SAMUDRA News AlertsGlobal meet on mackerel genetics

Fisheries experts from eight countries will meet in Kochi, India, on Tuesday for...

Sea turtles endangered by artisanal fish...

Sea turtles are threatened by ongoing artisanal fishing, due to incidental by-ca...

Evicted Indian fisherfolk seek restorati...

Around 10,000 poor fishermen who were evicted from Jambudwip, an isolated island...

Fisheries is an important sector in India--it provides...

employment to millions of people and contributes to food security of the country. With a coastline of over 8,000 km, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of over 2 million sq km,


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.

Useful resources

Policy/Legal Issues

Welfare Schemes

Central Government

State Government: Welfare schemes and schemes for fish vending and post-harvest activities

ICSF Resources



Other publications

Other Documents

  • Bhatta, Ramachandra and K. Aruna Rao. 2003. Women's livelihood in fisheries in coastal Karnataka. Indian Journal of Gender Studies: 261-278
  • Bhaumik, Utpal; P.K. Pandit; and J.G Chatterjee. 1990. Participation of fisherwomen in inland fisheries activities: perceived problems and measures. Environment and ecology:713-716
  • Brake, Constance Elaine. 2001. The roles of women fisherfolk in the fishing industry in India and the impacts of development on their lives. Fisheries and marine institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
  • Chaturvedi, Gitanjali. 2004. Women in fisheries on the east coast in India- A review. BOBP/REP No. 97, BOBP, Chennai.
  • Dietrich, Gabriele and Nalini Nayak. Exploring the possibilities of counter hegemonic globalization of fishworker's movement in India and its global interactions.
  • Gadagkar, Sudhindra. 1992. Women in fisheries in India. Asian fisheries society.
  • Goswami, M and S.N.Ohja. Focus on the women of Assam: Their role in fisheries. Aquaculture Asia. Volume V(4): 22-23
  • Gulati, Leela. 1984. Fisherwomen on the Kerala coast: demographic and socio-economic impact of a fisheries development project. Volume 8 of Women, work, and development. ILO, 1984. 156P.
  • Lina, Samuel. 2007. Women, work and fishing: An examination of the lives of fisherwomen in Kerala. South Asia Research. 205-227
  • Nayak, Nalini. 1992. A struggle within the struggle- An experience of a group of women. PCO, Trivandrum. 78p.
  • Nayak, Nalini. 1993. Continuity and change in artisanal fishing communities. SIFFS and PCO, Trivandrum. 93p.
  • Nayak, Nalini. 2004. Fisherwomen gain little from new labour standards. Labour File. Volume 2 (2): 14-17pp.
  • Nayak, Nalini. 2005. The political economy of violence against women with special reference tothe fisheries sector . Paper presented at the SANGAT Workshop Goa, India, May 2005
  • Nayak, Nalini. 2007. A new convention: But what is there in it for women? Labour File, Volume 5 (3-4): 24-28pp
  • Nayak, Nalini. Impact of the changing patten of fish vending by women in the fishing community. From the series of Emerging trends in small-scale fisheries. Financed by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi.
  • Nayak, Nalini. Understanding the impact of fisheries development on gender relations in fisheries: The importance of re-orienting the focus of fisheries management strategies towards a more life centered and gender just perspective.
  • Ninawe, A.S. and A.D. Diwan. Women empowerment in fisheries. Narendra Publishing House, Delhi. 297p.
  • Parlikar, Kalpana. 1993. Women in fishery. National workshop on women in fisheries (some methodological issues), Barod. 28-30 August 1993. Women, Household, Development Studies Information Centre, Baroda.
  • Peters, Karen.M. 2004. Women don't fish - or do they? gender and sustainable livelihoods in Kerala, India's small-scale coastal fisheries. Department of Environment and Geography, Manitoba.
  • Quaedvlieg, Julia. 2007. Take no thought for tomorrow? An in-depth research about the pathways of the Nagapattinam women in fisheries, Tamil Nadu. University of Amsterdam.
  • Ramachandran, C; R. Sathiadhas, Saidkoya and A.I. Muhsin. Gendered spaces, technological change and fisheries sustainability: A comparative analysis of women in tuna fisheries in Lakshadweep and bivalve fisheries in Kerala.
  • Reena, V; Arpita Sharma and SK. Pandey. 2007. Potential microfinance for women in fisheries sector. Indian cooperative review: 245-258
  • Rubinoff, Janet Ahner. 1999. Fishing for status: impact of development on Goa's fisherwomen. Women's studies International Forum. Volume 22. Issue No. 6. November-December: 631-644
  • Samantray, K and S.C Pathak. An overview of women in the Indian fisheries sector and suggestions for improvement of their socioeconomic status.
  • Sathiadas, R; S. Ashalatha, Sindu Sadanandan; Raj Y. Joseph. 2003. Women workers in the post-harvest marine fisheries secor of Kerala: socio-economic profile. Fishing Chimes. Volume 23 (2): 31-35
  • Sharma, Arpita. 2003. Valuing women's work in fisheries. Fishing Chimes. Volume 23 (7): 46-48