Traditionally there has been little emphasis placed on the role and contribution of women in the Australian seafood industry. Many other Australian primary industries, most notably dairy and grains, have invested significant resources in developing the role and skills of women. This has resulted in the more effective use of what was an untapped resource, in developing the industry.
During 1996 and 1997 a group of women associated with the commercial sector of the fishing industry (the “seafood industry”) in South Australia began working together to address the situation. This resulted in the formulation of the South Australian Women’s Industry Network (SA WIN).
In February of 1998, SA WIN hosted a Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) sponsored workshop entitled “Capitalising on the Talents of Women in the South Australian Fishing Industry”, FRDC Project 1997/348. One of the results of the workshop was the development of a four-point Action Plan for future operations of the network so that it might best serve the needs of the seafood industry nationally. In June 2000, the national Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community was formed and incorporated as a Registrable Australian Body.
Through the provision of a newsletter and email links, WINSC provides support, encouragement and the dissemination of information to seafood women members.
WINSC has developed strong partnerships with the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector women with support from the Rural Industries Section of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, state/territory governments, and peak seafood industry bodies and associations.
WINSC takes a practical approach to professional development of skills, by raising the profile of women involved in the seafood industry.
Seafood women want to be more visibly active and involved in their industry. Gender-specific groups aid the initial development of confidence, build trust and create a safe learning environment. Experiential learning increases the likelihood of long-term change.
Increasing the capacity of seafood women will result in a positive contribution to the industry as a whole.
In order to maximise opportunities for seafood women, the WINSC seeks funds made available to support operational funding and project monies which will provide a valuable outcome for seafood women and support the operation of the network.
WINSC is a not for-profit, independent, productive network. It is managed by an Executive Committee and controlled by a National Board of Directors. It aims to enhance the role of seafood women involved in this network for the benefit of the seafood industry.