Value chain analysis of a women-dominated wild-caught mud crab fishery

Yashika Nand
Natalie Mason

A value chain analysis (VCA) is a cost-effective tool to guide targeted value chain development interventions to address social wellbeing and environmental performance. Examining value chains through a gender lens can help design and implement interventions that enhance opportunities for women in the fisheries and address gender inequalities in the sector. We conducted a VCA in 2015 of the wild-caught mud crab (Scyllaserrata) fishery in Bua Province, Fiji. We found five main players involved in the selling of mud crabs – fishers, traders, retail shops, restaurants and exporters. The value chain was dominated by Indigenous (iTaukei) women fishers (88.1% of fishers) and characterised by low technological input, targeted largely for domestic markets or consumption, and with limited value-adding activities. Although most women harvested mud crabs on a part-time basis, it was an important source of income for most with 30% relying on it as their main livelihood. Despite being a lucrative commodity, there are several bottlenecks in the fishery – the relative informality of relationships amongst players in the value chain, the independent livelihood-driven harvest behaviours of fishers, and opportunistic sale of products. As a result, the fishery did not meet the demands of the domestic market. Our study concluded the gendered-skewness in the fishery increases the vulnerability of the chain to declines in economic productivity because of its reliance on irregular suppliers, and gender-based constraints. However, the low frequency and intensity of harvesting and use of low technological harvesting methods meant the fishery was not over-exploited and likely sustainable.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
May 30, 2024
Published in

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