Shipowner and Secretary at OPROMAR. Cidade de Pontevedra.
Behind her calm and even somewhat shy expressions, Pilar hides the strong personality of a Brave Woman of the Sea. When she starts sharing her experience in the fisheries sector, we can see determination and confidence in her eyes. Every day, Pilar manages the family business that she inherited from her dad, where her brother also works as part of the crew of the vessel they own. She carries the fishing tradition in her veins from a very young age, when she visited the vessels and the fish auction market with her father.
As soon as she finished her studies, she did not hesitate to work in the sector, where she carries out administrative operations of all sorts, from managing personnel to ordering supplies, to planning ship repairs and to the supervising the unloading and fish auction market sales. Currently, she is also the secretary at OPROMAR, where she helps organize meetings to discuss topics of interest to the fleet.
Something positive about her work is her flexible schedule, which allows her to balance her professional and family lives and her personal interests.
At the same time, she admits that it is a very demanding world. Despite the flexibility, one must be available at all times because the vessel is working for nearly the whole year. She has to be available to provide solutions in the event that something unforeseen happens.
When she talks about her beginnings in fisheries, she does not hesitate to admit that she had to shield herself and prove her worth in order to be accepted in a very male-dominated world. She is convinced that men had to put less effort into this, as their worth is recognized from the very beginning.
She believes that, as a woman and due to her education and culture, she has a greater problem-solving capacity, which allows her not to become obsessed with problems and look for faster solutions with a wider perspective. She never lets anything get in her way: pure bravery.
“Teamwork is the pillar of the company”, she succinctly states without hesitation. She always makes this clear when she conducts a job interview. According to her, cooperation is essential for everything to work.
Without a doubt, the achievement that she values most is to still be working in the sector and, after so many years, managing to keep the company afloat. It has required a great effort and continuous updating. She talks with sadness about how other companies did not make it.
She considers herself a woman who is determined to improve the working conditions of her crew, so when she is asked about the greatest risk taken, she says that it was changing the fishing grounds in order to be closer to home and, therefore her family. It was a risky decision because everything had to be adapted: the land-based operations and the onboard fishing system. But it turned out well and now her crew can better balance their professional and private lives.
She looks gloomy when she thinks about the future of the sector. She believes there will be no future if there is not a new generation of crew members. She thinks that the problem starts with the fact that the profession is undervalued, an image that has to be changed from within the sector by drawing attention to the improvements achieved. She is also convinced that the best strategy is a financial strategy and that the salaries cannot improve if the price of fish is not regulated and given the value it deserves. “Prices do not reflect the work involved, as bringing the fish to land entails a lot of work, and those who are risking the most are the ones who earn the least,” she says with a certain frustration.