Women of the Blue Economy - Gender Equity and Participation in the Management of Water Resources: Lessons from the Coast of Kenya and Somalia

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Women’s role in the fisheries sector


In the target locations of this study, Magarini Sub County, there are 4 registered BMUs with a total number of 2,735 members out of which 1065 or 40% are women and with an executive committee in which 25-45% members are women. According to the local tradition, fishing is a man activity, although there is a small group of women who is fishing during the day or owns boats and employs men to fish. These women are also traders of the fish they get. The other women deal with processing and trading of fish: they purchase fish from fishermen, cook fish in restaurants or at home, serve fried fish in kiosks, hawk raw, dry, smoked or cooked fish door-to-door, in market places or to restaurants. In Magarini there are 32 fish shops with freezers of which only one is managed by a woman. Women do not deal with transportation nor are involved in net repairing.


More women are involved in fishing industry after the war as gender roles are changing due to lack of employment for men. Women are mostly responsible for skilled and time-consuming onshore tasks, such as making and mending nets, baskets and pots, processing and marketing catches, and providing services to boats, such as selling fuel or rent refrigerators and boats to fishermen. Women in processing are mostly affected by lack of cold chain storage facilities, and they are tasked with fish preservation through simple methods such as smoking, sun drying and salting.

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