30 Jun Mapping Women’s Role in Blue Swimming Crab (BSC) Fisheries in Central Java
Despite their active participation, women’s empowerment in the supply chain of blue swimming crab (BSC) in the Central Java Province has not yet reached its full potential because there isn’t enough baseline data. In order to identify and document some of the critical responsibilities that women play in sustaining the BSC commodity and supporting their families’ economies, CTC recently visited four districts on the north coast of Central Java.
For ten days, starting from June 20 to 30, 2022, CTC conducted this preliminary survey in the district of Pati, Rembang, Jepara and Demak. The CTC team toured 10 BSC fishing villages and interviewed 60 people (including fishers, business actors, local governments, and other stakeholders) about the existing situation of BSC fisheries and challenges/opportunities for women empowerment in the future. CTC also received support from the Diponegoro University in Semarang, Central Java.
According to the results of interviews and field observations, women typically play significant roles in the preparation and post-capture phases of BSC fisheries, which also includes processing of BSCs and other fisheries products. In the preparation stage, they assist their husbands in preparing logistics and equipment gears. During the post-catch stage, however, they are more involved in middle-persons, weighing, boiling, and picking the crabs. A number of female respondents also said that they usually process the remaining boiled water and carapace from the crabs to create edible products, such as crackers and crab paste.
“For the past two to three years, our processed BSC products have been a thriving business. We have sold our crackers and crab paste in some local markets and to other districts. We market our goods through social media,” said Masiroh, a fisherman’s wife in Betahwalang village, Demak.
Although some women fishers have been successful in making creative by-products, they still need capacity-building to enhance their skills and knowledge, particularly in marketing, business planning, and financial literacy. Many responders claimed they had never undergone such training. On the other hand, local Marine Affairs and Fisheries Agencies (DKP) are also aware of the constraints placed on their ability to empower women. Overwhelming domestic tasks such as child care and housekeeping often restrict women from engaging in activities that promote self-improvement and development.
CTC will further elaborate of these findings in a technical report, as well as in a presentation that will be presented to local governments and other key stakeholders. The analysis results will also serve as the foundation for CTC’s selection of the pilot site to implement the program of capacity-building and network strengthening for women fishers in BSC fisheries. In mid-2022, CTC will also collaborate with the Diponegoro University’s students of Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, as well as with local fishery extension officers to facilitate program implementation at the community level.
CTC anticipates the upcoming program that supports women fishers in sustainable BSC fisheries in the Central Java Province to be as successful as the previous one held in Lampung Province. Since 2021, around 28 BSC women fishers in Lampung have had access to several training sessions on the business model canvas, leadership, and learning networks, facilitated by CTC. In addition, CTC has also worked with other organizational partners to make sure that provincial legislation and plans for sustainable BSC fisheries management have recognized the role of women fishers in Lampung. (*)
Photo by Yoga Putra/CTC