Dwindling fish stocks on the Fiji Island of Viti Levu is changing the traditional way of life. Since the men can’t fish anymore, the village is relying on its women to earn an income by selling hand-woven palm products.
The men of the village of Daku in the Fiji Islands are preparing for a new era. So far, they’ve been used to returning home with a rich haul of fish. But fish stocks have declined drastically because the river, where the men have traditionally fished, has become increasingly sandy due to the cutting of mangroves. Floods have also raised salinity levels in the water, complicating the planting of fruits and vegetables. The village has now moved to selling hand-woven palm leaf fans manufactured by its women, which in turn has boosted their role in the community. The men are still getting used to the new-found confidence of the women. Many men now return from their boat trips with palm fronds from a nearby island. They work as distributors for the women and are part of Daku’s rising financial fortunes. But, some are still struggling to come to terms with the changing gender roles in what remains a male-dominated society.