THE Department of Fisheries aims to increase the participation of women in fisheries programs to 5 per cent by the year 2014.
With this target, the northern department has recorded three women-initiated pearl spat collection groups in the Savusavu area, two women groups who own fish farms in Bua and a women's group in Raviravi Macuata that owns a pearl farm.
Speaking at the International Women's Day celebrations, Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Officer Nanise Kuruidrani said there were less women involved in the fisheries income generating activities in the North.
"Today, we need to change the traditional perspective and become involved in projects offered by the government that will enhance our role in fisheries development ," said Mrs Kuruidrani.
"The lack of training in fisheries development is due in part to social and traditional attitudes.
"This results in women participation in fisheries regarded as just involving the collection and gleaning, with no credit given to their skills, wealth of knowledge, traditional understanding of species, habitats, seasons and other fisheries issues that women understand."
Mrs Kuruidrani said the empowerment of women in fisheries program was therefore, one of the main outputs the department would like to strengthen.
"Government is fully supporting women wishing to venture in alternative economic activities whether inside or outside the fisheries sector."