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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pacific Islands Women in Fisheries Network

The Bulletin for the SPC's Women in Fisheries (WIF) special interest group (SIG) has been in limbo since the last issue was published, in April 2005. Trouble is, Aliti Vunisea, who was our coordinator for the network, got promoted into another job at SPC and has had her work cut out doing full-time socio-economic surveys of reef-fishing around the Pacific Islands, with no time left over for WIFSIG.

And I've just had my backside kicked by the SPC's governing council last week for letting our focus on women in fisheries drift.

It's all very well me claiming that we have "mainstreamed" women-in-fisheries issues into our regular work-programme - that we're concentrating on providing equal access and opportunities to our training courses - and that we're getting better statistics on social aspects of fisheries than ever... It's obvious that only a visible focal point for women in fisheries is acceptable as an indicator of our attention.

Teaching fish-farming to women in Fiji
(image courtesy of Satya Nandlal - SPC Freshwater Aquaculture Officer)

As with all service industries our watchword is: "the customer is always right", and so we are doing our best to revitalise the network. We don't have the resources to appoint a full-time network coordinator - in any case our SIG networks don't operate that way and one of their strengths is that they draw on expertise outside SPC - but Dr Veikila Vuki has kindly agreed to pick up the baton for a period.

There's more about Veikila in the press release we put out a couple of days ago. This is just to introduce her to a possibly broader audience and to provide a more personal welcome. I've known Veikila for a long time. In fact I moved into the job that she vacated when she left the Fiji Fisheries Division to do her Masters degree in 1984. So it is good to be working with her again.

If anyone is interested in contributing any articles or snippets of news about women in fisheries in the Pacific Islands, or indeed information of broader significance, then please get in touch with Veikila direct (veikilav AT guam.uog.edu), or with the SPC's Fisheries Information Section (cfpinfo AT spc.int), who will pass it on.

Resolution for this week: Try to avoid appearing on the Center for Media and Democracy's Spin of the Day page.

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