Fishing for Answers: An exploration of fisherwomen’s roles and activities in the ‘blue economy’ of the South African small-scale fisheries sector

Minnaar, Natasha Daniela (2022-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Women are globally the backbone of the small-scale fisheries (SSF) sector. However, their economic and social contribution to the sector, have constantly been undervalued and unacknowledged. Even if women are acknowledged and paid for their labour and effort in the sector, their remuneration is less than that of men. This misrecognition of women’s work negatively affects their bargaining power within their families and communities and hinders their participation in both state-level institutions and policy-making decisions for the SSF sector. As such, despite progression within the SSF sector and the significant role that they play, women are still subordinate to men concerning investment decisions, technology, and dealing with governmental institutions. The ‘blue economy’, a policy framework embarked on globally, is meant to harness the social and economic potential of marine life for present and future generations. However, much of the policies and regulations -particularly in the SSF sector- frequently result in ‘ocean grabbing’, which has dire consequences for fisherwomen, their communities, environmental sustainability, social justice, and gender equality. This exploratory case study uses a Marxist ecofeminist lens to provide an analysis of the complex roles and activities of women involved in the SSF sector in South Africa. Two case-site areas, Kleinmond and Steenberg’s Cove, are examined to explore the manifold benefits that they bring to a fishing community, specifically under conditions of a blue economy, which is framed as ‘Operation Phakisa’ in South Africa. Bringing women’s experiences, anecdotes, and struggles to the centre of debates, could further empower them within communities and at broader institutional levels. This study highlights how women interpret and describe their relationship to the ocean as an economy, as well as an integral component of their community. Lastly, the study depicts the nature of the blue economy in South Africa and elucidates how notions of commodification become entangled with environmental protection. Thus, the smallscale fisheries policy, frameworks, and implementation plans are examined in relation to the need to open and strengthen the political space for all small-scale fishers, particularly marginalised groups such as women, to prioritise their rights within regulatory frameworks, as well as to encourage sustainable use of marine resources for the preservation of future generations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Vroue is wereldwyd die ruggraat van die kleinskaalse visserye (SSF) sektor. Hul ekonomiese en sosiale bydrae tot die sektor word egter deurlopend onderwaardeer en nie erken nie. Selfs in die geval waar vroue se arbeid en moeite in hierdie sektor wel erken word, is hul vergoeding minder as die van mans. Hierdie wanherkenning van vroue se werk is nadelig vir hul bedingingsmag binne hul gesinne en gemeenskappe en belemmer hul deelname aan staatsvlakinstellings en beleidsbesluite vir die SSF-sektor. Ten spyte van vooruitgang binne die SSF-sektor en die belangrikheid van vroue se rol, is vroue steeds ondergeskik aan mans ten opsigte van beleggingsbesluite, tegnologie en omgang met regeringsinstellings. Die 'blou ekonomie', 'n beleidsraamwerk wat wereldwyd toegepas word, is gemik daarop om die sosiale en ekonomiese potensiaal van die seelewe vir huidige en toekomstige geslagte te benut. Baie van die beleide en regulasies, veral in die SSF-sektor, lei egter gereeld tot 'oseaan-gryp' wat ernstige gevolge het vir vissersvroue, hul gemeenskappe, omgewingsvolhoubaarheid, maatskaplike geregtigheid en geslagsgelykheid. Hierdie verkennende gevallestudie pas 'n marxistiese ekofeministiese lens toe om die komplekse rolle en aktiwiteite van vroue wat betrokke is in die SSF-sektor in Suid-Afrika in twee gebiede, Kleinmond en Steenberg’s Cove, te ontleed, sowel as die veelvuldige voordele wat dit meebring vir 'n visvanggemeenskap, spesifiek onder toestande van 'n blou ekonomie, wat omskryf word as Operasie Phakisa in Suid-Afrika. Deur vroue se ervarings, vertellings en stryd in die middelpunt van debatte te bring, kan dit hulle binne gemeenskappe en op breer institusionele vlakke verder bemagtig. Hierdie studie beklemtoon ook hoe vroue hul verhouding tot die oseaan interpreteer en beskryf as 'n ekonomie sowel as 'n integrale komponent van hul gemeenskap. Laastens beeld die studie die aard van die blou ekonomie in Suid-Afrika uit en word toegelig hoe konsepte van kommodifikasie verstrengel raak met die beskerming van die omgewing. Dus word die kleinskaalse visserybeleid, raamwerke en implementeringsplanne ondersoek in verband met die noodsaaklikheid om die politieke ruimte vir alle kleinskaalse vissers, veral gemarginaliseerde groepe soos vroue, oop te maak en te versterk om hul regte binne regulerende raamwerke te prioritiseer, sowel as om die volhoubare gebruik van mariene hulpbronne vir die behoud van toekomstige geslagte aan te moedig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/124974
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