Maritime Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 287–295 | Cite as

Innovative and traditional actions

Women’s contribution to sustainable coastal households and communities: examples from Japan and Peru
  • Alyne Elizabeth DelaneyEmail author
  • Milena Arias Schreiber
  • Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto


Coastal residents and fishing families worldwide have long relied upon marine resources for their livelihoods and way of life. Fishing families have a history of relying on family members—especially female members—in related businesses, but also can combine non-fishing-related activities to build their resilience. These women and households are characterized by operating independently and showing personal autonomy for the uptake of both traditional enterprises and adapted technologies. It is also natural for women to play important roles in supporting resilience driving such activities and innovations in work and workways. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this article presents women’s activities in two coastal communities in Miyagi, Japan, and San Jose, Peru. The research highlights the importance of sociocultural and gendered contexts as a means to better understand women’s role communities. Strengthening women and fishing households’ adaptations to external pressures and challenges in uncertain environmental global change scenarios can be crucial for the resilience of the small-scale fisheries worldwide.


Environmental uncertainty Culture Women Householder Innovation Livelihoods Small-scale fisheries (SSF) Value-added activities Resilience 



2011 Great East Japan Earthquake (and tsunami)


El Niño Southern Oscillation


Fishery/Fisheries Cooperative Association


Small-scale fisheries



The authors would like to thank Drs. Katia Frangoudes and Siri Gerard for their encouragement while preparing this article and for their initiative in putting together this Special Issue, and the two anonymous reviewers who provided their guidance and suggestions. The generosity of the funders who enabled the research to take place is also acknowledged. The authors also offer their sincere thanks to the small-scale fishing women, families, and community members who took the time and interest to work with them during their research.

Availability of data and material

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Funding information

For the Japanese case study, this work is (partially) supported by the Initiative for Realizing Diversity in the Research Environment (Tohoku University Morinomiyako Project for Empowering Women in Research) from Japan Science and Technology Agency, JST, by the Centre for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, and The Japan Foundation. The Peru case study was partially supported by a Darwin Initiative project for Sustainable Fisheries in Peru, through the University of Exeter, UK; and by the United States Embassy in Peru, through an REO grant.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Northeast Asian StudiesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Innovative Fisheries ManagementAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  3. 3.School of Global StudiesUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Facultad de Biologia MarinaUniversidad Científica del SurLimaPeru
  5. 5.ProDelphinusLimaPeru

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