In February 2014, I saw an ad for a temporary role recruiting fishing crew for Sealord. I had recently left my job as a Nurse and was looking to sink my teeth into an operational and dynamic job that would keep me on the edge of my seat and offer some development. This was a great opportunity; however I was young, nervous, and had never set foot on a commercial fishing vessel let alone spent much time with fishermen – I was certain I didn’t have the experience they would be looking for. Yet, the business invested into me at this critical time and offered me the role. This would be my very first taste of the fishing industry, having only had nursing roles and an up-bringing in a large commercial family orchard.
I started the job and absolutely loved it. I had role that gave me good exposure to the wider business and allowed me to form strong relationships with the Skippers and crew of our fleet. They were welcoming, passionate and took a huge amount of pride in their work and their vessels.
In time I moved into a project coordinator role within HR, while trying to learn more and more about the operational and fishing side of the business. My engagement into the fishing industry came through understanding the significance and effort that has gone into sustainability practices and research and observing the value that the industry added to the day-to-day lives of consumers, and the contribution to our local community through employment and support. It was a short while later that I had the opportunity to apply for a Vessel Coordinator role, a fantastic position that gave me hands-on operational experience with the vessels.
After time spent in that critical coordinator role I have recently graduated into a Fleet Harvest Manager role, working more closely with the catch, yield and management side of fishing. This promotion has come earlier than I could have hoped, and I am now faced with a whole new set of learning, challenges and exciting innovation opportunities to get stuck into. This is the beauty of the deep-water fishery, no day is the same, and learning comes in leaps and bounds – something I value highly and enjoy.
Finally, one of the greatest supports I have discovered recently is a bunch of like-minded women in the Seafood industry. Donna Wells in particular has been a fabulous support and sounding board, a constant encourager. There are not many of us about however the number is increasing, and events like the Women in Seafood Breakfast for example are extremely valuable and not to mention good fun!