Aquaculture Canada and WAS North America 2022

August 15 - 18, 2022

St Johns, Newfoundland, Canada

Women in Seafood

Wednesday, August 17, 2022 11:00 - 13:00 Victoria 1
Chair: Laura Halfyard


Jennifer Wright1, M. Scarlett Tudor2, Jennifer Woodland3, Jennifer Wiper4 and Denise Avery 5

The recent United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s State of Fisheries and Aquaculture (July 2022) acknowledges that women play a central process in seafood production. Recruitment, retention and labour shortages are chronic in the seafood sector, not just on farms or in harvesting, but also in processing and other parts of the value chain. Women and men are engaged about 50% in the production of farmed and wild seafood; women play a more central role in the post-harvest activities, while men play a greater role in the farming and harvesting sector.  Women’s roles in the seafood production from egg to plate will be critical for human resource development. This discussion panel will highlight opportunities, key messages, inclusive strategies and challenges for women in seafood sectors.  The audience for this session would include those who strive to be inclusive in work and life, while looking to the future growth strategies for their industry and communities. 


Both aquaculture and the wild fishery will be critical for global food security and sustainability, but meeting labour needs will be a key factor to sustain current production and to enable growth in the future. If population employment strategies do not adequately direct efforts to the recruitment and retention of women, then labour challenges will be exacerbated. The response of many developed countries has been to integrate automation, to train for specialized aquaculture technology and to recruit from other industry sectors.  But general aging populations, attitude carry-over from ‘traditional’ male-dominated sectors, physical labour perceptions for seafood jobs, and rural to urban lifestyle shifts have negatively impacted employment into some sectors.


This session’s dialogue will include:  What has attracted these women to the seafood sectors, including opportunities, impacts on industry and their families, etc.?  What are the needs to continue to grow/support the seafood industry for recruitment and retention?  What are the challenges to women in the Canadian and World seafood sectors (e.g. management, workforce, service supply sectors, etc)?  What are some recommendations to improve recruitment and retention (e.g. mentorship programs, hiring/recruitment practices, training to target women for seafood sectors, male attitude remediation towards female workers)?  How does women’s participation affect their families, Indigenous and other communities?  What are other perspectives for women and men employed in the seafood industry?


This panel discussion will shed light on what the industry can do to not only attract women, but also how to retain and promote more women within the industry, given their involvement in all components of the food security chain.  It is also to understand what implications, negative repercussions, or positive effects this shift may cause in the family, community, workplace, relations with peers, their communities and Indigenous nations.


Jennifer Wright , Acting Exec. Dir., Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC), Ottawa, ON, Canada.

"A Strategic Approach to the Workforce of the Future"

M. Scarlett Tudor , Education and Outreach Coordinator, Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI), Maine, USA.

" Aquaculture Research Institute's Aquaculture Workforce Development Programming "

Jennifer Woodland , CEO, Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood (NCN Seafood), Campbell River, BC, Canada. Also Chair, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA).

" Case Study 1 - Opportunities and Challenges of a Career in Seafood"

Jennifer Wiper , Manager, Compliance and Certification, Cooke Aquaculture Inc., Blacks Hr., NB, Canada. Also Pres-Elect, Aquaculture Association of Canada (AAC). .

" Case Study 2 - Opportunities and Challenges of a Career in Seafood"

Denise Avery , Senior Director, HR Center, Clearwater Seafoods, NS, Canada.

" Case Study 3 - Opportunities and Challenges of a Career in Seafood"

Panel Facilitator - Laura C. Halfyard, Gen Mgr, Connaigre Fish Farms Inc., St. John's, NL, Canada.