8 MARCH 2017
‘BE BOLD FOR CHANGE’
Heather is the current Director General of the Department of Fisheries Western Australia. She was appointed to the position in April 2015 and has over 30 years experience in fisheries management.
WINSC: When and how did you get involved in the seafood industry?
HEATHER: In 1985, I applied for a job with the State Government as part of its graduate program, having no idea what would come of it. I was close to completing a Bachelor of Science degree at Murdoch University at the time and was keen to work in an environmental science field. I was very fortunate to be offered a position and “allocated” to the WA Department of Fisheries. I commenced in January 1986 and have never left the Department, aside from a small stint with NT Fisheries. It was interesting given my childhood was spent on a farm and a long way from fishing or the ocean. I really had no idea what to expect but quickly fell in love with the Department and the industry.
WINSC: What is your biggest reward working in the seafood industry?
HEATHER: Definitely the people, not just the fishers but also those who work in the Department. The passion and commitment never ceases to amaze me. I feel very privileged that I’ve been able to play a part, even if small, in the long term sustainability of our fishing and aquaculture industries. I really do believe in “fish for the future” and that there is capacity for all to share and enjoy our fisheries resources.
WINSC: Would you encourage women to follow a career in the seafood industry? Why?
HEATHER: Absolutely. Diversity is essential and, in my experience, women bring a different perspective and approach to dealing with the often complex and challenging issues faced by the industry and fisheries managers. As I always say ‘fisheries management is about managing people, not fish’ and women have a significant contribution to make.