Despite grim changes that threaten fishing livelihoods, fisherwomen in South Africa are emerging as strong leaders to face the challenges head-on.

Over the past decade women in fishing communities in South Africa have faced many new challenges. The finalisation of the Long Term Rights allocation in 2005 excluded many fishers and resulted in countless households being left destitute. During this period, women were forced to find alternative ways to put food on the table.

Their children had to be fed, and, when their partners or husbands were angry and despondent, they had to be comforted and supported. With the increasing use of alcohol and drugs, women became victims of domestic violence. This is the context in South Africa, when fisherwomen have emerged as strong leaders to challenge legislative and political change that threatens their traditional livelihood.

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