Marie Christine Monfort has been an International Seafood Market Analyst for over 30 years to private companies and government agencies linked to the European market. She is the recent co-founder of the International Association for women in the seafood industry (WSI)
When and how did you get involved in the seafood industry? How it all started?
It started during the time of my studies, when I was still searching for the field in which I could work. Back then I lived in Bretagne on the western coast of France. To our neighbour who was then the captain of a high-sea trawler I said I was very tempted to join a fishing crew at sea. He accepted to take on-board his trawler for a 14-day fishing trip. With a certain amount of reluctance from the crew (not only was I a woman, but I came on board with a back-pack, both believed to bring bad luck), it all went perfectly fine. The sea was rough but I got hooked and … the catch went excellent. I had found my field! I then went on to study economics and international trade at the Fisheries Economics Institute in Bergen in Norway.
What do I like about this industry?
What I like is the huge variety of situation. I specialized in the trading and marketing of seafood, and 25 years after I started I am still amazed by its huge diversity, in terms of species, in terms of presentation and in terms of origin. Moreover, there is an amazing proximity between the product and the people. There is something organic, human in the seafood business. Although I deal much with figures, I am in contact with the product and the people behind it.
Would you encourage women to follow a career in the seafood industry?
Absolutely, all hands on deck! This industry needs women at all echelons. Today whole segments of this industry lack inspiration and innovation for lack of gender diversity. I would definitely invite young women to consider embracing this industry. My initiating the International Association for Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) now consists of raising awareness of this.