Project final report

Developing alternative small-scale fishery models for women in the Fly River, Western Province, Papua New Guinea - Final Report

Date released
15 December 2022
Publication Code

Sara Busilacchi, James Butler, Havini Vira, Josephine Laka, Moses Kalup, John Burton, Benjamin Brown, Rio Ahmad, Iqram Muhammad


This project aimed to scope and design alternative small-scale fishery business models for Fly River communities in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), with a focus on women's roles in mud crab and tilapia fisheries and processing.

Located in Western Province and bordering the Torres Strait of Australia and Papua Province of Indonesia, the Fly River region of PNG is remote and isolated. Poverty rates are amongst the highest in PNG, caused by complex drivers including lack of markets, weak governance, limited infrastructure, and population growth.

Mud crabs and tilapia are an important small-scale fisheries resource for women in the Fly River delta and Middle Fly villages, respectively. Women play an important role in fisheries value chains, but do not necessarily have control over income streams to the household, which affects diet, nutrition, health, children's education, and wellbeing (Busilacchi et al., 2018a). Consequently, promoting novel business models appropriate to women's livelihoods and fishery activities is important for enhancing family health and nutrition.

This research activity concluded that more social and economic science is needed to design appropriate enterprise and fishery management models that can induce behavioural change, reduce illegal activities, over-exploitation and poverty, and benefit women.

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