The 8th Global Conference on ‘Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF8)’, jointly organized by ICAR- Central Institute of Fisheries Technology(CIFT), Kochi; Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society and the Society of Fisheries Technologists (India) (SOFTI) was officially inaugurated by the Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammed Khan in presence of the internationally acclaimed luminaries like Dr. Meryl J. Williams, Former DG, World Fish Centre (WFC),Malaysia and Co-Chair GAF8 and Past Chair GAFS of Asian Fisheries Society (AFS); Ms.Jennifer Gee, Gender Team Leader, FAO, United Nations, Rome along with Dr George Ninan,Director, ICAR-CIFT, Cochin.
In his inaugural address, the Chief Guest of the programme Governor of Kerala,Arif Mohammed Khan expressed his pleasure saying that the GAF8 will be discussing the intertwined gender issues in aquaculture and fisheries sector pertaining to the rights ofequality of the unsung majority of women as compared to their male counterparts.
Lamenting on the poor socio-economic status of the fisher women with respect to gender inequality and inequity, he said that in spite of the large-scale contributions of women in the several areas in the fishing industry, their services for the sectoral development have not been duly acknowledged. So, he urged the delegates to find out potential solutions to resolve these issues through fruitful deliberations on this global platform.
Dr. Meryl J. Williams, the former Director General, World Fish Centre, Penang, Malaysia and Co-Chair GAF8 & Past Chair GAFS of Asian Fisheries Society (AFS) said “GAF8 aims to highlight the exceptional capabilities of women in fisheries related business enterprises,those who are being often neglected in the developments process in technologies, finances and political fields.” She emphasized that the GAF8 would be able to bring out some strategies to streamline the role of women more visible in the development of fisheries sector, make them prominent as catalysts for the growth of the sector and include them in the society meaningfully as decision makers.
Dr. T. K. Srinivasa Gopal, the former Director, ICAR-CIFT, Cochin and the renowned fish processing scientist & academician received the SOFTI Biennial Award, 2017 from the Governor for his exceptional contribution in the field of fisheries technology with referenceto packaging technology and food science technology.
Earlier, in his presidential remarks, Dr. George Ninan, Director, ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi & Organizing Secretary, GAF8 accentuated.”Woman are the key players in fishery related livelihoods, particularly in the domains of post-harvestand marketing of fish, but their roles in this sector are often underplayed. Hence it is very important to flag these issues and challenges that the women face in the sector through this GAF8 platform.”
The conference which is being held from 21-23 November 2022 at Kochi, is the eighth in the global series, themed on ‘Shaping the Future: Gender Justice for Sustainable Aquaculture & ‘Fisheries’ through various sub-themes pertaining to gender issues and related policies in the fisheries sector.
The conference aims to bring forward gender issues in the aquaculture and fisheries sector on a common global platform for gaining new insights and establishing networks of stakeholders associated with fisheries and discuss potential solutions through the gendered lens.
The three-day conference has brought together over 300 scientists, academicians, gender experts, policy makers and students from India and abroad. Delegates from 20 countries will present papers in GAF8. Besides six focal themes, there are 10 Special Sessions have been arranged by international and national organizations, including the FAO, Pacific Community, BOBP, ICSF etc. In addition, two special events are being hosted along with GAF8; one on ‘Interventions for Control of AMR: Harnessing One Health Knowledge’ observing the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and the other on ‘Small-scale Fisheries: Its Global and Regional Significance’ in connection with the FAOs International Year of Artisanal Fisheries & Aquaculture (IYAFA).
Among the other dignitaries, Dr. Leela Edwin, Head, Fishing Technology Division, ICAR-CIFT & Co-Chair, GAF8; Ms. Jennifer Gee, Gender Team Leader FAO, United Nations, Rome; Dr. V. Kripa, Member Secretary, Coastal Aquaculture Authority, Chennai; Dr. Nikita Gopal,Principal Scientist, ICAR-CIFT and Organizing Secretary, GAF8 & Chair GAFS and Dr. T. V Sankar, Principal Scientist, ICAR-SIFT, Kochi also spoke at the event.