WiSA members Mary Fraser, head of skills and talent at SAIC, left, and Teresa Garzon. Photo: WiSA / SAIC.

Women in Scottish Aquaculture group launches digital hub

Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) has revealed plans for a new online forum launching next month, designed to connect more than 300 members, promote diversity, and highlight the range of opportunities for women in the sector.

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The launch comes alongside changes to the WiSA advisory group, with three new faces joining the core team. Donald Waring, learning and development manager at salmon farmer Mowi; Helena Reinardy, training fellow and researcher at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and Matilda Lomas-MacKenzie, biology and cleaner fish coordinator at the Scottish Salmon Company, replace previous group members.  

The digital forum has been funded by Marine Scotland and will provide a virtual space for members to connect with one another, access exclusive events, share career and training opportunities, and engage in discussions around diversity and inclusion in the sector.

Virtual launch event

WiSA members, and anyone working in the sector interested in joining the network, are invited to meet the new advisory group and join a live demonstration of the new platform as part of a virtual launch event at 11am on Friday, October 1.

The development of the online forum follows the success of a similar initiative by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), which launched a collaboration hub for its consortium members in July. WiSA was founded in partnership with SAIC and launched on International Women’s Day 2019 to celebrate the role of women in aquaculture, promote diversity and support career development.

WiSA chair Teresa Garzon, UK key account manager for Norwegian fish health and diagnostics company PatoGen Ltd, said: “The launch of the digital forum is an important milestone for WiSA. More than ever, we have come to recognise the power and value of online connections and resources during the past 18 months. Our aim is to ensure that aquaculture companies continue to have access to a diverse talent pool that can help the sector to develop and grow, with equal opportunities for all.

“We have just completed a second round of our over-subscribed mentoring programme, connecting leaders in aquaculture with ambitious women looking to develop their careers and skills. The online forum will allow members to nurture their existing relationships, made through the mentoring programme and other WiSA events and initiatives, as well as connecting with others from across the sector.”

SAIC chief executive Heather Jones said Scottish aquaculture’s wide geographical spread reinforced the need for equality and fair opportunities for people all over the country.

“With an online platform to encourage engagement and discussion, our members can get involved with important conversations around diversity in aquaculture and pave the way for the next generation coming into the sector.”

Register for the forum launch event and demo here.