Women seek promotion in seafood sector

Women make up 55% of all people working in seafood, but occupy very few executive roles, a BIM-hosted conference has been told.

The Australian Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community (WINSC) urged those at the event in Radisson Hotel, Dublin Airport, to form a professional networking forum to advance the role of women in Ireland’s €1bn seafood industry. WINSC was formed last December by female seafood professionals.

Leonie Noble, WINSC president, said: “Increasing the visibility of women in the seafood industry is hugely important, 55% of the industry globally is made up of women but less than 5% sit in management positions. This needs to change and discussing how to do this is the first step to make it happen.

“A network could encourage greater representation, leadership roles and recognition for the contribution women play in seafood.”

Ireland’s seafood industry is male-dominated, particularly in the fishing sector. There are less than five Irish fishing vessels with female-registered owners and only a handful of active female fishers.

WINSC president Leonie Noble and directors Jayne Gallagher and Jenny Shaw are due to speak at EU seafood events in the coming weeks, before addressing the World Seafood Congress in Iceland in September.

The Dublin event, funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, is part of a change management programme for Irish fishing being implemented by BIM.

Jim O’Toole, BIM’s chief executive, said: “This is an important event that not only celebrates the many dedicated and talented women in Ireland’s seafood industry but enables us to discuss how women in this sector can, as a professional forum, provide support, share information and enhance their capacity to contribute to the industry’s future.”

Meanwhile, BIM is seeking applicants for industry courses, such as: Electronic Navigation Systems (Fishing); Skipper Full Certificate of Competency; Commercial Fishing QQI Award (Major) Level 5, Further Education + Training; ELearning Navigation and Stability QQI Award (Minor) Level 5; and Navigation Control Course (Fishing).

BIM certificates are necessary to work in the industry. Fishermen and women generally begin as deckhands on fishing vessels. Their duties include loading and repairing fishing nets, catching, sorting and gutting fish, plus keeping the boat and machinery in working order.

Skippers have responsibilities ranging from planning voyages to the overall operation of the vessel. The skipper manages navigation, equipment, the catch and safety of vessel and crew. They must know international regulations; and seek to make a profit from each trip.


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