NEW ‘WOMEN IN WELSH FISHERIES GROUP’ GETS NETWORKING
New ‘Women in Welsh Fisheries group’ gets networking. A new group is being formed, offering women in the fishing industry support and the opportunity to network with their counterparts around the Welsh coast.
Still in its development stage, Women In Welsh Fisheries has initially been established as a vehicle to enable women from within the fishing industry to meet up (currently virtually), share experiences, and raise awareness of their work and lives.
The initiative is facilitated by the Wales Seafood Cluster, a Cywain-led project that encourages collaborative working among companies and individuals in the seafood industry.
Early discussions by group members have highlighted the desire to raise the profile of women already working in the industry and encourage more women to consider fishing or allied sectors as career prospects.
North Wales Seafood Cluster Manager, Nia Griffith, said:
“In Wales, women hold a plethora of roles within the fishing industry. Some work directly, such as fishers, processors, vessel owners, fishmongers, exporters, and marine researchers.
But there are many more career opportunities that support the industry, for example, marketing, e-commerce, international trade, product development, and accounting.”
A formal launch of Women In Welsh Fisheries is planned for the coming months. Already several potential activities are under discussion – including working with secondary schools along the coast of Wales to raise awareness of the seafood sector as a career opportunity.
Nia Griffith said:
“We want as many women as possible to take up this opportunity to join a group that not only provides a social outlet but understands their way of life, its challenges and opportunities.
“All women involved within the fishing industry in Wales, whether directly, or who support those whose livelihoods depend on the sea – wives, mothers, partners or daughters – are welcome to join.
“We’re also keen to link up with similar groups across the world to learn from their experiences of setting up a Women In Fisheries group. Anyone who would like to join Women In Welsh Fisheries they can contact me on 079612 05314 or email email@example.com”
Catch of the day
Ceredigion fishmonger, Jane Roche, knows the value of collaboration and being able to talk to like-minded people in the fishing industry.
In June 2019, she and her husband Richard opened a quayside fishmongers in Cardigan, adding to their existing café.
But the advent of Covid-19 meant that their plans for their first year as fishmongers had to rapidly change, especially as Richard had to shield for many months. ‘The Fishermen’s Rest’ café was mothballed, and their ‘Catch of the Day’ fishmonger shop switched to a delivery service.
During this time, Jane found support by immersing herself in a raft of online courses and webinars arranged by the Welsh Seafood Cluster. It was a process she says which “helped keep me sane, especially in the first 6-8 weeks.”
Now, with both enterprises up and running, Jane is highlighting the importance of having a support mechanism for women in the fishing industry. She is encouraging women across the sector in Wales to take up the opportunity to get together to offer each other support and advice when times are tough, as well as being a much needed social outlet.
The fishing industry can be tough, for those working in the multitude of jobs connected with a maritime life, as well those whose livelihoods depend on the sea. It is predominantly women who have to juggle work and family life, supporting partners in difficult times and with a backdrop of ever-present safety fears surrounding a working life at sea.
“As women we are natural communicators, and in the fishing industry there are not masses of women, but we can be quite strong and vocal!”
“Having the opportunity to meet and talk to other women in fishing – whether they be fishers, processors, merchants, fishermen’s wives or mothers – really helps, even if it is only for half an hour or an hour.
“It is wonderful to have like-minded people to support you, and to have a chat with over a glass of wine in a safe environment where you can have a giggle and you won’t be judged.”
Jane wants the group to be proactive too, and to spread the word about the job opportunities for women in the fishing industry.
“There are many different roles, and we can encourage more women into the industry, raise its profile and help make fishing a more sustainable industry.”
More information: Facebook @CatchofthedayCardigan
Cywain works with small and medium-sized producers to enable development, growth and awareness of Welsh food and drink. Areas of focus include helping to develop vision and capacity, adding value to products, improving sales and targeting new markets.
Cywain is a project designed and developed by Menter a Busnes and received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Cywain also leads on Wales’ Fine Food Cluster, Honey Cluster and Seafood Cluster, targeting more established businesses that are keen to drive business growth through networking and collaboration.
About Menter a Busnes
Established in 1989, Menter a Busnes has grown to be one of Wales’ leading economic development companies. With headquarters in Aberystwyth, the company specialises in supporting new businesses, business growth, agriculture, skills development and food and drink sectors throughout Wales. It manages a number of programmes on behalf of the Welsh Government including Farming Connect and Cywain.