Heather Brayford and Rhiannon Jones
Shell samples, Acts of Parliament and lots of maps are all part and parcel of managing the world’s last remaining wild stock fishery for pearl oyster (Pinctada maxima) for Heather Brayford and Rhiannon Jones.
These pearl oyster stocks, located off Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions, form the basis of Australia’s world-famous South Sea Pearl industry.
Ms Brayford, pictured left, was promoted from her Deputy Director General position in the WA Department of Fisheries to the top job of Director General in April 2015.
A clear non-believer in the glass ceiling for women, Heather was previously Executive Director of Fisheries in the Northern Territory and is a two-term Director of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).
And with more than 30 years of experience across the fisheries and aquaculture sectors within Government she is a great role model for Ms Jones, pictured right.
Rhiannon started work with WA’s Department of Fisheries in 2013 and has helped manage the West Coast and Pilbara demersal scalefish resources, with her current focus on sustainably managing the P. maxima resource.
She is a qualified marine biologist who graduated from James Cook University in North Queensland.
Rhiannon enjoys being a fisheries management officer as it combines many of her interests including fisheries research, legislation and compliance. Additionally, the role allows communication and interaction across a broad range of stakeholders.
“My personal vision for future of the industry is that aquatic resources continue to be utilized and enjoyed by generations in a sustainable way,” she said.
“I would like to see the sustainability and value of this industry communicated to the public in a strategic way. Additionally, I think that further use of the Integrated Fisheries Management system should occur, so that all users are involved in discussions on sustainability and resource use.”
Rhiannon said that mentoring, stewardship and building awareness of the variety of careers in industry is the best way to encourage other young women into the industry – a sentiment shared by Heather..