Traditionally, historically, women have been responsible for feeding their families and communities, therefore it is a quite a natural leap for women to be involved in aquaculture, which gives them the opportunity to feed more families in a sustainable manner.
By Samantha McLeod
“According to the latest State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report, nearly 60 million people worldwide – 14 per cent of them women – are directly employed in fisheries and the aquaculture sector.”
We recently visited a fish farm in Galaxidi, Greece. Nancy Panteleimonitou, the matriarch of Greece’s aquaculture industry was kind enough to take us on several tours of the fish farm and hatchery.
In the video, below, Nancy took us on the tours of Galaxidi Marine Farm, from hatchery to sea and back again to the processing plant and finally to the kitchen, well finally to our happy tummies. Along the way we learned about the people and fish as Nancy retold many stories of their journey together.
For over 30 years Nancy has led her team of 360 people through the ups and downs of aquaculture, a few lines that resonate are:
The hatchery is mainly run and operated by women, because the little ones (smolts) need clinical clean and women are good at respecting those rules. We (women) do it because we know how to keep everything clean and running well.
Divers go down, in daily shifts.
These families are my family, it is an honour to be a part of the growth and success we all enjoy through our work.
Most of the people are from this region, we have husbands, wives, husband and wife teams, kids of the families back from college for summer jobs. We have sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles too.
Galaxidi Marine Farm SA (GMF), is the economic lifeline of the town, employing more than a third of its 1000 residents.
As Greece is gripped in the throes of an economic crisis,“We have not laid off or reduced the salaries of any of our people,” said Nancy Panteleimonitou,
For more about Nancy of Galaxidi, and all the people of Galaxidi Marine Farm, check out eathical.ca travel stories..
In the daily debates we encounter in British Columbia, the dialogue is always fish-focussed “Get it out of the ocean” or reasons why “Fish belong in the ocean”.
In this heated – unique to British Columbia – argument what we mostly ignore is the conversation around the amount of people it takes to bring fresh farm-raised fish to our kitchens. Maybe now is the time for us to pause and really think about the people – farmers, technicians, divers, hatchery plant teams, processing plant teams, scientists, feed producers, fishermen and fisherwomen, truck drivers, environmentalists, college kids, and the 101 other people involved in raising healthy food for our families.