08 Mar Coral Triangle Women Leaders: Promoting Sustainable Fisheries in Papua New Guinea

The Central Province coastal community depends on fish for food and income. Fishing revenue forms the main income for local people. Fish produce is highly demanded in the city of Port Moresby resulting in unsustainable fishing and overfished reefs. Women depend on near-shore marine resources such as shells, crabs, corals, fish from reefs and sea-grass beds. Unsustainable fishing predominately pursued by men has destroyed most reefs and this is having a negative effect on women who can’t go out fishing in the open sea for food and cash income.

There is a need for another way to catch fish and generate income for women such as establishing a community-based Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) to allow women to be self-reliant and respected as equal contributors in providing food and income for their families and community. A FAD is a man-made object used to attract ocean going pelagic fish. They usually consist of buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete blocks. Over 300 species of fish gather around FADs. FADs attract fish for numerous reasons that vary by species and creating one for women to utilize will relieve the pressure on reefs and provide food, empowerment and income for the women involved.

Women Leaders in Papua New Guinea Are Taking Action!

In PNG, women leaders who are part of the CTI-CFF Women Leaders’ Forum Intergenerational Learning Program is tackling the challenge of sustainable fisheries!

Barbara Masike-Liri is the first female director of The Nature Conservancy’s program in Papua New Guinea. She has facilitated various agreements between the Nature Conservancy and government departments. Her work with the West New Britain provincial government resulted in the program being institutionalized in the Fisheries division and then the Division of Forests Environment and Climate Change. As project manager of the USAID IUCN MARSH (Mangrove) project, she guided the project to achieving ground-breaking results in less than a year. Barbara studied journalism majoring in world history and Pacific politics.

Barbara, will be the mentor and share her experience with others and be a role model. She hopes to share her experience of being the first female program director in PNG. Barbara looks forward to helping her mentee understand the value of their skills and knowledge and encourage them to take action. Barbara is not afraid of making mistakes and believes it’s part of the process. She believes it’s important to take action and if you make a mistake, learn from it, improve and try again.

Martha Wamo, the mentee, is the CTI-CFF Liaison Support Officer for the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA). She graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea, in Environmental Science & Physical Geography. She is looking forward to gaining more experience in a leadership role and to develop skills to become a strong leader. Martha believes good leaders encompass values of trust and honesty.

Barbara and Martha will embark on the conservation challenge to reduce pressure on local coral reefs in the Central Province of PNG by creating an alternative way to catch fish and generate income for women.

The CTI-CFF Women Leaders Forum Intergenerational Learning Program is being implemented by the US Department of the Interior and the Coral Triangle in Center, in collaboration with CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat and CTI-CFF National Coordinating Committees and funded by USAID.


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