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A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats: Intersectional Analysis Reveals Inequitable Impacts of the Seafood Trade in Fishing Communities

A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats: Intersectional Analysis Reveals Inequitable Impacts of the... fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 1 ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 12 April 2021 doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.625389 A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats: Intersectional Analysis Reveals Inequitable Impacts of the Seafood Trade in Fishing Communities Caroline E. Ferguson* Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States Seafood is the world’s most traded food commodity, and the international trade in Edited by: seafood is promoted as a development strategy in low-income coastal communities Holly J. Niner, across the globe. However, the seafood trade can drive negative social and University of Plymouth, environmental impacts in fishing communities, and whether the benefits of trade United Kingdom actually reach fishers is a subject of ongoing scholarship. Furthermore, scholars and Reviewed by: Madeleine Gustavsson, policymakers have tended to treat fishing communities as homogeneous, assuming Institute for Rural and Regional that trade policies will impact all members equally. Yet individual community members Research (RURALIS), Norway Sarah Lawless, have different roles, statuses, and entitlements according to their intersecting identities, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral meaning that different fishers will be differently impacted by the seafood trade. In Reef Studies, Australia particular, women occupy different positions than men in seafood value chains and in *Correspondence: fishing communities. There are also important within-group differences among men and Caroline E. Ferguson cefergus@stanford.edu among women depending on their nationality, marital status, and other identity markers. Through 205 surveys, 54 interviews, and ethnographic field methods conducted in Specialty section: fifteen rural Palauan fishing communities between November 2019 and March 2020, This article was submitted to Marine Conservation this case study of the sea cucumber trade in Palau brings together theories of gender, and Sustainability, intersectionality, and access to answer the question, “How are the harms and benefits of a section of the journal Frontiers in Marine Science the seafood trade distributed in fishing communities?” In this case, men benefited more Received: 02 November 2020 than women from the export of sea cucumbers by leveraging access to technology; Accepted: 25 February 2021 knowledge; and authority, and the trade depleted resources relied on primarily by Published: 12 April 2021 women for their food security and livelihoods. An intersectional analysis revealed that Citation: marital status and nationality determined access among women, with married women Ferguson CE (2021) A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats: Intersectional having greater access than unmarried women and immigrant women having greater Analysis Reveals Inequitable Impacts access than immigrant men, demonstrating the importance of intersectionality as an of the Seafood Trade in Fishing Communities. analytical tool. Front. Mar. Sci. 8:625389. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.625389 Keywords: seafood trade, gender, small-scale fisheries, equity, intersectionality Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 1 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 2 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade rapid overexploitation of fisheries resources threatens fishers’ INTRODUCTION livelihoods and ways of life in the long-term (Christensen, 2011). As the global seafood trade rapidly expands (Gephart and Pace, Furthermore, the seafood trade does not impact all fishers 2015), the export of high-value fisheries products from coastal equally (Crona et al., 2016). For instance, there is evidence that communities to luxury markets is promoted as a vehicle for men displace women in areas where locally consumed resources poverty alleviation (Barclay et al., 2019). Whether the benefits become commoditized, limiting women’s access to trade benefits of trade actually reach fishers is a subject of ongoing scholarship (Porter et al., 2008; Pinca et al., 2010; Williams, 2015). We (e.g., Béné et al., 2010; Crona et al., 2015; O’Neill et al., 2018), therefore cannot understand the processes that shape relations to and case studies from across the globe show that trade can have the seafood trade without first understanding the identities that harmful impacts on fishing communities and their resources shape fishers’ relations to one another and to marine resources. (e.g., Porter et al., 2008; Campling, 2012; Fabinyi et al., 2018; Gender is a central organizing identity for marine resource Nolan, 2019). Moreover, scholars and policymakers have tended use globally and in the Pacific. In many Pacific island nations, to treat fishing communities as homogenous groups, assuming women are the customary harvesters of sea cucumbers and that policies will affect all fishing community members equally dominate local markets for sea cucumber products (Matthews, (Agrawal et al., 1997; Agrawal and Gibson, 1999, 2001; Allison 1991; Williams, 2015). Using minimal technologies to collect sea and Ellis, 2001). But we know that fishing communities are cucumbers in the nearshore environment at low tide, a fishing diverse across many dimensions, including gender (Harper et al., practice known as “gleaning,” women in the Pacific contribute 2020), ethnicity (Lau and Scales, 2016), power and class (Colwell critically to household food security and income (Weeratunge et al., 2017), religious denomination and place of birth (Rohe et al., 2010; Rohe et al., 2018; De Guzman, 2019). Across et al., 2018), and nationality (Yingst and Skaptadóttir, 2018), the Pacific, women’s harvesting activities, including gleaning, as well as other identity markers, which intersect with one account for approximately 56% of the total catch in small-scale another (Hooks, 1984; Collins, 1986; Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). fisheries (Harper et al., 2013). Fishers’ identities shape their access to marine resources and their Yet women are frequently overlooked in fisheries research interactions with globalized seafood markets (Porter et al., 2008; (Kleiber et al., 2015). As a result, we understand little about how Fabinyi et al., 2018; O’Neill et al., 2018). In this paper, I examine women are impacted by the seafood trade. Recent reviews have whether and how different fishers are impacted differently by the highlighted the need to include gender as a key variable in our seafood trade according to their intersecting identities. understanding of fishing communities and economies, as women The trade in dried sea cucumbers, also known as bêche- participate in—and often dominate—many aspects of the seafood de-mer, epitomizes many of the social and environmental production chain (Bennett, 2005; Williams, 2008; Weeratunge challenges of high-value export fisheries. Driven by the growing et al., 2010; Harper et al., 2013, 2020; Kleiber et al., 2015). In demand for luxury seafood products in China (Fabinyi, 2012; the context of the ever-expanding reach of the global seafood Purcell et al., 2014), cases of “boom-bust” fishery collapse have trade and global commitments to achieving gender equality (UN been documented across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in General Assembly, 2015), it is important to examine not only the a pattern of serial depletion (Anderson et al., 2011; Purcell roles women play in seafood value chains, but also the role of the et al., 2013; Eriksson et al., 2015). There has been rapid global seafood trade in shaping gender inequalities among fishers. geographic expansion to meet increasing demand from China, Critically, gender is not the only—or necessarily the with sea cucumber fisheries serving the Chinese market now principal—identity that shapes fishers’ relations to marine operating within countries cumulatively spanning over 90% resources. In this analysis, I also examine how two locally relevant of the world’s tropical coastlines (Eriksson et al., 2015), identities, nationality and marital status, intersect with gender to with the Western Central Pacific being the most important produce unique relations to the seafood trade in Palau. exporting region (Conand, 2017). Sea cucumbers are highly vulnerable to overfishing due to their slow growth, late Gender and Intersectionality age of maturity, ease of capture, and reproductive strategy The terms “gender” and “sex” mean different things to different (Uthicke et al., 2004). Markets for new and lower-value feminist theorists, and neither is easy or straightforward species, such as Stichopus herrmanni; Bodaschia vitiensis; to characterize. In this paper, I use “gender” to refer to and Holothuria fuscopuntata, are growing as the highest- sociocultural, political, and behavioral attributes that are value species are becoming depleted at an alarming rate typically associated with “men” and “women”—though there (Purcell et al., 2013, 2018). is significant variation and complexity beyond this binary—in The sea cucumber trade may also fail to deliver the contrast to “sex,” which refers to biological attributes such as hoped-for economic development. Sea cucumber fisheries are chromosomes and reproductive organs. Constructions of gender generally characterized by patron-client relationships, defined are neither uniform across societies nor historically static, and by socioeconomic asymmetries (Ferrol-Schulte et al., 2014), they interact with other identity markers, such as ethnicity, which result in disproportionate wealth capture by exporters race, and age, to produce unique positions within the social and other middlemen, particularly for the highest-value species hierarchy (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). It should be noted that (Purcell et al., 2017). Where targeted species are important the dominant binary construction of gender is itself culturally for local consumption and not easily substituted, export contextualized, and many Pacific cultures have customarily can exacerbate food security challenges for poor community recognized gender variance including third gender constructions members by increasing prices (Crona et al., 2016). And the (Presterudstuen, 2019). Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 2 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 3 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade Feminist political ecologists have examined the importance reef and seagrass systems (Golbuu et al., 2005), and its leadership of nature in producing gender and gendered power relations in marine conservation (Gibbens, 2017). The town of Koror is (Gururani, 2002; Harris, 2006; Nightingale, 2006, 2011), arguing the economic center of Palau, where two-thirds of the population that gender and other social identities emerge through “everyday, resides and the majority of commercial activity is located. embodied activities” such as agro-forestry (Nightingale, 2011). Sixty-eight percent of Palau’s 17,661 residents are Palauan Gendered power relations are revealed not only in the division citizens; citizenship is only available to those who can trace of labor and resources between women and men, but also in their lineage to Indigenous Palauan ancestors, meaning the ideas and representations of women and men as having that nationality, indigeneity, and power are closely linked different abilities, attitudes, desires, personality traits, behavior (Palau Const. art. III, 1994). The remaining residents are patterns, etc., often in opposition to one another (Agarwal, 1997). immigrants: the majority of women immigrants (60%) Gendered power relations are constructed through differentiated are from the Philippines, and men immigrants originate relations with the environment, based on gendered work from a diversity of countries including Bangladesh, the patterns, access to and rights over resources, cultural concepts United States, China, Japan, and the Federated States of regarding masculinity and femininity, and belief systems (e.g., Micronesia (Palau Bureau of Planning and Statistics, 2015). Singh and Burra, 1993; Krishna, 1998; Vedavalli and Anil In 1994, Palau regained its sovereign status after enduring Kumar, 1998; Sillitoe, 2003; Gurung and Gurung, 2006; Kelkar, three centuries of colonial rule by Spain, Germany, Japan, 2007). Gender and gendered power relations are thus critical and the United States. Today, Palau maintains a close variables shaping processes of ecological change (Elmhirst and relationship with the United States according to the Resurreccion, 2008), and ecological change, in turn, shapes Compact of Free Association, the treaty that established gendered power relations (Agarwal, 1997; Gururani, 2002; Palau as an independent nation “freely associated” with Nightingale, 2011). the United States. The Compact grants the United States While researchers have tended to examine social inequities military control of Palau in exchange for economic aid to along only a single axis (e.g., gender, nationality, or marital Palau, freedom of Palauan residency in the United States, status), feminist scholars have critiqued single-axis frameworks and the possibility for Palauans to serve in the U.S. military that consider gender in isolation from other social identities (Compact of Free Association, 1994). and have highlighted the value of intersectional approaches that Palauan culture has been fundamentally re-shaped by account for the interdependent nature of identities (Crenshaw, the values