs and PCR groups" [5]. 

The process of fisher-follows in Wosu's (2019) occurred by identifying the women that were identified as fishers with local knowledge of octopus fishing where a trusting relationship was established [2]. Key informant interviews were conducted at the end of fieldwork periods, once informal observations uncovered particular issues [2].

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The results discovered that, in terms of access to octopus fishing sites, the study discovered that while the regulations of the National Park restricted women's access to fishing sites, informal discussions with fisherwomen revealed that religious norms posed additional restrictions to women in travelling to a populous fishing area [2]. Though religious norms related to gender segregation made men reluctant to allow women on their boats, some fisherwomen were able to overcome these barriers by leveraging familial relationships [2]. Access to fishing was also found to be regulated in individual households; informal discussions with fisherwomen through fisher-follows discovered that engaging in octopus fishing sometimes required seeking permission from the head of household, usually their husband, before leaving the household for long periods [2]. Married fisherwomen thus navigated this through social networks to form fishing groups, which are made up of family members or friends [2]. Working as a group is a strategic tactic that can help in dangerous events like injuries while fishing or obtaining permission to live at home [2]. Frequent fisherwomen were found to have large networks and fish in groups of six to eight [2].

Norad’s (2014) study notes the development of a 'mentoring' role between new and experienced fish farmers, as this helps combat the “current institutional mechanisms, including markets, provide few opportunities for women, putting women at an economic disadvantage and unable to change their situation” [5]. Because fish farmers already act as National Institute for Aquaculture Development (INAQUA) "demonstrators", their experience would support newcomers with more information and technical knowledge regarding pond management [5]. 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also






[5] Study of fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Mozambique: How to reduce gender discrimination in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors 

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