TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In June, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Aquaculture hosted its inaugural Women of the Water Conference. The two-day conference was held in partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and Florida Sea Grant. Welcome message to the conference can be viewed here.
The conference focused on research, community, collaboration, and celebration. Attendees from various aspects of the aquaculture industry and multiple states came together to network, share their experiences, and discuss issues facing women in the field.
“Women comprise nearly half of fishery and aquaculture workers worldwide, but their contributions are often overlooked due to a focus on the complexities of harvesting,” said Commissioner Fried. “Women are integral to all aspects of aquaculture: business, technology, research, education, regulation, and environmental conservation. It’s my hope that this conference will provide a path toward more opportunities and recognition for women in Florida’s aquaculture industry and beyond.”
Taking place at Mote in Sarasota, conference programming included oral and poster presentations, interactive workshops, a tour of Mote Aquaculture Research Park, and roundtable discussions on the challenges and potential solutions for women and gender minorities in aquaculture. Data from the roundtable discussions and feedback forms are being synthesized for a public conference report. The report and additional materials will be posted on the conference website as they are available.
“The success of the inaugural Women of the Water Workshop was due to the broad participation of women from all sectors of aquaculture (industry, research, government, faculty, students, NGOs),” said Dr. Kevan Main, Director of Mote Aquaculture Research Park. “The attendees freely shared their knowledge, experience, inspiration and vision during this 2-day workshop, which Mote as more than happy to host.”
“This event was wide reaching, bringing together women from all sectors of the aquaculture industry, academia, and government,” said Division of Aquaculture Director Portia Sapp. “The conference provided a forum for women to share successes and areas we can focus on to increase the role and number of women in the industry. I am excited about the connections formed and the progress that will be made following this first Women of the Water conference.”