In the Azores, the work of women in fisheries has been invisible and undervalued for decades. This article presents a historical review of the hidden roles of these women and how they gained a place within the fishing community through the creation of associations and participatory research collaborations. This article reviews the relationships between scientists, government and fishers, which has been variable over time. This article contributes to the growing family of concepts describing the invisibility of women in fisheries in both policy and academic circles. It contributes to understanding how participatory research and collaborative policymaking have evolved and faced challenges in the Azores region, adding empirical work to these concepts. It explores the way that women fishers have been embraced at times through the government’s support to create fishing associations, but excluded at other times, via the specific consultation practices of the decision-makers. Participatory action research helped build opportunities for the women to be seen as fishers by the public as well as acknowledged within official circles, and to gain confidence, strengthen self-esteem and gender consciousness. This work explores how economic crisis and a prioritizing of scientific expertise over community knowledge and participation have reduced women’s engagement in governance, effectively muting their voices and opportunity to contribute. It is an example for keeping both a gendered and a practitioner-expert perspective on research and policy on fisheries.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Almeida, Maria. 2018. Women mayors in Portugal: A case study in political representation and citizenship. Revista de Sociologia e Política 26 (68): 27–42.
Baldacchino, Godfrey, and Eduardo Costa Duarte Ferreira. 2013. Competing notions of diversity in archipelago tourism: Transport logistics, official rhetoric and inter-island rivalry in the Azores. Island Studies Journal 8 (1): 84–104.
Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann. 1966. The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. New York: Doubleday.
Berkes, Fikret, Johan Colding, and Carl Folke. 2000. Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10 (5): 1251–1262.
Boal, Augusto. 1995. The rainbow of desire—the Boal method of theatre and therapy (A. Jackson, Trans.). London and New York: Routledge.
Bulhão Pato, Carlos, Alison Laurie Neilson, and Laurinda Sousa. 2011. Exploring the wealth of coastal fisheries: Listening to community voices, 21 -24 October 2011 Angra do Heroísmo & Ponta Delgada, Portugal, Final Report. http://conferencewealthofcoastalfisheriespt.blogspot.pt/
Canha, Clarisse. 2012 October 31. Vozes da crise. Mulheres na pesca. Voz Marítimos. Acoriano Oriental, p. 17. retrieved from https://www.yumpu.com/pt/document/view/12925349/31-10-2012-18073-voz-dos-maritimos-geral-pagina-16-ccrs
Canha, Clarisse. 2015. O trabalho da UMAR nos Açores. Percurso feminista dos direitos das mulheres e a igualdade. Boletim do Núcleo Cultural da Horta 24: 93–110.
Canha, Clarisse, and Maria José Raposo. 2006. Inclusão percursos para a igualdade, IPI. Uma experiência de valorização em Rabo de Peixe e São Mateus. Mulheres. Seu papel e saberes nas comunidades piscatórias, nos Açores. Ponta Delgada: UMAR-Açores.
Chapin, Francis F. 1992. Channels for change: Emigrant tourists and the class structure of Azorean migration. Human Organisation 51 (1): 44–52.
Coelho, Ana. 2017 May 29. Associação Sete Mares: Mulheres lideram projecto para valorizar a pesca e quem nela trabalha. Atlântico Expresso no page numbers. retrieved from https://pescazores.com/associacao-sete-mares-mulheres-lideram-projecto-para-valorizar-a-pesca-e-quem-nela-trabalha/
Da Silva, Emanuel. 2012. Making and masking difference: Multiculturalism and sociological tensions in Toronto’s Portuguese Canadian market. Portuguese Studies Review 20 (2): 78.
Daw, Tim M. 2008. How Fishers Count. Engaging with fishers’ knowledge in fisheries science and management. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Newcastle University.
Denzin, Norman K., and Yvonne S. Lincoln. 2003. Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dias, Nelson, ed. 2014. 25 Years of participatory budgeting worldwide. São Brás de Alportel, Portugal: In Loco Association.
