The Fishing Daily Podcast Series 3 Episode 12

In this episode of The Fishing Daily Podcast, Hannah Fennell – President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, and Sheila Keith – Vice-President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation speak to Oliver McBride about the important roles women lay in the fishing industry and their new roles with the Federation.

Breaking Barriers in Scottish Fishing Perceptions: The Role of Women Leaders

by The Fishing Daily Podcast in Audio

Hannah is head of the Orkney Fisheries Association and was previously the vice-president of the SFF.

Sheila Keith is the Executive Officer of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association.

Women have long played an important part in the Scottish fishing industry. It is nothing new to look at old black and white photos from the late 1800s/early 1900s, and women’s presence in onshore support activities can been seen everywhere.

During the herring boom of that period, thousands of women travelled from port-to-port following the herring fleet, gutting and curing herring. As the herring fleet moved it also provided employment for local women working with the fish, or in support services such as administration.

As tough as life was at sea, life standing in a foul-smelling muddy curing station was equally as tough, but without this support there would have been no fishing industry.

In August this year, Scottish fishing came of age with the election of Hannah and Sheila to their roles as President and Vice-President respectively, but not alone are the President and Vice-President female, so is the Chief Executive Officer, Elspeth Macdonald.

Firstly, Oliver asks Hannah and Sheila what the role of President and Vice-President of the SFF requires off them.

In the interview, they discuss the historical significance of having three females leading the line for Scottish fishing and Oliver asks how they feel about Alistair Carmichael’s motion for a Parliamentary Recognition for the SFF.

Though Hannah and Sheila have only been in the role of president and vice-president a few months, Oliver asks it is too early to ask what they hope to achieve during their term as president and vice-president.

Looking forward to 2024, Oliver asks what Hannah and Sheila perceive as the biggest challenges facing the industry going forward, and how can these issues be dealt with. The industry is facing many challenges such as the expansion of offshore renewable energy, marine protected areas, and fuel costs, but the industry faces unproven allegations from non-governmental organisations who have somehow managed to gain the ear of the Scottish government. Oliver asks if Hannah and Sheila believe there are elements within government that would rather see an end to the sector, and if modern technology like remote electronic monitoring (REM) can help dispel the myths created by the ‘green agenda’.

In the interview, they also talk about the recommended cut in fishing opportunities for North Sea cod in 2024. ICES has advised a 13% cut in the TAC for North Sea. Oliver asks if this advice is realistic when compared to reading ICES’ own assessment that cod biomass is increasing, and he asks does the Council and the Coastal States have to go back to the drawing board on allocating areas.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation is in its 50th Year. Oliver asks, what legacy would Hannah and Sheila both like to leave in order to mark the occasion.

Hannah Fennell and Sheila Keith - President and Vice-President of the SFF

by The Fishing Daily Podcast on Spotify

Hannah Fennell and Sheila Keith - President and Vice-President of the SFF

by The Fishing Daily Podcast on Google

Podcast music used with permission of In Their Thousands – Acrasia © In Their Thousands 2018. Check out Spotify and visit their website.

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