of colonizers and renegotiated to meet modern 1989, 1991). Intersectionality is a framework that “promotes an challenges, notably with respect to fisheries management and understanding of human beings as shaped by the interaction gender. Colonial policies created a centralized, democratic of different identity markers (e.g., “race”/ethnicity, indigeneity, governance system that has undermined traditional leaders’ gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, disability/ability, powers, challenging customary natural resource management migration status, religion) [which] occur within a context of practices that once relied on enforcement by local chiefs connected systems and structures of power” (Hankivsky, 2014, (Graham and Idechong, 1998). Meanwhile, the import of highly p. 2). Intersectionality can deepen our understanding of fishers efficient fishing technologies and the marketization of the and fishing communities by revealing how different forms Palauan economy created the means and incentives to overfish of social difference (e.g., gender and nationality, or gender; (Graham and Idechong, 1998). nationality; and marital status) interact to produce unique Colonization also shifted relations between men and women, positions within power structures governing resource access and both through the introduction of Christianity and through the use, moving away from models that assume homogeneity among privileging of Palauan men in positions of power within the fishers, or among women fishers. patriarchal Japanese and American administrations of the islands Researchers have increasingly applied intersectionality within (Wilson, 1995). Though Palauan women still enjoy a relatively the context of natural resources, highlighting the role of high degree of authority within traditional governance systems, natural resource systems in producing and maintaining social they are highly underrepresented in elected positions. differences and power hierarchies (Nightingale, 2006; Valentine, In Palau, the use of marine resources is customarily 2007). Recent studies have examined how gender interacts with gendered, with men “fishing” finfish and women “gleaning” ethnicity (Lau and Scales, 2016), class (Colwell et al., 2017), marine invertebrates, including sea cucumbers. These activities individual decision-making (Kusakabe and Sereyvath, 2014), require different technologies and knowledges. Men typically use religious denomination and place of birth (Rohe et al., 2018), and motorboats and gears such as spearguns and fishing poles to nationality (Yingst and Skaptadóttir, 2018) to shape fishers’ access access their resources. Boys are taught to freedive, including long to and control of marine resources. In this paper, I examine how breath holds, from a young age. Men’s ecological knowledge is the harms and benefits of the seafood trade are distributed among thus associated with reef habitats and deeper waters. Though sea fishers, focusing on gender as it intersects with nationality and cucumbers are found in these waters—in fact, the largest species marital status, in the context of the sea cucumber trade in Palau. are found there—men rarely collect them. Women, on the other hand, typically wade into shallow waters on foot or use man- Sea Cucumber Fishing in Palau powered boats (e.g., kayaks, bamboo rafts) to access nearshore The Republic of Palau comprises more than 340 islands across invertebrates in waters typically less than 1 m deep. Girls typically do not learn to freedive. Women’s ecological knowledge is over 475,000 km , eight of which are inhabited (Figure 1). Palau is renowned for its high marine biodiversity, the health of its coral associated with seagrasses and shallow water habitats. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 3 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 4 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade FIGURE 1 | Map of mainland Palau. Study sites are shown in dark green. This traditional gender division of marine resources explains women’s lack of participation, while gleaning, which remains widespread but is evolving. The norm against women is physically less demanding, is feminized and done primarily fishing is apparently stronger than the norm against men by women. This gendered pattern of marine resource use is not gleaning. In a 2020 nationwide survey, 86% of spearfishers uncommon in the Pacific or other geographies (Kleiber, 2014). in Palau were men and 57% of gleaners were women, with Previous scholarship has found that women’s labor is spatially 72% of sea cucumber gleaners being women (Ferguson constrained by their responsibilities in the home (Gustavsson, and Singeo, unpublished data). Ota (2006) explored the 2020). Indeed, children in Palau often accompany women significance of spearfishing to Palauan masculine identity, while they glean. arguing that fishermen prefer to use tools and techniques that Palauans regularly consume twenty species of sea cucumbers, create physical challenges because it allows them to express 12 of which are valuable for the bêche-de-mer trade (Pakoa et al., particular notions of masculinity. Ota also noted the common 2009; Purcell et al., 2018). Pacific nations including Palau have narrative provided by Palauan fishermen that spearfishing is been producing beˆ che-de-mer for Chinese consumers for over a too difficult for women to practice. The cultural construction century (Conand and Sloan, 1989); however, mounting concerns of spearfishing as being highly masculine at least partially about the social and environmental sustainability of the fishery Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 4 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 5 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade eventually led to a moratorium on the export of sea cucumbers (Figure 1). These small communities are all engaged in gleaning from Palau Marine Protection Act (1994). sea cucumbers for food security and income, particularly but not In 2011, exporters and their Palauan partners circumvented exclusively among women. Ngardmau was the most intensive this moratorium to export cherumrum (Latin: Actinopyga site of harvest for the bêche-de-mer trade and is the site known miliaris, A. mauitania, and A. lecanora; English: hairy blackfish, throughout Palau for the quality and abundance of its sea surf redfish, white-bottomed sea cucumber), as well as other cucumbers. Ngarchelong was intensely engaged in the harvest species illegally (Pakoa et al., 2014). For six months, five foreign for the last month of the trade. Ngchesar, which is physically companies exported unprecedented volumes of sea cucumbers distant from the other states, was largely uninvolved in the from Palau for the bêche-de-mer trade, before national legislation trade, providing perspectives from fishers who rely heavily forced the companies to shutter operations in early 2012 (Pakoa on the resource but who were impacted relatively little by et al., 2014). During those six months, fishers were allowed the trade. At the 2015 census, the total population of these to harvest and sell an unlimited amount of sea cucumbers on three states was 792, including 77 non-Palauan immigrants Mondays and Thursdays, from 6 am to 6 pm (Pakoa et al., (Palau Bureau of Planning and Statistics, 2015). 2014). In just forty-eight total legal fishing days, approximately Access Theory 1,160,392 kg (1,279 tons) of sea cucumbers were landed and sold Access theory is a political ecology approach to understanding at an estimated total value of US$1.3 million (Pakoa et al., 2014). Once national action banned the export of all sea cucumbers, how individual actors “derive benefits from things” (Ribot and Peluso, 2003), with a focus on natural resources as the the exporters left Palau. Sea cucumber harvesting then returned “things”. Ribot and Peluso (2003) placed differential relations to pre-export levels, with most of the collection being done by women for subsistence and small local markets. However, the among actors and the “things” they want to benefit from at the center of their theory. They were informed by the popular environmental impacts of the export period were immediately felt and have proven to be long-lasting: a report produced critique that the common property literature is ahistorical and apolitical (Peters, 1993; Cleaver, 2002; Forsyth and Johnson, by the Palau International Coral Reef Center in April 2012 demonstrated an 88% decline in the target species from pre- 2014). “A Theory of Access” took the notion of access as being associated chiefly with enforceable rights and expanded it to export levels (Golbuu et al., 2012), and recent monitoring indicates further decline in fished areas (Ferguson and Singeo, encompass a broader range of actors, structures, and social relations, including the illicit (Myers and Hansen, 2020). Ribot unpublished data). The ban on exporting sea cucumbers is still in place today. Thus, the special events of 2011 offer an opportunity and Peluso (2003) focused on access as an ability, including but not limited to rights. They identified eight structural and to study how fishers quickly leverage their assets and social relational “access mechanisms” (technology, capital, markets, relations to access seafood trade benefits under new and short- term trade conditions. labor, knowledge, authority, identities, and social relations) in addition to two rights-based mechanisms (legal and illegal access). Survey questions were structured by these mechanisms to understand individual fishers’ abilities to derive benefits from MATERIALS AND METHODS the sea cucumber trade. I used a mixed methods single case study approach over multiple visits to the fifteen study communities between September 2019 Data Collection and March 2020. In total, I spent 3 months in Palau during Survey this period, based in Ollei village in Ngarchelong State. The To be able to make generalizable and quantifiable conclusions, research question, “How were the harms and benefits of the I used a random sampling approach. I stratified the sample sea cucumber trade distributed among fishers in Palau?” was by gender to ensure near-equal representation of women and developed after a 1-year period of preliminary, unstructured men. Survey data collection was done by four Palauan field interviews with Palauan fishers, marine scientists, fisheries assistants, in Palauan and English depending on the preference management professionals, and conservationists from June 2018 of the respondent. Survey respondents were randomly selected to June 2019 based on frequently cited concerns and areas of by knocking on every other door in each study community on research interest. Data were collected by me and five Palauan field weekends and evenings, when people were most likely to be home assistants. Access theory (Ribot and Peluso, 2003) was chosen as and available to respond. In order to capture the greatest possible an analytical frame to identify how individual fishers accessed diversity of respondents, enumerators surveyed as many people the benefits of the sea cucumber trade. In the following sections, within the household as were willing and able. We continued to I justify site selection, provide a brief background on access survey until we reached a sample achieving a 95% confidence theory, followed by a detailed description of each data collection interval with a 10% margin of error. In total, we surveyed method, and a summary of how data were analyzed. More detail 100 women and 105 men, including 11 non-Palauan immigrant is provided in Supplementary Material. women and 19 non-Palauan immigrant men. Recognizing that gender and other identities are socially Site Selection constructed, we asked respondents to self-identify their gender, The fifteen rural villages included in this study represent nationality, marital status, age, level of education, employment every village in Ngardmau, Ngarchelong, and Ngchesar states status, and whether they held a customary title (a locally relevant Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 5 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 6 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade measure of power and status). Although we offered multiple appropriate translators of other languages, so some nuances gender responses, including “transgender,” “non-binary,” and may have been lost. I selected individuals to interview based “other,” 100% of respondents self-identified as “woman” or on their level of experience gleaning, their participation in the “man.” Thus, results are reported in alignment with these bêche-de-mer harvest, their role in management and decision- categories. In addition to these identity questions, the survey making (i.e., state rangers and traditional leaders), and their included questions related to gleaning and local marketing of sea intersecting identities, with the goal of hearing perspectives cucumbers, questions related to participation in the 2011 bêche- from people representing a diversity of social positions. In de-mer trade (e.g., “Did you participate?,” “Which species did you total, I interviewed 26 women and 23 men, including 4 non- target?” with at least 1 question addressing each of the 10 access Palauan immigrant women. Interviews were audio recorded and mechanisms identified by access theory), as well as observations transcribed in English. In the case of interviews conducted in of environmental changes. At the end of each survey, we asked Palauan, I have not used direct quotes due to the imperfect nature respondents whether they would be interested in being contacted of translations. for a follow-up interview. Semi-structured interviews focused in greater detail on fishers’ access mechanisms to sea cucumbers during the 2011 bêche- Interviews de-mer harvest, attitudes toward the bêche-de-mer trade, and To develop a more in-depth understanding of individual ecological knowledge related to local sea cucumber populations. Questions related to the precise details of catch amounts experiences and attitudes, I purposively sampled interview participants from the pool of survey respondents, as well as and prices were generally avoided due to the eight year gap between the event and this investigation. Such details were seven Palauan experts on women’s fisheries. Interviews were thoroughly documented by managers and researchers during conducted by me, with the support of a Palauan field assistant and and shortly after the trade was closed, which were used to translator. Interviews ranged from ten to ninety min and were verify information recalled by fishers (Pakoa et al., 2014; Barr conducted in English or in Palauan, whichever was preferred by the respondent. Most Palauans today are fluent in English, and et al., 2016). Each interview included an opportunity for the participant to ask questions and provide informed consent, some younger Palauans are more comfortable speaking English than Palauan. A limitation of this study is that interviews with following ethical guidelines and approval from the Stanford University Institutional Review Board. non-Palauans were all conducted in English due to a lack of FIGURE 2 | Most fishers who participated in the trade were new entrants, and most new entrants were men. Whether or not a regular gleaner participated in the trade depended on their gender, with men gleaners more likely to participate. