Most people never thought about who has actually caught the fish they eat or buy at the supermarket but…this is an important part of the equation.
For most of us, fishing is very much considered a male activity and it’s surprising to find out that 50 % of the workforce within the seafood sector, comprising fisheries and aquaculture, are actually women and that 90% of those actually taking care of or processing your seafood on land are women. The reason is that this female work force is mostly invisible in the seafood sector and as a consequence, receives considerably lower wages and has worse working conditions than their male colleagues.
Let’s use the 8th of March – International Women’s Day – to call the attention of politicians and the private sector to this issue. Apart from the fact that gender equality within the seafood sector will strengthen our societies also shows that gender equality benefits both social and environmental sustainability.
In 2019, the WWF presented two new reports on the role of women in the seafood industry and how women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate crisis then men.
The WWF report “Empowering Women in Marine Communities to Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change” of September 2019, shows that the roles of women must be reinforced in EU marine policies and that the role of women must be embedded in all conservation and development policies to ensure food security and delivery of sustainable seafood on a global scale’.
Traditionally, fishery-related organisational arrangements are dominated by men and often exclude women from decision-making. However, when it comes to sustainable fishing, women play an important role in financing and trading.
Gender-balance benefits in the seafood sector:
– More sustainable fishing and stronger economic outcomes;
– An increase of the global GDP by an average of 35%,;*)
– Better results in the fisheries sector because the majority of the seafood-processing workforce is female.
– Providing women and girls with equal opportunities will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large;
– Studies show that improving gender equality can improve sustainable use of ocean resources.
What can consumers do to help in changing this unequal situation?
“As consumers in high and mid income countries, we need to increase our demand for social and environmental responsibility and sustainability of seafood products that we buy in supermarkets, at fish mongers, in sushi stores and at restaurants,” according to Elizabeth Kiorboe, a senior adviser, from WWF Denmark “ Consumers should look to buy the most sustainable seafood, ask for information on how and where the seafood they buy was caught or produced and follow the recommendations of the WWF’s Seafood Guides
Policy brief: Empowering Women in Marine Communities to Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change”,
“Fisherwomen” social media video made by the Fish Forward project:
*) source: according to the International Monetary Fund, 2018