Improving fisheries estimates by including women’s catch in the Central Philippines

Small-scale fisheries catch and effort estimates are often built on incomplete data because they overlook women’s fishing. Women do participate in small-scale fisheries, and often in ways distinct from men’s fishing. Hence, the inclusion of women’s fishing is necessary to understanding the diversity and totality of human fishing efforts.

We examine how the inclusion of women’s fishing alters the enumeration of fishers, and estimations of catch weight, fishing effort, and targeted organisms using a case study of twelve communities in the Central Philippines. Women were 42% of all fishers, and contributed approximately one quarter of the fishing effort and catch weight.

Narrower definitions of fishing that excluded gleaning (gathering of benthic macro invertebrates in intertidal areas) and part-time fishing masked the participation and contribution of most women fishers. For our case, it is clear that overlooking women, part-time, or gleaning fishers led to the underestimation of fishing effort and catch weight. Overlooking gleaning had also led to underestimation of shells and other benthic macro invertebrates in fishing catches. Apart from the specific context of the Philippines, these insights suggest implications for fisheries data and management more generally.

Kleiber, D., L.M. Harris and A.C.J. Vincent. 2014. Improving fisheries estimates by including women’s catch in the Central Philippines. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71(5):656-664. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2013-0177