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 6 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 7 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade continue harvesting than women gleaners (25%) during the trade, Data Analysis X (1, N = 55) = 5.6, p = 0.0176. Identifying Mechanisms of Access The disproportionate and, according to some, culturally To identify key mechanisms of access, I first coded interview 1 inappropriate role of men in the sea cucumber trade was noted by data deductively in the Dovetail app using the access community members. One middle-aged Palauan woman gleaner theory framework. After coding all interviews, “technology,” in Ngarchelong remembered, “knowledge,” and “authority” arose as the most common and explanatory access mechanisms. I then cross-referenced this “It was the men, not the women. I remember sitting there, asking the finding with survey data, examining how fishers responded to men in our community, “Excuse me, it belongs to the women. Why questions on those access mechanisms. are you encroaching?” It’s about money. It’s not about the people or the culture, it’s really just about money.” Assessing the Distribution of Benefits and Harms To assess the distribution of benefits and harms, I first coded Men justified their participation in the otherwise feminized, interview data deductively in the Dovetail app (see text footnote “easy” practice of sea cucumber harvesting by referencing 1) using the intersectionality framework. After coding all the financial rewards. A middle-aged Palauan fisherman in interviews, gender, marital status, and nationality arose as the Ngarchelong explained, most explanatory identities. I then used survey respondents’ self- “It’s easy fishing, that’s why only women do it. But during that time, identified identity markers (e.g., woman, Palauan, 40–45 years the buyer is here with a sack of money, then we ain’t waiting for our old, married, no title, etc.) to assess which actors had the ability women, yeah? We got to go help them, get out the boat, you know? to leverage key mechanisms of access during the trade, using So, it was a different thing: : :. It was just money waiting.” Pearson chi-square tests for independence. Significance level was set at p < 0.05. While gender was highly explanatory of which fishers Finally, to understand the distribution of harms, I asked participated in the trade, nationality was even more deterministic. survey respondents about changes in local sea cucumber 100% of people who reported participating in the trade populations since the trade. I also coded interviews for any (N = 61) were Palauan; none of the non-Palauans in the sample reference to “environmental harm.” This included references (N = 21), including the subset (N = 4) who glean under normal to resource degradation, difficulty finding sea cucumbers, and conditions, participated. Reasons for not participating varied associated challenges obtaining food and income from gleaning. among individuals in this group, and I was not able to interview all of them. Two Filipina women reported that they were working full-time in 2011 and unable to take time off to collect; it is likely RESULTS that similar restrictions imposed by work visas applied to some other immigrants. Distribution of Access to the Benefits of Trade Mechanisms of Access The sea cucumber fishery transformed swiftly during the export Access to Technology: Motorboats period from a low-tech, low volume gleaning activity done Motorboats proved to be a critical technology for accessing primarily by Palauan and immigrant women to a capital- and storing large volumes of sea cucumbers during the export intensive, high volume activity dominated by Palauan men. period. Because gleaners do not typically collect in waters I use “gleaner” to describe the harvesters using traditional deeper than about a meter (3.28 feet), harvesters explained gleaning methods and “fisher” to describe the harvesters using that deeper water populations of all species, further from these “new” methods normally reserved for harvesting finfish. shore, tended to be more abundant and home to larger I use “harvester” generically to refer to people harvesting sea individuals. Motorboats enabled access to these populations. cucumbers using any method. Furthermore, harvesters without motorboats were more limited Men largely displaced women in the trade. Under normal in how many sea cucumbers they could collect before returning (i.e., non-trade) conditions, women in the study communities to the port with full buckets. Only those harvesters with participate in sea cucumber gleaning at a significantly higher rate access to motorboats were able to store sea cucumbers than men, representing 58% of gleaners, X (1, N = 206) = 6.0, in large volumes. p = 0.0140. However, during the export period in 2011, women A middle-aged fisherman from Ngarchelong described the represented only 38% of harvesters, participating significantly less 2 spectacle of fishing boats at Ngerkeklau, an island 2.7 km than men X (1, N = 206) = 4.1, p = 0.0423. (1.7 miles) from the village, known for its abundance of sea Most of the harvesters (66%) who participated in the trade cucumbers. He remembered with excitement, “The place looked (N = 61) were new entrants to the sea cucumber fishery, like this new city, new village over there. Really! More than 40 not gleaners who utilize sea cucumber resources under normal lights every night,” referring to the lights of boats. The distance conditions (Figure 2). 63% of these new harvesters (N = 40) were to Ngerkeklau and other unfished sites was too great to swim or men. Men gleaners were also significantly more likely (57%) to paddle, meaning fishers without motorboats were harvesting in Dovetailapp.com already exploited areas. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 7 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 8 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade FIGURE 3 | Marital status determines access to boats for women but not for men. Among those who did not own boats, men reported Access to Knowledge: Freediving, Gendered significantly higher access to motorboats than women, with 81% Ecological Knowledge, and Night Fishing of men and 69% of women in the sample reporting that they Knowledge of both freediving as a practice and of the deeper had access to a motorboat, X (1, N = 205) = 4.1, p = 0.0438. water habitats associated with this practice placed Palauan men When asked whose motorboat a respondent had access to, 96% of in a better position to capitalize on the sea cucumber trade gendered responses (N = 83) were male (e.g., brother, husband, than other harvesters. A middle-aged Palauan fisherman from male friend), indicating that the vast majority of those who Ngarchelong explained, control access to motorboats are men. “The guys that made the big bucks were the real fishermen. You Both nationality and marital status profoundly shaped which know, they can stay down there ten minutes, they have like ten women had close relations to Palauan men and thus had buckets. They’re faster and have more air to stay down and collect, access to motorboats. collect.” Among women in the sample who did not own boats, married women had significantly more access to motorboats than As a result of the gender division of marine resource unmarried women, X (1, N = 63) = 7.3, p = 0.0071 (Figure 3). use in Palau, marine ecological knowledge is gendered. Sea Meanwhile, among men in the sample, marital status had no cucumber gleaners—primarily Palauan women—are the most significant effect on motorboat access, X (1, N = 69) = 1.9, knowledgeable about nearshore sea cucumber habitats and p = 0.1632. behaviors and thus might have been best positioned to capitalize Among Palauans in the sample who did not own boats on the sea cucumber trade. However, harvesting in these (N = 124), 66% reported having access to one; among immigrants nearshore areas proved less efficient than harvesting in the deeper (N = 20), fewer than half (45%) reported having access. Among waters where spearfishers—primarily Palauan men—had more non-Palauans, women actually had more access to motorboats applicable ecological knowledge. than men, representing 56% of those with access (Figure 4). All Though sea cucumbers are not their target species, fishermen’s of these women (N = 5) were married to Palauan men. However, extensive ecological knowledge of deeper water areas includes an the sample size of immigrants with access to motorboats was awareness of sea cucumber habitats and behaviors that could be small, and the difference between immigrant men and immigrant called upon when it became profitable. For example, bakelungal women was not statistically significant. (Latin: Holothuria fuscogilva and H. whitmaei; English: white Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 8 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 9 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade FIGURE 4 | Gender operates differently depending on a harvester’s nationality, with immigrant women having greater access to boats than immigrant men. teatfish and black teatfish), the largest and highest-value species participants in the study and is widely known by gleaners. for bêche-de-mer in Palau, is found only in deeper waters, where However, nighttime fishing is not practiced by gleaners under typically only Palauan men fish. An elder Palauan fisherwoman normal conditions, who prefer to collect in the early morning, and expert explained, “The men dive when they go fishing, so when “the sea cucumber hasn’t eaten yet so the intestines they know where to collect bakelungal. The women don’t collect are clean,” according to an elder fisherwoman and expert. But those.” A middle-aged Palauan fisherman from Ngarchelong because sea cucumbers are processed differently (i.e., smoked echoed this claim, “We [men] know where to find [bakelungal] and dried) for bêche-de-mer, the cleanliness of the intestines was from spearfishing and also net fishing.” not a relevant quality criterion for the trade. An elder Palauan Ecological knowledge of Palauan marine environments is not woman chief from Ngarchelong commented on the unusual and only gendered but is also associated with being Palauan. A Yapese gendered nature of nighttime fishing for sea cucumbers, stating, immigrant woman married to a Palauan man explained that sea “These people collected during nighttime. The [sea cucumber] cucumbers are not eaten in Yap and that she learned to glean them comes out at night. And women don’t dive at night: : : it was a from her husband’s family when she moved to Palau. She said very different way of collecting.” that, because she had not grown-up gleaning sea cucumbers, she had less knowledge of the animals and their habitats than Palauan Access to Authority: State Rangers women. To the extent that she does have ecological knowledge State rangers are responsible for enforcing fisheries regulations of sea cucumbers, she attributes it in large part to her marriage within state waters in Palau. State rangers are overwhelmingly to a Palauan man. Palauan men. Eighty percentage of those in the study who Knowledge of nighttime fishing also proved advantageous and had ever served as a state ranger (N = 20) were men and is also gendered in Palau. A middle-aged Palauan fisherman from 100% were Palauan. Ngarchelong explained the advantage of night fishing thusly, Palauan law required that exporting companies have a Palauan “You know, at night [the sea cucumbers] come out. So it’s much business partner to obtain a license, and all five exporting easier. And once the tide gets lower, they’re just right there. companies partnered with state rangers in this capacity. These You’re just walking, picking them up. Quick, quick money.” partners were compensated with percentages of profits, with This nighttime behavior of sea cucumbers was noted by several one ranger estimating he received over US$50,000 from the Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 9 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 10 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade partnership (for comparison, the median annual income in rural exacerbate local power inequities. Fishers’ intersecting identities areas in Palau is around US$12,870, Palau Office of Planning shaped how the benefits and harms of the sea cucumber and