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A woman uses hand tools to chip out oysters at exposed rocks on the beach of Morjim, Goa, India.Rock oyster harvesting can be a local sustainable food sovereignty solution. Aaron Savio Lobo studies oysters and according to his studies, both men and women in Goa harvest but differently. Women chip on the rocks while men dive into the sea to bring a bunch of oysters. These practices are kinder to the sea bed as men use gloved hands to sift through the bed compared to using trawler nets that destroy the bed along with other sea species. Women take the job of taking out the oyster meat, cleaning and discarding the shell back into the ocean. New larvae often use the same shell. Interestingly, oyster clusters have been found on discarded tires too. Aaron writes, “As a rule, Goa’s oyster fishers would shuck these mother shells while they were out collecting in their canoes, or as soon as they got back to shore, to return the mother shells to the environment. This helps sustain future production of oysters in the area.”This practice is today challenged by trawler nets and increased demand from inland. Often entire rocks are transported including the oyster shells. Inland, there is a lack of access to sea waves or backwaters so the oyster shells are not returned for new larvae to grow. Oyster shells also neutralize acidic environments at the end of their lives. This important ecosystem function is also disrupted. With a rising acidic environment, other shell-based creatures that are part of the human food system are threatened. Oysters can provide local resilience because they have a renewing capacity. Over-exploitation, ocean acidification and unsustainable harvesting are factors that make it harder for oysters to renew.

Gender Dimensions of Ocean Risk and Resilience

Women are integral to both the fisheries and tourism sectors. Yet women’s roles, contributions, priorities and interests tend to be overlooked and undervalued across sectors as well as in policy and management.

This report highlights gender roles in two key sectors of the ocean economy (small-scale fisheries and coastal tourism), describes the gendered dimensions of ocean risks, and summarises efforts across SIDS and LDCs for gender equitable approaches to building resilience to ocean risks.