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Thomas Malm, Photo.

Thomas Malm


Thomas Malm, Photo.

Women and Inshore Fisheries in Oceania


  • Thomas Malm

Summary, in English

Marine invertebrates and seaweeds of the lagoons and reefs have always been an important source of food and raw materials for the people of Oceania. I examine the gathering of these organisms in both contemporary and more ancient contexts, and according to a gender-based division of tasks. It is argued that although men’s fishing has been well documented, until fairly recently women’s inshore fisheries, or marine gathering, has been overlooked by researchers, even though it is of a major economic significance. The indigenous knowledge concerning the marine environment, the organisms and their uses is vast, but could become partly forgotten in time of rapid economic and cultural change. Reef and lagoon resources on many islands of Oceania are threatened by overexploitation, resulting from population growth and integration into the global economic system. The paper is based on anthropological fieldwork (especially in the Kingdom of Tonga 1994-96, but also in a number of other Pacific islands between 1983 and 2011) and a thorough study of literature and museum material.


  • Human Ecology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper


  • Social and Economic Geography


  • Oceania
  • inshore fisheries
  • marine gathering
  • Polynesia
  • Tonga
  • marine invertebrates
  • human ecology

Conference name

Islands of the World Conference XII

Conference date