Statistics, 2014). As business partners, these rangers gained trade were distributed among them in Palau. Palauan men early access to the market, weeks or even months before other benefited most while Palauan and immigrant women bear a fishers knew of the buyers’ presence. One ranger, a Palauan disproportionate share of the short- and long-term harms. fisherman from Ngardmau who partnered with one of the This result is surprising in light of the feminized nature of companies, explained that, “Actually, the harvest was [going on sea cucumber harvesting in Palau and represents a case of for] more than a year,” with fishers who knew of the buyers’ masculinization, in which women were largely displaced by presence collecting illegally for the first 6 months. Another men in the harvesting of their customary resources when Palauan fisherman, who was a state ranger in Ngarchelong at the those resources became more profitable. Masculinization has time, reported that he kept the buyers’ presence a secret initially been documented under similar circumstances in the octopus because, in his determination, prices were too low, trade in Tanzania (Porter et al., 2008) and invertebrate fisheries in the Pacific (Pinca et al., 2010; Williams, 2015). “I [was] the first one who went to collect. But I never told anybody Today, the burden of resource degradation associated with the because I wanted to see if they’re really buying at a good price: : : trade is borne primarily by women. It is thus critical that But they were buying really cheap. Ten cents per [sea] cucumber. seafood trade policies consider local power dynamics, evaluate So, I went one time, I deliver, and then I see it’s not worth it. I’m possible unintended consequences, and ensure that benefits already killing my resources, my water, I’m killing it: : : So, I told them off. Okay, either you raise the price or I’m going to stop. So, I are distributed equitably in fishing communities, while also stopped and then they went to the other [state rangers].” managing environmental impacts that may affect less powerful fishers disproportionately. In their capacity as state rangers, a highly gendered position of While gender explains much of the difference in how authority restricted to Palauans, a small number of Palauan men harvesters interacted with the sea cucumber trade, results benefited especially greatly from the trade. highlight the relevance of intersectionality as an analytical tool (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). In particular, marital status and Distribution of the Harms of Trade nationality both shaped which men and which women benefited. After 6 months, legislation at the national level ended the legal Married women benefited more than unmarried women, Palauan harvest of sea cucumbers for export to the bêche-de-mer trade. women benefited more than non-Palauan women, and non- Fishing quickly returned to normal conditions, with primarily Palauan men benefited least of everyone, undermining a women (58%) gleaning sea cucumbers using low-tech practices. simplistic interpretation of outcomes based on gender alone. An elder Palauan fisherman in Ngarchelong commented that he The literature on women in fisheries tends to conceptualize no longer collects since the exporters left because prices are too women as either being deprived of agency or having full low and because he considers gleaning to be women’s work. agency (Gustavsson, 2020). However, this case demonstrates Predictably, severe decline in sea cucumber populations that women (and men) have limited agency within a given resulted from the trade. When asked how sea cucumber historical, spatial, and political context. In this case, less powerful populations have changed in the past 10 years, 73% of actors leveraged their relationships with more powerful and survey respondents (N = 161) reported a decline since resourced actors to access trade benefits; for example, married 2009. Fishers and gleaners connected this decline directly women gained access to motorboats through their husbands. to the bêche-de-mer harvest. An elder fisherwoman from Such nuances in the distribution of benefits would have been Ngardmau said the export harvest, “totally wiped them out, and masked by an analysis that narrowly focused on gender and fast.” therefore highlights the importance of intersectional analysis For gleaners, the decline in sea cucumbers is experienced in small-scale fisheries contexts (e.g., Kusakabe and Sereyvath, as a decrease in their catch per unit effort. Nearly every 2014; Lau and Scales, 2016; Colwell et al., 2017; Lokuge and active gleaner in the study commented on the decline in sea Hilhorst, 2017; Rohe et al., 2018; Yingst and Skaptadóttir, cucumbers, and a few former gleaners shared that they had 2018; Gustavsson, 2020). Furthermore, while many women in stopped gleaning altogether because of the difficulty finding Palau may have accrued indirect financial benefits from their sea cucumbers. One elder Palauan woman and former gleaner men family members’ earnings from the sea cucumber trade, from Ngardmau complained, “Nowadays, it’s too much walking such indirect benefits do not yield the same advancements in around and looking.” As a result of resource degradation from gender equality (U.N. Women., 2018), economic development the trade, gleaners—mostly Palauan and immigrant women— and resilience (IMF., 2018), freedom from domestic violence must work harder for longer to collect the same number of sea (Conner, 2013), and political participation (Bari, 2005). In order cucumbers as before the trade, resulting is less food and income to achieve global commitments to gender equality (UN General for the same effort. Assembly, 2015), it remains crucial that women enjoy individual economic empowerment within their households and in their communities. By definition, women’s economic empowerment DISCUSSION “includes women’s ability to participate equally in existing This empirical case study demonstrates that the seafood trade markets; their access to and control over productive resources: : :” does not impact all fishers equally and can serve to reinforce or (U.N. Women., 2018). It is thus critical that trade policies account Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 10 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 11 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade not only for benefits flowing to households but also to individuals, unintended exclusion of the most vulnerable groups and risks with consideration not only of their gender but also of their entrenching inequities in fishing communities. intersecting identities. Small-scale fisheries around the globe are increasingly subject The harms of the trade were distributed in almost the opposite to global market forces that can have severe short- and long- pattern of benefits. The majority of Palauan fishermen, who term impacts on fishing communities and their resources. benefited most from the trade, only collected sea cucumbers in While increased connectivity through trade has the potential to 2011, when exporters were paying very high prices, and do not deliver economic development, it also poses sustainability and collect anymore. They are therefore quite unimpacted by the equity challenges. This case provides one of many examples decline in the fishery associated with overexploitation during the of resource degradation resulting from the seafood trade export period. Meanwhile, the women gleaners who benefited (Crona et al., 2015)—an issue that is particularly common in relatively little from the trade or—in the case of immigrant sea cucumber fisheries (Anderson et al., 2011; Purcell et al., women—not at all must work harder and longer to collect even a 2013)—and expands our understanding of the longer-term fraction as many sea cucumbers as before the export period. This impacts of resource degradation on the (re)production of social has direct impacts on their livelihoods, food security, cultural inequities. Policymakers and community-level decision-makers identity, and well-being (Grantham et al., 2020). should therefore adopt a precautionary and inclusive approach This case provides further support for the argument of when addressing new market opportunities for locally utilized feminist political ecologists that gendered power relations marine resources. are constructed through relations with the environment (e.g., It is critically important to increase understanding and Agarwal, 1997; Gururani, 2002; Elmhirst and Resurreccion, consideration of how the intersecting identities of actors in 2008; Nightingale, 2011). In Palau, the preexisting gender fisheries, aquaculture, and other socio-ecological systems shape division in access to and use of marine resources, with their access to and use of resources, and how resource women primarily gleaning using minimal technologies and men degradation in turn may serve to entrench inequities. Paying primarily freediving for reef fish using motorboats, set the stage attention to resource users’ intersecting identities has profound for the sudden masculinization of the sea cucumber fishery upon implications for designing processes and policies that promote the arrival of exporters. Furthermore, the inequitable distribution equity in socio-ecological systems across the globe. of trade benefits and harms between women and men served to reinforce gendered power dynamics. Results also indicate that power hierarchies based not only on gender but also on DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT intersecting identities are critical determinants of how actors interact with the environment and how resource degradation, in The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be turn, shapes local power dynamics. made available by the authors, without undue reservation. Nightingale (2011) argues that social inequalities are constantly shifting yet surprisingly resilient to major reconfigurations. In this case, the opening of the sea cucumber fishery to exporters was a monumental shift in how the fishery ETHICS STATEMENT operated, presenting an opportunity for an unsettling and restructuring of local power hierarchies. Given the feminized The studies involving human participants were reviewed and nature of sea cucumber harvesting in Palau, one might have approved by the Stanford University Institutional Review predicted that opening the trade would create an opportunity Board. The patients/participants provided their written informed for women’s economic empowerment and the advancement consent to participate in this study. of gender equality. Yet preexisting power hierarchies appear to have been further entrenched, rather than challenged, by the sea cucumber trade. This resilience of social inequalities in fishing communities and the configurations of fisheries AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS management and practices that disrupt or entrench them warrants further study. CF was the sole author of this manuscript. CF developed the research question and protocol, conducted data collection and analysis, and wrote the manuscript. CONCLUSION Fishing communities are not homogeneous, and fisheries policies do not impact all fishing community members equally. Fisheries FUNDING policies and development strategy should carefully account for and include in decision-making a diversity of actors across This research was generously funded by the Stanford VPGE intersecting lines of identity to assess and anticipate possible Diversity Dissertation Research Opportunity, E-IPER Summer unintended consequences. This case study demonstrates that Research Grant, and McGee-Levorsen Grant from the Stanford a failure to account for these intersections can lead to the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 11 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 12 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade of Ebiil Society advised on the cultural appropriateness of ACKNOWLEDGMENTS survey and interview questions, provided translations, acted This study would not have been possible without the support as field assistants, and facilitated the relationship building in and hard work of Ann Singeo, Surech Bells, John Chilton, communities that enabled these data to be collected. Finally, Ladrick Ngedebuu, Amber Sky Skiwo, and Raegeen Tadao. my gratitude to the fishers and gleaners who participated in Thank you also to Fiorenza Micheli, William Durham, Bob this study, welcomed me into their communities, and shared Richmond, and Kevin Arrigo, who advised on this project their knowledge. from its earliest stages. I am indebted to Autumn Bordner for her assistance with the figures and to Josheena Naggea for early and insightful reviews of this article. Thank you SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL also to the reviewers, whose comments greatly improved the article. This study was done under the advisement of the The Supplementary Material for this article can be found Palauan NGO, Ebiil Society, and in conjunction with our online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars. ongoing collaborative research efforts. Leaders and members 2021.625389/full#supplementary-material of a seasonal fishing ban in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry, India. 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Ltd.), 96–106. absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a Weeratunge, N., Snyder, K. A., and Choo, P. S. (2010). Gleaner, fisher, trader, potential conflict of interest. processor: understanding gendered employment in fisheries and aquaculture. Fish Isheries 11, 405–420. doi: 10.1111/j.1467- 2979.2010.00368.x Copyright © 2021 Ferguson. This is an open-access article distributed under Williams, M. J. (2008). Why look at fisheries through a gender lens? Development the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, 51, 180–185. doi: 10.1057/dev.2008.2 distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original Williams, M. J. (2015). Pacific invertebrate fisheries and gender–Key results from author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication PROCFish. SPC Women Fisheries Inf. Bull. 26, 12–16. in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No Wilson, L. B. (1995). Speaking to power: Gender and politics in the Western Pacific. use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press. these terms. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 14 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers in Marine Science Unpaywall

