Commercial fishing research often focuses on ecological (gear, stock assessment, traceability) or economic factors. Truly understanding the social-ecological system requires considering the entire “human dimension” and this includes the social, cultural, and legal/policy aspects as well. An understudied yet important factor is women’s contribution to fishing at the family and community level. There is a national and international understanding that if we are to understand and develop strategies for coastal resilience, we must take a holistic approach that includes an understanding of the intersection between the dynamics of fisheries management and women’s participation within fishing. This research directly addresses this intersection. The objective of this study was to collect oral history data related to past/current strategies for addressing fishing family and community resilience over time. Literature has documented ways in which limited access and catch share programs affect fishing community resilience and sustainability, but have few data that look at how these management systems may be affecting women’s roles and participation within the industry. This work takes a closer look at the role of women in adapting to this impact and other market- and management-driven changes on the Oregon coast. A qualitative approach was used to identify and document the historical and current changes and related coping strategies occurring in Oregon’s coastal communities. Data were collected, transcribed and analyzed for the Voices from the West Coast Project (VFWC), a collaborative project with Oregon State University (OSU), NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) and Newport Fishermen’s Wives (NFW). The themes developed in this study were meant to be representative of what was important and true to the participants involved in the project. ‘Complexity’ and ‘resilience’ were two of the larger abstract themes created to illustrate the common concerns and actions of women in Oregon’s commercial fishing industry. ‘Connections’ and ‘marriage and family roles’ were more descriptive themes of how women identified themselves within the fishing industry and the types of social networks that evolved out of community connections. Overall, women mentioned changes in their individual roles managing the family business, especially as regulations became more complex and family dynamics changed over time. Individual adaptive strategies were especially common among fishing families that owned quota shares. 

Authors: 
Calhoun, Sarah M.
Short Description: 
The results from this research add to the literature on women’s roles in the US and provide needed attention to their contribution to the well-being, resilience, and adaptive capacity of Oregon’s evolving fishing industry.
Product Number: 
ORESU-Y-15-003
Entry Date: 
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Price: 
NA
Length: 
113 pages
Size and Format: 
8.5 x 11, online
Department/University: 
Marine Resource Management, Oregon State University
Degree: 
Master of Science
Year of Publication: 
2015
How to Order: 

Available online from the National Sea Grant Library