Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Outstanding farmer from the Pacific honoured at the Asia-Pacific World Food Day celebration

Palau, 14 Oct 2002 -- Today, the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok has issued the 2002 Y.S. Rao Award to five outstanding farmers from the Asia-Pacific Region. The farmers received the award from the minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, HE Sora-at Klinpratoom, during the 2002 World Food Day Celebration in Bangkok.

Below please find the citation used during the ceremony to highlight the achievements of the farmer from the Pacific.

Genevieve Ichiro Rechelbang, Palau, outstanding marine fisher

The outstanding marine fisher from the Pacific, Genevieve Ichiro Rechelbang is 45 years old with four children and lives in Iyebukel Hamlet, Koror State in the Republic of Palau. A high school graduate, she gave up a regular paid job to take up full time fishing in the mid-1980s in order to ensure food security for her family.

Starting with a small boat she purchased in the early 1990’s to go further out beyond the reefs into deep water, she is now a leading marine fisher with an average monthly income of US$800. She usually sells her catch in the local market or processes it and also caters to special requests from individuals and restaurants in Koror.

According to a survey by the Office of Marine Resources in Palau on the role of women in fisheries, Mrs Rechelbang is one of the few women engaged in fishing there, who uses all fishing methods common in Palau. These include bottom fishing with hook and line; spear fishing with spear gun; general gleaning; night fishing; surround net; seine net; cast net; and trolling.

She is perhaps the first woman in Palau to dive into the sea with a fishing spear gun, which she also does at night with the aid of a flashlight. This is quite dangerous as the water is full of sharks, but they do nothing as long as she is careful. “I like fishing. I feel strong” after coming out of the water, she says. Her example has inspired other women in Iyebukel to learn diving and spear fishing from her and make her feel proud, Mrs Rechelbang says.

RAP 02/32B

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