A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats: Intersectional Analysis Reveals Inequitable Impacts of the Seafood Trade in Fishing Communities

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fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 1 ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 12 April 2021 doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.625389 A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats: Intersectional Analysis Reveals Inequitable Impacts of the Seafood Trade in Fishing Communities Caroline E. Ferguson* Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States Seafood is the world’s most traded food commodity, and the international trade in Edited by: seafood is promoted as a development strategy in low-income coastal communities Holly J. Niner, across the globe. However, the seafood trade can drive negative social and University of Plymouth, environmental impacts in fishing communities, and whether the benefits of trade United Kingdom actually reach fishers is a subject of ongoing scholarship. Furthermore, scholars and Reviewed by: Madeleine Gustavsson, policymakers have tended to treat fishing communities as homogeneous, assuming Institute for Rural and Regional that trade policies will impact all members equally. Yet individual community members Research (RURALIS), Norway Sarah Lawless, have different roles, statuses, and entitlements according to their intersecting identities, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral meaning that different fishers will be differently impacted by the seafood trade. In Reef Studies, Australia particular, women occupy different positions than men in seafood value chains and in *Correspondence: fishing communities. There are also important within-group differences among men and Caroline E. Ferguson cefergus@stanford.edu among women depending on their nationality, marital status, and other identity markers. Through 205 surveys, 54 interviews, and ethnographic field methods conducted in Specialty section: fifteen rural Palauan fishing communities between November 2019 and March 2020, This article was submitted to Marine Conservation this case study of the sea cucumber trade in Palau brings together theories of gender, and Sustainability, intersectionality, and access to answer the question, “How are the harms and benefits of a section of the journal Frontiers in Marine Science the seafood trade distributed in fishing communities?” In this case, men benefited more Received: 02 November 2020 than women from the export of sea cucumbers by leveraging access to technology; Accepted: 25 February 2021 knowledge; and authority, and the trade depleted resources relied on primarily by Published: 12 April 2021 women for their food security and livelihoods. An intersectional analysis revealed that Citation: marital status and nationality determined access among women, with married women Ferguson CE (2021) A Rising Tide Does Not Lift All Boats: Intersectional having greater access than unmarried women and immigrant women having greater Analysis Reveals Inequitable Impacts access than immigrant men, demonstrating the importance of intersectionality as an of the Seafood Trade in Fishing Communities. analytical tool. Front. Mar. Sci. 8:625389. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.625389 Keywords: seafood trade, gender, small-scale fisheries, equity, intersectionality Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 1 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 2 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade rapid overexploitation of fisheries resources threatens fishers’ INTRODUCTION livelihoods and ways of life in the long-term (Christensen, 2011). As the global seafood trade rapidly expands (Gephart and Pace, Furthermore, the seafood trade does not impact all fishers 2015), the export of high-value fisheries products from coastal equally (Crona et al., 2016). For instance, there is evidence that communities to luxury markets is promoted as a vehicle for men displace women in areas where locally consumed resources poverty alleviation (Barclay et al., 2019). Whether the benefits become commoditized, limiting women’s access to trade benefits of trade actually reach fishers is a subject of ongoing scholarship (Porter et al., 2008; Pinca et al., 2010; Williams, 2015). We (e.g., Béné et al., 2010; Crona et al., 2015; O’Neill et al., 2018), therefore cannot understand the processes that shape relations to and case studies from across the globe show that trade can have the seafood trade without first understanding the identities that harmful impacts on fishing communities and their resources shape fishers’ relations to one another and to marine resources. (e.g., Porter et al., 2008; Campling, 2012; Fabinyi et al., 2018; Gender is a central organizing identity for marine resource Nolan, 2019). Moreover, scholars and policymakers have tended use globally and in the Pacific. In many Pacific island nations, to treat fishing communities as homogenous groups, assuming women are the customary harvesters of sea cucumbers and that policies will affect all fishing community members equally dominate local markets for sea cucumber products (Matthews, (Agrawal et al., 1997; Agrawal and Gibson, 1999, 2001; Allison 1991; Williams, 2015). Using minimal technologies to collect sea and Ellis, 2001). But we know that fishing communities are cucumbers in the nearshore environment at low tide, a fishing diverse across many dimensions, including gender (Harper et al., practice known as “gleaning,” women in the Pacific contribute 2020), ethnicity (Lau and Scales, 2016), power and class (Colwell critically to household food security and income (Weeratunge et al., 2017), religious denomination and place of birth (Rohe et al., 2010; Rohe et al., 2018; De Guzman, 2019). Across et al., 2018), and nationality (Yingst and Skaptadóttir, 2018), the Pacific, women’s harvesting activities, including gleaning, as well as other identity markers, which intersect with one account for approximately 56% of the total catch in small-scale another (Hooks, 1984; Collins, 1986; Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). fisheries (Harper et al., 2013). Fishers’ identities shape their access to marine resources and their Yet women are frequently overlooked in fisheries research interactions with globalized seafood markets (Porter et al., 2008; (Kleiber et al., 2015). As a result, we understand little about how Fabinyi et al., 2018; O’Neill et al., 2018). In this paper, I examine women are impacted by the seafood trade. Recent reviews have whether and how different fishers are impacted differently by the highlighted the need to include gender as a key variable in our seafood trade according to their intersecting identities. understanding of fishing communities and economies, as women The trade in dried sea cucumbers, also known as bêche- participate in—and often dominate—many aspects of the seafood de-mer, epitomizes many of the social and environmental production chain (Bennett, 2005; Williams, 2008; Weeratunge challenges of high-value export fisheries. Driven by the growing et al., 2010; Harper et al., 2013, 2020; Kleiber et al., 2015). In demand for luxury seafood products in China (Fabinyi, 2012; the context of the ever-expanding reach of the global seafood Purcell et al., 2014), cases of “boom-bust” fishery collapse have trade and global commitments to achieving gender equality (UN been documented across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in General Assembly, 2015), it is important to examine not only the a pattern of serial depletion (Anderson et al., 2011; Purcell roles women play in seafood value chains, but also the role of the et al., 2013; Eriksson et al., 2015). There has been rapid global seafood trade in shaping gender inequalities among fishers. geographic expansion to meet increasing demand from China, Critically, gender is not the only—or necessarily the with sea cucumber fisheries serving the Chinese market now principal—identity that shapes fishers’ relations to marine operating within countries cumulatively spanning over 90% resources. In this analysis, I also examine how two locally relevant of the world’s tropical coastlines (Eriksson et al., 2015), identities, nationality and marital status, intersect with gender to with the Western Central Pacific being the most important produce unique relations to the seafood trade in Palau. exporting region (Conand, 2017). Sea cucumbers are highly vulnerable to overfishing due to their slow growth, late Gender and Intersectionality age of maturity, ease of capture, and reproductive strategy The terms “gender” and “sex” mean different things to different (Uthicke et al., 2004). Markets for new and lower-value feminist theorists, and neither is easy or straightforward species, such as Stichopus herrmanni; Bodaschia vitiensis; to characterize. In this paper, I use “gender” to refer to and Holothuria fuscopuntata, are growing as the highest- sociocultural, political, and behavioral attributes that are value species are becoming depleted at an alarming rate typically associated with “men” and “women”—though there (Purcell et al., 2013, 2018). is significant variation and complexity beyond this binary—in The sea cucumber trade may also fail to deliver the contrast to “sex,” which refers to biological attributes such as hoped-for economic development. Sea cucumber fisheries are chromosomes and reproductive organs. Constructions of gender generally characterized by patron-client relationships, defined are neither uniform across societies nor historically static, and by socioeconomic asymmetries (Ferrol-Schulte et al., 2014), they interact with other identity markers, such as ethnicity, which result in disproportionate wealth capture by exporters race, and age, to produce unique positions within the social and other middlemen, particularly for the highest-value species hierarchy (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). It should be noted that (Purcell et al., 2017). Where targeted species are important the dominant binary construction of gender is itself culturally for local consumption and not easily substituted, export contextualized, and many Pacific cultures have customarily can exacerbate food security challenges for poor community recognized gender variance including third gender constructions members by increasing prices (Crona et al., 2016). And the (Presterudstuen, 2019). Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 2 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 3 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade Feminist political ecologists have examined the importance reef and seagrass systems (Golbuu et al., 2005), and its leadership of nature in producing gender and gendered power relations in marine conservation (Gibbens, 2017). The town of Koror is (Gururani, 2002; Harris, 2006; Nightingale, 2006, 2011), arguing the economic center of Palau, where two-thirds of the population that gender and other social identities emerge through “everyday, resides and the majority of commercial activity is located. embodied activities” such as agro-forestry (Nightingale, 2011). Sixty-eight percent of Palau’s 17,661 residents are Palauan Gendered power relations are revealed not only in the division citizens; citizenship is only available to those who can trace of labor and resources between women and men, but also in their lineage to Indigenous Palauan ancestors, meaning the ideas and representations of women and men as having that nationality, indigeneity, and power are closely linked different abilities, attitudes, desires, personality traits, behavior (Palau Const. art. III, 1994). The remaining residents are patterns, etc., often in opposition to one another (Agarwal, 1997). immigrants: the majority of women immigrants (60%) Gendered power relations are constructed through differentiated are from the Philippines, and men immigrants originate relations with the environment, based on gendered work from a diversity of countries including Bangladesh, the patterns, access to and rights over resources, cultural concepts United States, China, Japan, and the Federated States of regarding masculinity and femininity, and belief systems (e.g., Micronesia (Palau Bureau of Planning and Statistics, 2015). Singh and Burra, 1993; Krishna, 1998; Vedavalli and Anil In 1994, Palau regained its sovereign status after enduring Kumar, 1998; Sillitoe, 2003; Gurung and Gurung, 2006; Kelkar, three centuries of colonial rule by Spain, Germany, Japan, 2007). Gender and gendered power relations are thus critical and the United States. Today, Palau maintains a close variables shaping processes of ecological change (Elmhirst and relationship with the United States according to the Resurreccion, 2008), and ecological change, in turn, shapes Compact of Free Association, the treaty that established gendered power relations (Agarwal, 1997; Gururani, 2002; Palau as an independent nation “freely associated” with Nightingale, 2011). the United States. The Compact grants the United States While researchers have tended to examine social inequities military control of Palau in exchange for economic aid to along only a