Fathom: getting below the surface of the UK fishing industry.

Fathom 23: Making space for women in fishing

August 25, 2020 Paul Trebilcock
Fathom: getting below the surface of the UK fishing industry.
Fathom 23: Making space for women in fishing
Show Notes

Women play an integral role across the seafood supply chain - from caring in fishing families, to policy, net fixing, processing and catching. But why do we know so little about them? Why do their voices remain relatively ‘invisible’, and why does the industry remain male-dominated? 

Whilst only scratching the surface, this episode creates the space for women in fishing to share their stories and experiences. Our all-female line-up, interviewed by Harriet Yates-Smith, includes three incredible women, from fisherwomen to researchers. 

We first speak to Madeleine Gustavsson, lead researcher at the Women in Fisheries project. She tells us of the in-depth, qualitative research she has conducted with women working in seafood, in order to understand women’s roles, identities and sense of wellbeing in the industry. 

Importantly, we explore the ‘culture’ of fishing and the tendency to under-value women’s work and explore ways to overcome this. 

Madeleine has unearthed stories of ‘fish entrepreneurs’ - women making space for themselves in a male-dominated industry by developing innovative processing practices and unique marketing ideas. We also talk of fishing families, whose lives are shaped by ‘the rhythms of fishing … the tides, the weather, the seasons,’ as Madeleine beautifully puts it. 

The podcast also includes insightful conversations with two fisherwomen - Ashley, based in Wells-next-the-Sea who calls herself ‘The Female Fisherman on Instagram shares an honest and enthusiastic account of her days out at sea. Jamie, a fifth-generation salmon fisherwoman in rural Alaska talks of set-netting, caring for children, history, and the legacy of her great grandmothers’ fishing knowledge. 

Tune in for uplifting, thought-provoking and funny conversations surrounding women and the fishing industry - an important listen for all genders and all ages, and an important step in developing a network of fishing females. 

Fathom hosts: 

Harriet Yates-Smith

Fathom guests: 

Dr Madeleine Gustavsson - lead researcher on Women in Fisheries project 

Ashley Mullenger - fisherwoman in Wells-next-the-Sea

Jamie O'Connor - fisherwoman in Alaska 


Women in Fisheries
Women in Fisheries policy brief
Women in Fisheries Facebook page
Women in Fisheries Facebook group (women in fisheries only)