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Choroní's fishermen are changing the power dynamic

Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis has also contributed to a gender shift in a historically male-dominated workforce, with many young women dropping out of school to support their families. Maria Victoria Linares 12 got into this profession in part because of her upbringing, where male neighbors used to take her fishing as a child. Cochineo, a term used to describe overnight stays at sea waiting for fish to hit the net, is harder for moms to commit to, meaning Linares is one of the few towns Women on the planet don’t just do it, they do it. “My mom couldn’t stand this, it was a lot of work,” she said. “It’s a man’s job.”

However, for Maria Angelica Landaeta 18, originally from a nearby beach called Tuja, “fishing is exciting things.” Landaeta started visiting Choroní as a teenager after her sister moved to Choroní to be with her partner, and quickly fell in love with the industry while being around her 14 and never look back. (She notes the joy she finds every morning watching whales and dolphins scrambling through the waves.) “Sometimes you can’t even find any fish, but it’s so exciting,” she says. “Some say it’s lonely, but to me, being on the water is like singing.”

Yeirifer Pedrá, 18, from the neighboring town of Chuao, only accessible by boat, has since she started Nine years old since fishing. Besides being able to soak up the natural beauty of the area, she loves the adrenaline rush of it, noting that she can’t imagine herself doing anything else right now. “The only thing I haven’t done is open water fishing,” she said. “You can find all the fish that don’t come ashore: sharks, yellowfin tuna, coniferous fish, cochineal

.” Pedrá also stresses that the barrier for women to enter the industry is that men Willing to show them the ropes and their inability to stay on the water for long. “I just want them to let me go, even to watch,” she said with a laugh. “Men, they can be such a machismo .”

Unlike Choroní, Chuao’s main industries have always been fishing and cocoa farming, which means, according to Adilex Moreno, 21, fishing in Chuao is much friendlier. “This is because the fishing spots are closer to town, so you can walk back and forth and take a break, whereas in Choroni, People are being forced to spend more time in open water,” Moreno said. Not only is it more common for women to go to sea in Sichuan and Macao, but you can also see women owning a boat. “There are about five here,” Moreno said, pointing to the edge of the water. The nearest city is 50 kilometers away. She held on until her third term, but had to get pregnant after becoming pregnant with her first child, Jaley (now ) stop. “Completing school is not in my plans right now,” she said. “I need to work hard and eventually have my own boat, my own net, be able to feed my kids and have a good life.”

Adilex Moreno.

50Photography by Silvana Trevale5050

Now tours are finally back in the region – the pier in Choroní is packed again to see the live tambores and tourists drinking and dancing at beach parties – many women have slowly started returning to jobs in the hospitality industry. But not Dariana, la tora . “It becomes part of you and you start needing it,” she said. “When you wake up every day and see the fish gathering for you, that’s when you’re truly happy.”



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