Women play an important role in fisheries. They are engaged in a wide range of activities in the fisheries and in fishing communities all around the world:
- as workers (paid and unpaid) within the fisheries, in pre- and post-harvest activities, including liaison work with institutions and agencies . In many countries, it is mostly women who are engaged in inland fishing and aquaculture.
- as workers in seafood processing plants
- as caregivers of the family and in maintaining social networks and the culture of the community
- as workers in non-fisheries sectors to supplement the household income, and the often erratic returns from the fisher
- as members of fishworker movements and fishers' organizations
According to the CMFRI census (2005), women form 48 per cent of the marine fisherfolk population, with 948 females for 1,000 males - the all Indian sex ratio, according to the Census of India 2001, is 933. The sex ratio for fishing communities is maximum in Kerala (980) and minimum in West Bengal (898), among the States of India. It has been noticed that generally the sex ratio is lower in fishing communities, than in other communities. Among women the major fishing-related activites are marketing (41.8 per cent), labour (18.4 per cent) and curing/processing (18 per cent). Further as many as 73.6 per cent of those engaged in marketing are women, while 75.7 per cent of those in curing and processing are also women.
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