OPROMAR SHIPOWNER. Bueu, Pontevedra.

Encarna spends most of her day at the fish auction market, or actually we should say most of her night. She is responsible for receiving the goods from her vessel, supervising the unloading and the sale of these goods and verifying that the administrative procedures are running on course.

She admits that she really enjoys what she does, especially as it keeps her away from monotony. Every day is different for her and despite the long nights, she is happy doing it.

She is a Brave Woman of the Sea and, although there are more and more women leading land-based fishing enterprises, her beginnings were not so easy. She is the second of five siblings and the only daughter. She was born into a fishing family, as her father had a small fishing boat and her mother was in charge of selling the catch.

When she and her brothers grew up, each one picked a position in order to contribute to the family business. A woman on board was not common back then, so she decided to study and get her training in administrative management.

She was very young when she started in the sector. She remembers that people would call her “nena”, which means girl in Galician, and she had to earn respect from others because she was a young woman in a sector full of men. In spite of this, she feels that she has found her place and she feels appreciated by her colleagues.

She believes that women do not bring anything extra to the table in this sector, but they contribute to and are an important part of it. She does not see her work as an independent task in her company and is convinced that a good team guarantees success in every facet of life.

She was already in charge of the company when they decided to get involved in the risky project of building a new vessel that would allow them to update and improve their fishing operations. She remembers that time as one full of uncertainty, especially because catches were not the best. She still believed that it was a necessary investment and is convinced that bettering oneself every day is essential in order to thrive.

Her greatest achievement, she says with a grin on her face, was being able to keep the company afloat despite the adversities faced and the risks taken.

For her, the future of the sector should involve attracting qualified personnel to work on board, by showing how conditions in vessels have greatly improved during the last few years. The future should also include obtaining more favorable quotas in order to face the future with certainty, which would help deal with all the uncertainties and being able to take risks that would enable the sector to keep evolving.