Dias, Nelson, and Giovanni Allegretti. 2009. The variable geometry of participatory budgeting: Which lessons from the new Portuguese Explosion? In Learning democracy by doing: Alternative practices in citizenship education and participatory democracy, eds. Katherine Daly, Daniel Schugurensky and Kristina Lopes. 623–637. Toronto ON: University of Toronto, Transformative Learning Centre: Toronto.
FAO. 2015. Voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication. Rome, Italy: FAO. http://www.fao.org/3/i4356en/I4356EN.pdf
Ferreira, Pedro Daniel, Joaquim Luís Coimbra, and Isabel Menezes. 2012. ‘Diversity within diversity’: Exploring connections between community participation and citizenship. Journal of Social Science Education 11 (3): 120–134.
Frangoudes, Katia. 2011. Women’s contribution in small-scale fisheries in the European Union. In World small-scale fisheries contemporary visions, ed. Ratana Chuenpagdee, 101–115. Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers.
Frangoudes, Katia. 2013. Women in fisheries: A European perspective. Brussels: European Parliament.
Frangoudes, Katia. 2018. Developing the inclusion of gender dimension in European fisheries sector. In In I International forum for socioeconomics of fisheries, 22-23 March 2018. Praia da: Vitória, Portugal.
Frangoudes, Katia, and Siri Gerrard. 2018. (En)Gendering change in small-scale fisheries and fishing communities in a globalized world. Maritime Studies 17: 117–124.
Frangoudes, Katia, and Joan O’Doherty. 2006. Legal recognition of women’s contributions in fisheries and aquaculture in the European Union. In Global symposium on Gender and Fisheries, 7th Asian Fisheries Forum, 1-2 December-2004 139–148. Penang, Malaysia.
Garrido, Álvaro. 2018. As pescas em Portugal. Lisbon: Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos.
Gerrard, Siri. 1983. ‘Kvinner i fiskeridistrikter – fiskerinæringas bakkemannskap.’ (Women in fishery districts – the shore crew of the fishery industry) - In Bjørn Hersoug (red.). 1983: Kan fiskerinæringa styres? (Can the fishing industry be governed?). Oslo: Novus forlag.
Gerrard, Siri. 1995. When women take the lead: Changing conditions for women ́s activities, roles and knowledge in North Norwegian fishing communities. Social Science Information 34 (4): 593–631.
Guerin, Benoît. 2017. Understanding grassroots factors that enable the small-scale fishing segment to influence fisheries management in the south western waters of the European Union. Analysis of field interviews, January Report. European Commission Funding FISH. www.cc-sud.eu/index.php/en/swwac/our-projects
Gustavsson, Madeleine, and Mark Riley. 2018. Women, capitals and fishing lives: Exploring gendered dynamics in the Llŷn Peninsula small-scale fishery (Wales, UK). Maritime Studies 17 (2): 223–231.
Harper, Sarah, and Danika Kleiber. 2016. Counting on women. Yemaya 51: 2–3.
Harper, Sarah, Dirk Zeller, Melissa Hauzer, Daniel Pauly, and Rashid Sumaila Ussif. 2013. Women and fisheries: Contribution to food security and local economies. Marine Policy 39: 56–63.
Harper, Sarah, Charlotte Grubb, Margot Stiles, and Ussif Rashid Sumaila. 2017. Contributions by women to fisheries economies: Insights from five maritime countries. Coastal Management 45 (2): 91–106.
Hughes, Sherick, Julie L. Pennington, and Sara Makris. 2012. Translating autoethnography across the AERA standards: Toward understanding autoethnographic scholarship as empirical research. Educational Researcher 41 (6): 209–219.
INE, Instituto Nacional de Estatística. 2012. Censos 2011 Resultados Definitivos - Região Autónoma dos Açores. Lisbon: INE.
