The Evolution Of Women’s Industry Network

The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) was formed in 1996 by a group of women fishing in South Australia.  In 1998 The Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community (WINSC) developed into a National body with organisations in each state.

After operating under the WINSC banner for 20 years, the organisation launched a re-branding at the WINSC 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner in October 2018 and emerged as WISA – Women in Seafood Australasia.

WISA is dedicated to continuing the work of WINSC by raising the profile of women in the seafood industry by supporting, promoting, encouraging, representing women in the Australasian Seafood Industry.

WISA is working towards ways to better connect with their members and all seafood women across the Australasian Seafood Industry

The objectives of WISA are:
  • Recognise and enhance the skills of seafood women.
  • Develop effective partnerships with government agencies and other industry stakeholders.
  • Take a professional approach to all activities and relationships with other stakeholders.
  • Create a supportive environment to ensure women of the fishing industry reach their potential.
  • Actively encourage the involvement of seafood women.
  • Provide community education on all aspects of the seafood industry.
The History of WISA
Traditionally there has been a little emphasis placed on the role and contribution of women in the Australian seafood industry. Many other Australian primary industries, most notably dairy and grains, have invested significant resources in developing the role and skills of women. This has resulted in the more effective use of what was an untapped resource in developing the industry.

During 1996 and 1997 a group of women associated with the commercial sector of the fishing industry (the ‘seafood industry’) in South Australia began working together to address the situation. This resulted in the formulation of the South Australian Women’s Industry Network (SA WIN).

In February of 1998, SA WIN hosted a Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) sponsored workshop entitled ‘Capitalising on the Talents of Women in the South Australian Fishing Industry’, FRDC Project 1997/348. One of the results of the workshop was the development of a four-point Action Plan for future operations of the network so that it might best serve the needs of the seafood industry nationally. In June 2000, the national Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community (WINSC) was formed and incorporated as a Registrable Australian Body.

Today, WISA is the only national organisation in Australia which represents the women of the seafood industry. It provides a unique network role in untapping a valuable resource of Australia. Through the provision of a newsletter and email links, WISA provides support, encouragement and the dissemination of information to women working in all aspects of the seafood industry.

WISA has developed strong partnerships with the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector women with support from the Rural Industries Section of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, State/Territory governments and peak seafood industry bodies and associations. WISA takes a practical approach to the professional development of skills by raising the profile of women involved in the seafood industry.

Seafood women want to be more visibly active and involved in their industry. Gender-specific groups aid the initial development of confidence, building trust and create a safe learning environment. Experiential learning increases the likelihood of long-term change.Increasing the capacity of seafood women will result in a positive contribution to the industry as a whole.