MANILA — In the Philippines, the fishing industry has long been considered male territory, with fathers, sons and brothers taking their boats out to sea each day in hopes of catching tuna, blue marlin, or sea bass. A closer look, however, reveals that women play an equally significant role. In an analysis of women in select fishing communities in the country, most of the women surveyed say they are active participants in the entire value chain — from fishing, gleaning and picking, to selling and trading. A recent study published in PLOS ONE also shows that catches by women in Asia reach an estimated 1.7 million metric tons per year, which is worth $3 billion. Despite this contribution, women are rarely involved or tapped in important conversations in the community. This is now being challenged in Calawit, an island that’s part of the Calamianes Islands located in the country’s western Palawan province. There, 15 women from the Indigenous and traditionally male-led Tagbanwa group were given more than 130 hectares (320 acres) of ancestral waters where they can harvest cachipay (Placuna spp.), a type of clam known as windowpane oysters. Oysters have long been an important source of livelihood for the community, especially during lean fishing seasons or when the weather doesn’t allow fisherfolk to go out to sea. While harvesting them is a task traditionally shared by both men and women, ownership, and consequently, management of the ancestral waters had always been delegated to men. The fact that the women…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer