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A "feminist perspective" in fisheries builds on the fact that women of fishing communities take on multidimensional roles that straddle both production and reproduction...


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Issue No:53
  • :March
  • :2017
  • :English

If the contextually relevant implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (the SSF Guidelines) is a challenge facing the small-scale fisheries sector, an even bigger challenge is the gender equitable implementation of the SSF Guidelines. For women in the sector, this will involve struggling at two levels: one, at the level of the household and the community, and the second, at the level of the State and other stakeholders. This issue focuses on this theme, and includes profile of women fishworkers from Ireland, Costa Rica, and India. Besides this, also covers initiatives for enhancing the capacities of women fishworkers in India and Tanzania. 


A cultural heritage—women divers of Jeju Island

By Ramya Rajagopalan (ramya.rajagopalan@gmail.com), Programme Associate, ICSF

Earlier issues of Yemaya have carried stories about the remarkable women divers (haenyeo) of Jeju Island—see, for example, Yemaya Issue 35. Recently, a milestone occurred in the lives of haenyeo, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed haenyeo culture onto the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Jeju Island, off the southern coast of mainland Korea, is a volcanic island with a population of about 600,000 people, famous for its community of haenyeo, some in their 80s, who dive underwater without the use of oxygen masks to gather shellfish, such as abalone or sea urchins. During the 90 days of the year when harvest is available, these women work for up to seven hours a day, holding their breath for up to one minute as they dive and making a unique sound, called sumbi-sori, as they surface. Based on their level of experience, divers are categorized into three groups, with the most experienced, the sanggun, guiding the others.