James, Richard. 2012. Social inclusion in a globalised higher education environment: The issue of equitable access to university in Australia. In Social inclusion and higher education, eds. Tehmina N. Basit, and Sally Tomlinson, 83–107. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Jentoft, Svein, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Alida Bundy, and Robin Mahon. 2010. Pyramids and roses: Alternative images for the governance of fisheries systems. Marine Policy 34 (6): 1315–1321.
Kincheloe, Joe L., and Kenneth Tobin. 2009. The much exaggerated death of positivism. Cultural Studies of Science Education 4 (3): 513–528.
Kleiber, Danika Lynn, Leila M. Harris, and Amanda C. J. Vincent. 2015. Gender and small-scale fisheries: A case for counting women and beyond. Fish and Fisheries 16: 547–562.
Liswood, Laura. 2019. Women’s voices must be heard in the battle to save the ocean. www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/womens-voices-must-be-heard-in-the-battle-to-save-the-ocean/
MacAlister Elliott and Partners Ltd. 2002. Report of the role of women in the fisheries sector. Final Report. Series No. 1443/R/03/A, European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/sites/fisheries/files/docs/body/mainreport_en.pdf
Menini, Elisabetta, Firdaous Halim, Daniela Gabriel, Juan Luis Suarez de Vivero, Helena Calado, Fabiana Moniz, and Mario Caña Varona. 2018. Geopolitical framework of the Macaronesia region. GPS Azores project: Ponta Delgada.
Monfort, Marie Christine. 2015. Fishing out the invisible. Samudra Report 71: 31–34.
Moreira, Claudio, and Marcelo Diversi. 2014. The coin will continue to fly: Dismantling the myth of the lone expert. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies 14 (4): 298–302.
Msomphora, Mbachi Ruth. 2016. The role of science in fisheries management in Europe: From mode 1 to mode 2. Maritime Studies 15: 3–23. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40152-016-0042-4.
Neilson, Alison Laurie. 2018. Collaboration between community and university for social issues in the fishing community. In I International forum for socioeconomics of fisheries, 22-23 March 2018. Praia da Vitória, Portugal.
Neilson, Alison Laurie, and Rita São Marcos. 2016a. Casting nets for social inclusion: Weaving partnerships across the sea - Final Report, 21. Coimbra: Centre for Social Studies.
Neilson, Alison Laurie, and Rita São Marcos. 2016b. Civil participation between private and public spheres: The island sphere and fishing communities in the Azores archipelago. Island Studies Journal 11: 585–600.
Neilson, Alison Laurie, and Rita São Marcos. 2019. Relational ontologies and hybridity: Fishing for empathy between Azorean fishers and scientists. Marine Policy 105: 30–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.04.004.
Neilson, Alison Laurie, Carlos de Bulhão Pato, and Laurinda Sousa. 2012. A short reflection on research and fishing cultures performing knowledge together. Maria Scientia 2: 73–82.
Neilson, Alison Laurie, Rosalina Gabriel, Ana Moura Arroz, and Enésima Mendonca. 2014. Perspectives about the sea in the Azores: Respecting narratives that sustain inshore fishing communities. In Social issues in sustainable fisheries management, ed. Julie Urquhart, Tim G. Acott, David Symes, and Minghua Zhao, 319–338. Amsterdam: MARE and Amsterdam University Press.
Nóbrega, Teresa (Director). 2006. Repórter Açores: Pescadoras da Terra e do Mar [Television broadcast]. Ponta Delgada, Açores: Rádio Televisão Portuguesa-Açores. Available at: http://videos.sapo.pt/yT6cAhytVrqlMcejdZMj
Phillipson, Jeremy, and David Symes. 2015. Finding a middle way to develop Europe’s fisheries dependent areas: The role of fisheries local action groups. Sociologia Ruralis 55 (3): 343–359. https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12098.
Pielke, Roger A., Jr. 2007. The honest broker. Making sense of science in policy and politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pinkerton, Evelyn, and Reade Davis. 2015. Neoliberalism and the politics of enclosure in North American small-scale fisheries. Maritime Policy 61: 303–312.