single axis (e.g., gender, nationality, or marital Palau, freedom of Palauan residency in the United States, status), feminist scholars have critiqued single-axis frameworks and the possibility for Palauans to serve in the U.S. military that consider gender in isolation from other social identities (Compact of Free Association, 1994). and have highlighted the value of intersectional approaches that Palauan culture has been fundamentally re-shaped by account for the interdependent nature of identities (Crenshaw, the values of colonizers and renegotiated to meet modern 1989, 1991). Intersectionality is a framework that “promotes an challenges, notably with respect to fisheries management and understanding of human beings as shaped by the interaction gender. Colonial policies created a centralized, democratic of different identity markers (e.g., “race”/ethnicity, indigeneity, governance system that has undermined traditional leaders’ gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, disability/ability, powers, challenging customary natural resource management migration status, religion) [which] occur within a context of practices that once relied on enforcement by local chiefs connected systems and structures of power” (Hankivsky, 2014, (Graham and Idechong, 1998). Meanwhile, the import of highly p. 2). Intersectionality can deepen our understanding of fishers efficient fishing technologies and the marketization of the and fishing communities by revealing how different forms Palauan economy created the means and incentives to overfish of social difference (e.g., gender and nationality, or gender; (Graham and Idechong, 1998). nationality; and marital status) interact to produce unique Colonization also shifted relations between men and women, positions within power structures governing resource access and both through the introduction of Christianity and through the use, moving away from models that assume homogeneity among privileging of Palauan men in positions of power within the fishers, or among women fishers. patriarchal Japanese and American administrations of the islands Researchers have increasingly applied intersectionality within (Wilson, 1995). Though Palauan women still enjoy a relatively the context of natural resources, highlighting the role of high degree of authority within traditional governance systems, natural resource systems in producing and maintaining social they are highly underrepresented in elected positions. differences and power hierarchies (Nightingale, 2006; Valentine, In Palau, the use of marine resources is customarily 2007). Recent studies have examined how gender interacts with gendered, with men “fishing” finfish and women “gleaning” ethnicity (Lau and Scales, 2016), class (Colwell et al., 2017), marine invertebrates, including sea cucumbers. These activities individual decision-making (Kusakabe and Sereyvath, 2014), require different technologies and knowledges. Men typically use religious denomination and place of birth (Rohe et al., 2018), and motorboats and gears such as spearguns and fishing poles to nationality (Yingst and Skaptadóttir, 2018) to shape fishers’ access access their resources. Boys are taught to freedive, including long to and control of marine resources. In this paper, I examine how breath holds, from a young age. Men’s ecological knowledge is the harms and benefits of the seafood trade are distributed among thus associated with reef habitats and deeper waters. Though sea fishers, focusing on gender as it intersects with nationality and cucumbers are found in these waters—in fact, the largest species marital status, in the context of the sea cucumber trade in Palau. are found there—men rarely collect them. Women, on the other hand, typically wade into shallow waters on foot or use man- Sea Cucumber Fishing in Palau powered boats (e.g., kayaks, bamboo rafts) to access nearshore The Republic of Palau comprises more than 340 islands across invertebrates in waters typically less than 1 m deep. Girls typically do not learn to freedive. Women’s ecological knowledge is over 475,000 km , eight of which are inhabited (Figure 1). Palau is renowned for its high marine biodiversity, the health of its coral associated with seagrasses and shallow water habitats. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 3 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 4 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade FIGURE 1 | Map of mainland Palau. Study sites are shown in dark green. This traditional gender division of marine resources explains women’s lack of participation, while gleaning, which remains widespread but is evolving. The norm against women is physically less demanding, is feminized and done primarily fishing is apparently stronger than the norm against men by women. This gendered pattern of marine resource use is not gleaning. In a 2020 nationwide survey, 86% of spearfishers uncommon in the Pacific or other geographies (Kleiber, 2014). in Palau were men and 57% of gleaners were women, with Previous scholarship has found that women’s labor is spatially 72% of sea cucumber gleaners being women (Ferguson constrained by their responsibilities in the home (Gustavsson, and Singeo, unpublished data). Ota (2006) explored the 2020). Indeed, children in Palau often accompany women significance of spearfishing to Palauan masculine identity, while they glean. arguing that fishermen prefer to use tools and techniques that Palauans regularly consume twenty species of sea cucumbers, create physical challenges because it allows them to express 12 of which are valuable for the bêche-de-mer trade (Pakoa et al., particular notions of masculinity. Ota also noted the common 2009; Purcell et al., 2018). Pacific nations including Palau have narrative provided by Palauan fishermen that spearfishing is been producing beˆ che-de-mer for Chinese consumers for over a too difficult for women to practice. The cultural construction century (Conand and Sloan, 1989); however, mounting concerns of spearfishing as being highly masculine at least partially about the social and environmental sustainability of the fishery Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 4 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 5 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade eventually led to a moratorium on the export of sea cucumbers (Figure 1). These small communities are all engaged in gleaning from Palau Marine Protection Act (1994). sea cucumbers for food security and income, particularly but not In 2011, exporters and their Palauan partners circumvented exclusively among women. Ngardmau was the most intensive this moratorium to export cherumrum (Latin: Actinopyga site of harvest for the bêche-de-mer trade and is the site known miliaris, A. mauitania, and A. lecanora; English: hairy blackfish, throughout Palau for the quality and abundance of its sea surf redfish, white-bottomed sea cucumber), as well as other cucumbers. Ngarchelong was intensely engaged in the harvest species illegally (Pakoa et al., 2014). For six months, five foreign for the last month of the trade. Ngchesar, which is physically companies exported unprecedented volumes of sea cucumbers distant from the other states, was largely uninvolved in the from Palau for the bêche-de-mer trade, before national legislation trade, providing perspectives from fishers who rely heavily forced the companies to shutter operations in early 2012 (Pakoa on the resource but who were impacted relatively little by et al., 2014). During those six months, fishers were allowed the trade. At the 2015 census, the total population of these to harvest and sell an unlimited amount of sea cucumbers on three states was 792, including 77 non-Palauan immigrants Mondays and Thursdays, from 6 am to 6 pm (Pakoa et al., (Palau Bureau of Planning and Statistics, 2015). 2014). In just forty-eight total legal fishing days, approximately Access Theory 1,160,392 kg (1,279 tons) of sea cucumbers were landed and sold Access theory is a political ecology approach to understanding at an estimated total value of US$1.3 million (Pakoa et al., 2014). Once national action banned the export of all sea cucumbers, how individual actors “derive benefits from things” (Ribot and Peluso, 2003), with a focus on natural resources as the the exporters left Palau. Sea cucumber harvesting then returned “things”. Ribot and Peluso (2003) placed differential relations to pre-export levels, with most of the collection being done by women for subsistence and small local markets. However, the among actors and the “things” they want to benefit from at the center of their theory. They were informed by the popular environmental impacts of the export period were immediately felt and have proven to be long-lasting: a report produced critique that the common property literature is ahistorical and apolitical (Peters, 1993; Cleaver, 2002; Forsyth and Johnson, by the Palau International Coral Reef Center in April 2012 demonstrated an 88% decline in the target species from pre- 2014). “A Theory of Access” took the notion of access as being associated chiefly with enforceable rights and expanded it to export levels (Golbuu et al., 2012), and recent monitoring indicates further decline in fished areas (Ferguson and Singeo, encompass a broader range of actors, structures, and social relations, including the illicit (Myers and Hansen, 2020). Ribot unpublished data). The ban on exporting sea cucumbers is still in place today. Thus, the special events of 2011 offer an opportunity and Peluso (2003) focused on access as an ability, including but not limited to rights. They identified eight structural and to study how fishers quickly leverage their assets and social relational “access mechanisms” (technology, capital, markets, relations to access seafood trade benefits under new and short- term trade conditions. labor, knowledge, authority, identities, and social relations) in addition to two rights-based mechanisms (legal and illegal access). Survey questions were structured by these mechanisms to understand individual fishers’ abilities to derive benefits from MATERIALS AND METHODS the sea cucumber trade. I used a mixed methods single case study approach over multiple visits to the fifteen study communities between September 2019 Data Collection and March 2020. In total, I spent 3 months in Palau during Survey this period, based in Ollei village in Ngarchelong State. The To be able to make generalizable and quantifiable conclusions, research question, “How were the harms and benefits of the I used a random sampling approach. I stratified the sample sea cucumber trade distributed among fishers in Palau?” was by gender to ensure near-equal representation of women and developed after a 1-year period of preliminary, unstructured men. Survey data collection was done by four Palauan field interviews with Palauan fishers, marine scientists, fisheries assistants, in Palauan and English depending on the preference management professionals, and conservationists from June 2018 of the respondent. Survey respondents were randomly selected to June 2019 based on frequently cited concerns and areas of by knocking on every other door in each study community on research interest. Data were collected by me and five Palauan field weekends and evenings, when people were most likely to be home assistants. Access theory (Ribot and Peluso, 2003) was chosen as and available to respond. In order to capture the greatest possible an analytical frame to identify how individual fishers accessed diversity of respondents, enumerators surveyed as many people the benefits of the sea cucumber trade. In the following sections, within the household as were willing and able. We continued to I justify site selection, provide a brief background on access survey until we reached a sample achieving a 95% confidence theory, followed by a detailed description of each data collection interval with a 10% margin of error. In total, we surveyed method, and a summary of how data were analyzed. More detail 100 women and 105 men, including 11 non-Palauan immigrant is provided in Supplementary Material. women and 19 non-Palauan immigrant men. Recognizing that gender and other identities are socially Site Selection constructed, we asked respondents to self-identify their gender, The fifteen rural villages included in this study represent nationality, marital status, age, level of education, employment every village in Ngardmau, Ngarchelong, and Ngchesar states status, and whether they held a customary title (a locally relevant Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 5 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 6 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade measure of power and status). Although we offered multiple appropriate translators of other languages, so some nuances gender responses, including “transgender,” “non-binary,” and may have been lost. I selected individuals to interview based “other,” 100% of respondents self-identified as “woman” or on their level of experience gleaning, their participation in the “man.” Thus, results are reported in alignment with these bêche-de-mer harvest, their role in management and decision- categories. In addition to these identity questions, the survey making (i.e., state rangers and traditional leaders), and their included questions related to gleaning and local marketing of sea intersecting identities, with the goal of hearing perspectives cucumbers, questions related to participation in the 2011 bêche- from people representing a diversity of social positions. In de-mer trade (e.g., “Did you participate?,” “Which species did you total, I interviewed 26 women and 23 men, including 4 non- target?” with at least 1 question addressing each of the 10 access Palauan immigrant women. Interviews were audio recorded and mechanisms identified by access theory), as well as observations transcribed in English. In the case of interviews conducted in of environmental changes. At the end of each survey, we asked Palauan, I have not used direct quotes due to the imperfect nature respondents whether they would be interested in being contacted of translations. for a follow-up interview. Semi-structured interviews focused in greater detail on fishers’ access mechanisms to sea cucumbers during the 2011 bêche- Interviews de-mer harvest, attitudes toward the bêche-de-mer trade, and To develop a more in-depth understanding of individual ecological knowledge related to local sea cucumber populations. Questions related to the precise details of catch amounts experiences and attitudes, I purposively sampled interview participants from the pool of survey respondents, as well as and prices were generally avoided due to the eight year gap between the event and this investigation. Such details were seven Palauan experts on women’s fisheries. Interviews were thoroughly documented by managers and researchers during conducted by me, with the support of a Palauan field assistant and and shortly after the trade was closed, which were used to translator. Interviews ranged from ten to ninety min and were verify information recalled by fishers (Pakoa et al., 2014; Barr conducted in English or in Palauan, whichever was preferred by the respondent. Most Palauans today are fluent in English, and et al., 2016). Each interview included an opportunity for the participant to ask questions and provide informed consent, some younger Palauans are more comfortable speaking English than Palauan. A limitation of this study is that interviews with following ethical guidelines and approval from the Stanford University Institutional Review Board. non-Palauans were all conducted in English due to a lack of FIGURE 2 | Most fishers who participated in the trade were new entrants, and most new entrants were men. Whether or not a regular gleaner participated in the trade depended on their gender, with men gleaners more likely to participate. