About 200 million people are employed in the fisheries and aquaculture sector worldwide in both the primary and secondary levels – the majority within developing countries and including a large number of women employed mostly in processing activities. Food loss and waste occur in most, if not all, fisheries supply chains. Losses constitute lost income to fishers, processors and traders but they also contribute to food insecurity because a loss of any fish means less fish available for the consumer. In addition, food loss significantly contributes to the increasing environmental cost of food production. For these reasons, reduction of this loss and waste is becoming increasingly more important.
Although progress has been made in identifying the direct causes of fish losses and quantifying the magnitude of the loss, loss reduction strategies have in the past tended to focus on technological solutions and hence have overlooked the relevance of socio-economic factors that influence the functioning of the fisheries value chain.
Gender relations are a primary factor in the social and economic context that shapes the functioning of fisheries value chains at all levels and influence the division of labour, gender roles and responsibilities and create disparities in access to and control over resources, services, knowledge and technologies. Consequently, gender relations impact the food value chain's overall efficiency and food losses (FAO, 2018).
The aim of the paper is to provide background on key issues in order to encourage critical reflection and dialogue amongst researchers, policymakers, development practitioners and other stakeholders in the design and implementation of fish loss studies and interventions, to systematically and more effectively integrate gender equality concerns into their work.