Tunisia, 5–12 September 2022. HAPO supports all initiatives towards empowering young women to lead a sustainable aquaculture sector.
GFCM organized a training for young women from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region on sustainable aquaculture practices, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia and with local communities and farmers. The seven-day training, which began on September 5, took 21 participants, selected from among 150 applicants and hailing from 16 different countries, across Tunisia on a tour of some of the country’s most successful and innovative aquaculture farms.
Organized within the framework of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022), proclaimed by the United Nations to raise global awareness of the sector, the training shined a spotlight on small-scale aquaculture farms and their role in food security and sustainability. It strove to equip young women with new knowledge and skills to support their full and effective participation as leaders at all levels of decision-making in the aquaculture sector.
“Women play a vital role in fisheries and aquaculture all the way along the value chain. They rear and process fish, stock ponds and perform research, helping to support food security across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. We have to support women in gaining knowledge and progressing in this sector” said Houssam Hamza, GFCM Aquaculture Officer.
During the training’s opening day, Director of Communication and Public Relations for HAPO, Ismini Bogdanou, presented HAPO’s strategic approach towards achieving awareness and social acceptability for Greek Aquaculture by employing an innovative communication and PR program. Among other things, she said: A very dear program in HAPO’s campaign is to attract more women in Greek aquaculture. Of all 5,000 people employed currently in this sector only 23% are women. Most of them work in packaging. but there are so many challenging positions, in finance, legal, energy, communications, food security, R&D, engineers, biologists, vets, certifications – the list is endless. Yet in Greece school students do not receive education on this sector despite the fact that this is a growing, booming industry, number two in exports, with so many possibilities of a successful career. To promote this opportunity, HAPO has teamed up with various institutes and published a variety of articles. Greek media supports with shows and interviews, while EURONEWS has also aired a documentary on Greek women in aquaculture.”
The opening day was also attended by officials of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), Tunisia’s Ministry of Rural Development and Food, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Maria Damanaki, former European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries addressed the participants. “The aquaculture sector is thriving, women already play a great part in it, they are the majority of the workforce. But what we really need is to have more women in leading roles and making decisions for the sector. This is why proper education, learning and training are very important, and this initiative organized by the GFCM is very important for these young women and for their future.”