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 6 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 7 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade continue harvesting than women gleaners (25%) during the trade, Data Analysis X (1, N = 55) = 5.6, p = 0.0176. Identifying Mechanisms of Access The disproportionate and, according to some, culturally To identify key mechanisms of access, I first coded interview 1 inappropriate role of men in the sea cucumber trade was noted by data deductively in the Dovetail app using the access community members. One middle-aged Palauan woman gleaner theory framework. After coding all interviews, “technology,” in Ngarchelong remembered, “knowledge,” and “authority” arose as the most common and explanatory access mechanisms. I then cross-referenced this “It was the men, not the women. I remember sitting there, asking the finding with survey data, examining how fishers responded to men in our community, “Excuse me, it belongs to the women. Why questions on those access mechanisms. are you encroaching?” It’s about money. It’s not about the people or the culture, it’s really just about money.” Assessing the Distribution of Benefits and Harms To assess the distribution of benefits and harms, I first coded Men justified their participation in the otherwise feminized, interview data deductively in the Dovetail app (see text footnote “easy” practice of sea cucumber harvesting by referencing 1) using the intersectionality framework. After coding all the financial rewards. A middle-aged Palauan fisherman in interviews, gender, marital status, and nationality arose as the Ngarchelong explained, most explanatory identities. I then used survey respondents’ self- “It’s easy fishing, that’s why only women do it. But during that time, identified identity markers (e.g., woman, Palauan, 40–45 years the buyer is here with a sack of money, then we ain’t waiting for our old, married, no title, etc.) to assess which actors had the ability women, yeah? We got to go help them, get out the boat, you know? to leverage key mechanisms of access during the trade, using So, it was a different thing: : :. It was just money waiting.” Pearson chi-square tests for independence. Significance level was set at p < 0.05. While gender was highly explanatory of which fishers Finally, to understand the distribution of harms, I asked participated in the trade, nationality was even more deterministic. survey respondents about changes in local sea cucumber 100% of people who reported participating in the trade populations since the trade. I also coded interviews for any (N = 61) were Palauan; none of the non-Palauans in the sample reference to “environmental harm.” This included references (N = 21), including the subset (N = 4) who glean under normal to resource degradation, difficulty finding sea cucumbers, and conditions, participated. Reasons for not participating varied associated challenges obtaining food and income from gleaning. among individuals in this group, and I was not able to interview all of them. Two Filipina women reported that they were working full-time in 2011 and unable to take time off to collect; it is likely RESULTS that similar restrictions imposed by work visas applied to some other immigrants. Distribution of Access to the Benefits of Trade Mechanisms of Access The sea cucumber fishery transformed swiftly during the export Access to Technology: Motorboats period from a low-tech, low volume gleaning activity done Motorboats proved to be a critical technology for accessing primarily by Palauan and immigrant women to a capital- and storing large volumes of sea cucumbers during the export intensive, high volume activity dominated by Palauan men. period. Because gleaners do not typically collect in waters I use “gleaner” to describe the harvesters using traditional deeper than about a meter (3.28 feet), harvesters explained gleaning methods and “fisher” to describe the harvesters using that deeper water populations of all species, further from these “new” methods normally reserved for harvesting finfish. shore, tended to be more abundant and home to larger I use “harvester” generically to refer to people harvesting sea individuals. Motorboats enabled access to these populations. cucumbers using any method. Furthermore, harvesters without motorboats were more limited Men largely displaced women in the trade. Under normal in how many sea cucumbers they could collect before returning (i.e., non-trade) conditions, women in the study communities to the port with full buckets. Only those harvesters with participate in sea cucumber gleaning at a significantly higher rate access to motorboats were able to store sea cucumbers than men, representing 58% of gleaners, X (1, N = 206) = 6.0, in large volumes. p = 0.0140. However, during the export period in 2011, women A middle-aged fisherman from Ngarchelong described the represented only 38% of harvesters, participating significantly less 2 spectacle of fishing boats at Ngerkeklau, an island 2.7 km than men X (1, N = 206) = 4.1, p = 0.0423. (1.7 miles) from the village, known for its abundance of sea Most of the harvesters (66%) who participated in the trade cucumbers. He remembered with excitement, “The place looked (N = 61) were new entrants to the sea cucumber fishery, like this new city, new village over there. Really! More than 40 not gleaners who utilize sea cucumber resources under normal lights every night,” referring to the lights of boats. The distance conditions (Figure 2). 63% of these new harvesters (N = 40) were to Ngerkeklau and other unfished sites was too great to swim or men. Men gleaners were also significantly more likely (57%) to paddle, meaning fishers without motorboats were harvesting in Dovetailapp.com already exploited areas. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 7 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 8 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade FIGURE 3 | Marital status determines access to boats for women but not for men. Among those who did not own boats, men reported Access to Knowledge: Freediving, Gendered significantly higher access to motorboats than women, with 81% Ecological Knowledge, and Night Fishing of men and 69% of women in the sample reporting that they Knowledge of both freediving as a practice and of the deeper had access to a motorboat, X (1, N = 205) = 4.1, p = 0.0438. water habitats associated with this practice placed Palauan men When asked whose motorboat a respondent had access to, 96% of in a better position to capitalize on the sea cucumber trade gendered responses (N = 83) were male (e.g., brother, husband, than other harvesters. A middle-aged Palauan fisherman from male friend), indicating that the vast majority of those who Ngarchelong explained, control access to motorboats are men. “The guys that made the big bucks were the real fishermen. You Both nationality and marital status profoundly shaped which know, they can stay down there ten minutes, they have like ten women had close relations to Palauan men and thus had buckets. They’re faster and have more air to stay down and collect, access to motorboats. collect.” Among women in the sample who did not own boats, married women had significantly more access to motorboats than As a result of the gender division of marine resource unmarried women, X (1, N = 63) = 7.3, p = 0.0071 (Figure 3). use in Palau, marine ecological knowledge is gendered. Sea Meanwhile, among men in the sample, marital status had no cucumber gleaners—primarily Palauan women—are the most significant effect on motorboat access, X (1, N = 69) = 1.9, knowledgeable about nearshore sea cucumber habitats and p = 0.1632. behaviors and thus might have been best positioned to capitalize Among Palauans in the sample who did not own boats on the sea cucumber trade. However, harvesting in these (N = 124), 66% reported having access to one; among immigrants nearshore areas proved less efficient than harvesting in the deeper (N = 20), fewer than half (45%) reported having access. Among waters where spearfishers—primarily Palauan men—had more non-Palauans, women actually had more access to motorboats applicable ecological knowledge. than men, representing 56% of those with access (Figure 4). All Though sea cucumbers are not their target species, fishermen’s of these women (N = 5) were married to Palauan men. However, extensive ecological knowledge of deeper water areas includes an the sample size of immigrants with access to motorboats was awareness of sea cucumber habitats and behaviors that could be small, and the difference between immigrant men and immigrant called upon when it became profitable. For example, bakelungal women was not statistically significant. (Latin: Holothuria fuscogilva and H. whitmaei; English: white Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 8 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 9 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade FIGURE 4 | Gender operates differently depending on a harvester’s nationality, with immigrant women having greater access to boats than immigrant men. teatfish and black teatfish), the largest and highest-value species participants in the study and is widely known by gleaners. for bêche-de-mer in Palau, is found only in deeper waters, where However, nighttime fishing is not practiced by gleaners under typically only Palauan men fish. An elder Palauan fisherwoman normal conditions, who prefer to collect in the early morning, and expert explained, “The men dive when they go fishing, so when “the sea cucumber hasn’t eaten yet so the intestines they know where to collect bakelungal. The women don’t collect are clean,” according to an elder fisherwoman and expert. But those.” A middle-aged Palauan fisherman from Ngarchelong because sea cucumbers are processed differently (i.e., smoked echoed this claim, “We [men] know where to find [bakelungal] and dried) for bêche-de-mer, the cleanliness of the intestines was from spearfishing and also net fishing.” not a relevant quality criterion for the trade. An elder Palauan Ecological knowledge of Palauan marine environments is not woman chief from Ngarchelong commented on the unusual and only gendered but is also associated with being Palauan. A Yapese gendered nature of nighttime fishing for sea cucumbers, stating, immigrant woman married to a Palauan man explained that sea “These people collected during nighttime. The [sea cucumber] cucumbers are not eaten in Yap and that she learned to glean them comes out at night. And women don’t dive at night: : : it was a from her husband’s family when she moved to Palau. She said very different way of collecting.” that, because she had not grown-up gleaning sea cucumbers, she had less knowledge of the animals and their habitats than Palauan Access to Authority: State Rangers women. To the extent that she does have ecological knowledge State rangers are responsible for enforcing fisheries regulations of sea cucumbers, she attributes it in large part to her marriage within state waters in Palau. State rangers are overwhelmingly to a Palauan man. Palauan men. Eighty percentage of those in the study who Knowledge of nighttime fishing also proved advantageous and had ever served as a state ranger (N = 20) were men and is also gendered in Palau. A middle-aged Palauan fisherman from 100% were Palauan. Ngarchelong explained the advantage of night fishing thusly, Palauan law required that exporting companies have a Palauan “You know, at night [the sea cucumbers] come out. So it’s much business partner to obtain a license, and all five exporting easier. And once the tide gets lower, they’re just right there. companies partnered with state rangers in this capacity. These You’re just walking, picking them up. Quick, quick money.” partners were compensated with percentages of profits, with This nighttime