March 7, 2022


Origin & Purpose

These Core Principles are based on the Objectives of the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society (GAFS) (By Laws), experience from our work and that of others. The Principles pertain to how our members should portray the views of GAFS when representing GAFS in meetings, conferences, projects and in advising on policy.


A.   Gender equity in research and development

Fisheries and aquaculture research and development should:

  1. follow human-rights based approaches by including the gender perspectives of women, men, and gender minorities, recognizing that gender is not just a women’s issue;
  2. recognize the paid and unpaid contributions of women[1]*, including reproductive labour;
  3. include sex or gender disaggregated data, even when it is scaled to households, communities, countries, or regions;
  4. prioritize participatory research methodologies and collaborations between researchers and the people and communities whose livelihood is dependent on fisheries and/or aquaculture;
  5. include all fishing types including those with gears and in ecosystems mainly exploited by women* (e.g. gleaning);
  6. include the entire value chain (not just focus on the harvest node of capture fisheries or the production node of aquaculture) pre- and post-capture and production work and trade, informal value chain activities such as micro-businesses in transport, trade and food product production and sale;
  7. include often marginalized fisheries such as small-scale and non-commercial fisheries;
  8. include development of gears and other technology that benefit and could be accessible to people of all genders;
  9. not deprive women* of their existing benefits without co-designing, with all people affected, new development options;
  10. be intersectional, recognizing that gender is one of many often interacting demographic identities such as disability, poverty, indigenous people, age, etc.;
  11. address the data gap on the contributions of gender minorities to fisheries and aquaculture.

[1] *This may include gender minorities, but this is currently a data gap to be addressed. Please see point A.11.

B.   Enabling environments for gender equality

  1. Gender integration is needed in academic, government, non-government, and fishers’ organizations, and companies, working with fisheries and aquaculture communities and value chains;
  2. Policies and mandates should include recognition of gender differences in roles and impacts of policies on different genders;
  3. Gender equity should be a key principle in hiring, work practices including  in determining wages/ payments and career progression in all levels of the employment;
  4. Finances and resources should be dedicated for gender integration in fisheries and aquaculture research, development, and community engagement and outreach;
  5. Gender equality principles and practices should be integrated into work plans and into monitoring and evaluation;
  6. Work environments should be free of sexual harassment, intimidation and gender-based violence;
  7. Gender gaps in the numbers and positions of fisheries technicians and scientists need to be addressed;

C.   Equity in fisheries and aquaculture governance

  1. Following a human rights based approach, as outlined in the Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries, people whose livelihood, culture, or well-being, is dependent on fisheries and aquaculture, should be included in the planning and management of shared natural resources, with particular attention to issues of gender equity;
  2. Co-management partners should use gender sensitive or gender transformative approaches, which include examination of masculinity, to ensure inclusion of gender diversity;
  3. Autonomous organisations of women and gender minorities in fisheries and aquaculture, should be recognised as partners in co-management.
  4. Fisheries and aquaculture development plans, investments and normative instruments, should be inclusive of the knowledge, needs, opportunities, and existing interests of women and gender minorities whose livelihood is dependent on fisheries and/or aquaculture;

D.  Ensuring the rights of women and gender minorities

  1. Unequal access to resources (land, capital and information) based on gender needs to be acknowledged and their customary access to rights to land and fishing grounds or aquaculture space and markets be recognized and respected, particularly in the context of emerging blue economy and global marine conservation targets;
  2. Vulnerabilities to violence of women and gender minorities need to be acknowledged and we advocate for all measures of elimination of violence against women and gender minorities;
  3. Collective action by women and gender minorities are supported and autonomous organisations of women and gender minorities in fisheries and aquaculture are formally recognised.
  4. We must acknowledge differences between women and between gender minorities and their needs. Inclusive policies to benefit the poorest women and gender minorities should be implemented.

March 2022