Porter, Marilyn. 1985. “She Was Skipper of the Shore-Crew:” Notes on the History of the Sexual Division of Labour in Newfoundland. Labour / Le Travail 15:105.
Power, Nicole Gerarda. 2000. Women processing workers as knowledgeable resource users: Connecting gender, local knowledge, and development in the Newfoundland fishery. In Finding our sea legs. Linking fishery people and their knowledge with science and management, ed. Barbara Neis and Lawrence Felt, 206–223. St. John’s: ISER books.
Reason, Peter, and Hilary Bradbury. 2008. The Sage handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.
Rocha, J.A. Oliveira, and Joaquim Filipe Araujo. 2007. Administrative reform in Portugal: Problems and prospects. International Review of Administrative Sciences 73: 583–596.
Rocklin, Delphine. 2016. State of the art in small-scale fisheries. In Small-scale fisheries of the world, ed. Ratana Chuenpagdee and Delphine Rocklin, 8. St. John’s, NL: TBTI Publication Series.
Salmi, Pekka, and Kirsi Sonck-Rautio. 2018. Invisible work, ignored knowledge? Changing gender roles, division of labor, and household strategies in Finnish small-scale fisheries. Maritime Studies 17 (2): 213–221.
Sempere, Kas, and Rogéria Sousa. 2008. As mulheres na pesca nos Açores. Estamos cá. Existimos. Ponta Delgada: UMAR-Açores.
Silva, Luís. 2015. Foucault in the landscape: Questioning governmentality in the Azores. Landscape Research 4 (4): 397–410.
Symes, David. 2014. Finding solutions: Resilience theory and Europe’s small-scale fisheries. In Social issues in sustainable fisheries management, ed. Julie Urquhart, Tim G. Acott, David Symes, and Minghua Zhao, 23–41. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Tavares, Orlanda, Vasco Lança, and Alberto Amaral. 2017. Academic Inbreeding in Portugal: Does insularity play a role? Higher Education Policy 30. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-016-0029-1.
Tomás, Licínio Vicente. 2008. Crisscrossing destinies: A look at the work of generations of Azorean women. In Women and work in the Azores and the immigrant communities, ed. Rosa Maria Neves Simas, 1087–1100. Ponta Delgado: UMAR-Açores.
Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang. 2014. Unbecoming claims: Pedagogies of refusal in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry 20 (6): 811–818.
Urfalino, Philippe. 2010. Deciding as bringing deliberation to a close. Social Science Information 49 (1): 111–140.
Yodanis, Carrie L. 2000. Constructing gender and occupational segregation: A study of women and work in fishing communities. Qualitative Sociology 23 (3): 267–290.
Zhao, Minghua, Marilyn Tyzack, Rodney Anderson, and Estera Onoakpovike. 2013. Women as visible and invisible workers in fisheries: A case study of Northern England. Marine Policy 37: 69–76.
The authors are grateful to all the people who participated in multiple ways over the course of the research discussed in this article. We also wish to thank the editors and reviewers for their constructive comments which helped to improve the paper.
This work was supported by EQUAL, a European Community Initiative Programme (2002-2003) for the“Mudança de Maré” project; Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, FCT) IF/01084/2013/CP1164/CT0001; SFRH/BD/131478/2017; Strategic Project (UID/SOC/50012/2019); the Regional Director for Science and Technology, Regional Secretary for Education and Science, Autonomous Region of the Azores DRCT-FRCT M2.1.2/I/007/2008; M3.2.2/I/020/2011; Iniciativas de Cooperação Bilateral - EEAGrants | Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian #201896.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Kas Sempere is formerly affiliated with UMAR-Açores, Ponta Delgada, Portugal.
About this article
Cite this article
Neilson, A.L., São Marcos, R., Sempere, K. et al. A vision at sea: women in fisheries in the Azores Islands, Portugal. Maritime Studies 18, 385–397 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-019-00155-0
- SS fisheries