behavior of sea cucumbers was noted by several one ranger estimating he received over US$50,000 from the Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 9 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 10 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade partnership (for comparison, the median annual income in rural exacerbate local power inequities. Fishers’ intersecting identities areas in Palau is around US$12,870, Palau Office of Planning shaped how the benefits and harms of the sea cucumber and Statistics, 2014). As business partners, these rangers gained trade were distributed among them in Palau. Palauan men early access to the market, weeks or even months before other benefited most while Palauan and immigrant women bear a fishers knew of the buyers’ presence. One ranger, a Palauan disproportionate share of the short- and long-term harms. fisherman from Ngardmau who partnered with one of the This result is surprising in light of the feminized nature of companies, explained that, “Actually, the harvest was [going on sea cucumber harvesting in Palau and represents a case of for] more than a year,” with fishers who knew of the buyers’ masculinization, in which women were largely displaced by presence collecting illegally for the first 6 months. Another men in the harvesting of their customary resources when Palauan fisherman, who was a state ranger in Ngarchelong at the those resources became more profitable. Masculinization has time, reported that he kept the buyers’ presence a secret initially been documented under similar circumstances in the octopus because, in his determination, prices were too low, trade in Tanzania (Porter et al., 2008) and invertebrate fisheries in the Pacific (Pinca et al., 2010; Williams, 2015). “I [was] the first one who went to collect. But I never told anybody Today, the burden of resource degradation associated with the because I wanted to see if they’re really buying at a good price: : : trade is borne primarily by women. It is thus critical that But they were buying really cheap. Ten cents per [sea] cucumber. seafood trade policies consider local power dynamics, evaluate So, I went one time, I deliver, and then I see it’s not worth it. I’m possible unintended consequences, and ensure that benefits already killing my resources, my water, I’m killing it: : : So, I told them off. Okay, either you raise the price or I’m going to stop. So, I are distributed equitably in fishing communities, while also stopped and then they went to the other [state rangers].” managing environmental impacts that may affect less powerful fishers disproportionately. In their capacity as state rangers, a highly gendered position of While gender explains much of the difference in how authority restricted to Palauans, a small number of Palauan men harvesters interacted with the sea cucumber trade, results benefited especially greatly from the trade. highlight the relevance of intersectionality as an analytical tool (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). In particular, marital status and Distribution of the Harms of Trade nationality both shaped which men and which women benefited. After 6 months, legislation at the national level ended the legal Married women benefited more than unmarried women, Palauan harvest of sea cucumbers for export to the bêche-de-mer trade. women benefited more than non-Palauan women, and non- Fishing quickly returned to normal conditions, with primarily Palauan men benefited least of everyone, undermining a women (58%) gleaning sea cucumbers using low-tech practices. simplistic interpretation of outcomes based on gender alone. An elder Palauan fisherman in Ngarchelong commented that he The literature on women in fisheries tends to conceptualize no longer collects since the exporters left because prices are too women as either being deprived of agency or having full low and because he considers gleaning to be women’s work. agency (Gustavsson, 2020). However, this case demonstrates Predictably, severe decline in sea cucumber populations that women (and men) have limited agency within a given resulted from the trade. When asked how sea cucumber historical, spatial, and political context. In this case, less powerful populations have changed in the past 10 years, 73% of actors leveraged their relationships with more powerful and survey respondents (N = 161) reported a decline since resourced actors to access trade benefits; for example, married 2009. Fishers and gleaners connected this decline directly women gained access to motorboats through their husbands. to the bêche-de-mer harvest. An elder fisherwoman from Such nuances in the distribution of benefits would have been Ngardmau said the export harvest, “totally wiped them out, and masked by an analysis that narrowly focused on gender and fast.” therefore highlights the importance of intersectional analysis For gleaners, the decline in sea cucumbers is experienced in small-scale fisheries contexts (e.g., Kusakabe and Sereyvath, as a decrease in their catch per unit effort. Nearly every 2014; Lau and Scales, 2016; Colwell et al., 2017; Lokuge and active gleaner in the study commented on the decline in sea Hilhorst, 2017; Rohe et al., 2018; Yingst and Skaptadóttir, cucumbers, and a few former gleaners shared that they had 2018; Gustavsson, 2020). Furthermore, while many women in stopped gleaning altogether because of the difficulty finding Palau may have accrued indirect financial benefits from their sea cucumbers. One elder Palauan woman and former gleaner men family members’ earnings from the sea cucumber trade, from Ngardmau complained, “Nowadays, it’s too much walking such indirect benefits do not yield the same advancements in around and looking.” As a result of resource degradation from gender equality (U.N. Women., 2018), economic development the trade, gleaners—mostly Palauan and immigrant women— and resilience (IMF., 2018), freedom from domestic violence must work harder for longer to collect the same number of sea (Conner, 2013), and political participation (Bari, 2005). In order cucumbers as before the trade, resulting is less food and income to achieve global commitments to gender equality (UN General for the same effort. Assembly, 2015), it remains crucial that women enjoy individual economic empowerment within their households and in their communities. By definition, women’s economic empowerment DISCUSSION “includes women’s ability to participate equally in existing This empirical case study demonstrates that the seafood trade markets; their access to and control over productive resources: : :” does not impact all fishers equally and can serve to reinforce or (U.N. Women., 2018). It is thus critical that trade policies account Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 10 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 11 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade not only for benefits flowing to households but also to individuals, unintended exclusion of the most vulnerable groups and risks with consideration not only of their gender but also of their entrenching inequities in fishing communities. intersecting identities. Small-scale fisheries around the globe are increasingly subject The harms of the trade were distributed in almost the opposite to global market forces that can have severe short- and long- pattern of benefits. The majority of Palauan fishermen, who term impacts on fishing communities and their resources. benefited most from the trade, only collected sea cucumbers in While increased connectivity through trade has the potential to 2011, when exporters were paying very high prices, and do not deliver economic development, it also poses sustainability and collect anymore. They are therefore quite unimpacted by the equity challenges. This case provides one of many examples decline in the fishery associated with overexploitation during the of resource degradation resulting from the seafood trade export period. Meanwhile, the women gleaners who benefited (Crona et al., 2015)—an issue that is particularly common in relatively little from the trade or—in the case of immigrant sea cucumber fisheries (Anderson et al., 2011; Purcell et al., women—not at all must work harder and longer to collect even a 2013)—and expands our understanding of the longer-term fraction as many sea cucumbers as before the export period. This impacts of resource degradation on the (re)production of social has direct impacts on their livelihoods, food security, cultural inequities. Policymakers and community-level decision-makers identity, and well-being (Grantham et al., 2020). should therefore adopt a precautionary and inclusive approach This case provides further support for the argument of when addressing new market opportunities for locally utilized feminist political ecologists that gendered power relations marine resources. are constructed through relations with the environment (e.g., It is critically important to increase understanding and Agarwal, 1997; Gururani, 2002; Elmhirst and Resurreccion, consideration of how the intersecting identities of actors in 2008; Nightingale, 2011). In Palau, the preexisting gender fisheries, aquaculture, and other socio-ecological systems shape division in access to and use of marine resources, with their access to and use of resources, and how resource women primarily gleaning using minimal technologies and men degradation in turn may serve to entrench inequities. Paying primarily freediving for reef fish using motorboats, set the stage attention to resource users’ intersecting identities has profound for the sudden masculinization of the sea cucumber fishery upon implications for designing processes and policies that promote the arrival of exporters. Furthermore, the inequitable distribution equity in socio-ecological systems across the globe. of trade benefits and harms between women and men served to reinforce gendered power dynamics. Results also indicate that power hierarchies based not only on gender but also on DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT intersecting identities are critical determinants of how actors interact with the environment and how resource degradation, in The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be turn, shapes local power dynamics. made available by the authors, without undue reservation. Nightingale (2011) argues that social inequalities are constantly shifting yet surprisingly resilient to major reconfigurations. In this case, the opening of the sea cucumber fishery to exporters was a monumental shift in how the fishery ETHICS STATEMENT operated, presenting an opportunity for an unsettling and restructuring of local power hierarchies. Given the feminized The studies involving human participants were reviewed and nature of sea cucumber harvesting in Palau, one might have approved by the Stanford University Institutional Review predicted that opening the trade would create an opportunity Board. The patients/participants provided their written informed for women’s economic empowerment and the advancement consent to participate in this study. of gender equality. Yet preexisting power hierarchies appear to have been further entrenched, rather than challenged, by the sea cucumber trade. This resilience of social inequalities in fishing communities and the configurations of fisheries AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS management and practices that disrupt or entrench them warrants further study. CF was the sole author of this manuscript. CF developed the research question and protocol, conducted data collection and analysis, and wrote the manuscript. CONCLUSION Fishing communities are not homogeneous, and fisheries policies do not impact all fishing community members equally. Fisheries FUNDING policies and development strategy should carefully account for and include in decision-making a diversity of actors across This research was generously funded by the Stanford VPGE intersecting lines of identity to assess and anticipate possible Diversity Dissertation Research Opportunity, E-IPER Summer unintended consequences. This case study demonstrates that Research Grant, and McGee-Levorsen Grant from the Stanford a failure to account for these intersections can lead to the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 11 April 2021 | Volume 8 | Article 625389 fmars-08-625389 April 5, 2021 Time: 10:31 # 12 Ferguson Inequitable Impacts of Seafood Trade of Ebiil Society advised on the cultural appropriateness of ACKNOWLEDGMENTS survey and interview questions, provided translations, acted This study would not have been possible without the support as field assistants, and facilitated the relationship building in and hard work of Ann Singeo, Surech Bells, John Chilton, communities that enabled these data to be collected. Finally, Ladrick Ngedebuu, Amber Sky Skiwo, and Raegeen Tadao. my gratitude to the fishers and gleaners who participated in Thank you also to Fiorenza Micheli, William Durham, Bob this study, welcomed me into their communities, and shared Richmond, and Kevin Arrigo, who advised on this project their knowledge. from its earliest stages. I am indebted to Autumn Bordner for her assistance with the figures and to Josheena Naggea for early and insightful reviews of this article. Thank you SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL also to the reviewers, whose comments greatly improved the article. This study was done under the advisement of the The Supplementary Material for this article can be found Palauan NGO, Ebiil Society, and in conjunction with our online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars. ongoing collaborative research efforts. Leaders and members 2021.625389/full#supplementary-material of a seasonal fishing ban in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry, India. 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