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In Lebanon, women break barriers by tinkering fishing nets to secure income

Lebanese women whose husbands are fishermen are joining them at sea and making and repairing fishing nets to secure an income for their families.
Fishing boats are moored at the port of Karantina, north of Beirut, as their owners protest against the continued use of the nearby Karantina landfill waste dump site and its resultant waste pollution harming the local fishing industry, May 24, 2018.

BEIRUT — The fishing industry in Lebanon has been traditionally run by men and boats are owned and operated by male fishers but dire economic situation in the country has driven women in coastal areas such as Akkar and Tripoli, to break gender barriers and enter the industry to make ends meet.

"Fishing is all my husband knows, so I decided to join him as we need to support one another as much as we can to overcome these difficult living conditions,” said Zeinah Nassar, a mother of four who lives in an impoverished suburb of Tripoli in the north of the country.

“If we don’t fish, we don’t eat,” she told Al-Monitor. More than 74% of the population in Lebanon has plunged under the poverty line according to the United Nations. With the currency steep devaluation and people losing access to their bank deposits, many Lebanese who have not been able to leave the country are venturing into new industries to to generate income. 

In an area reliant on fishing that suffers the highest unemployment rates in the country, learning how to make fishing nets has become more common among women whose partners are fishermen and women have started joining their husbands at sea.

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