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Lone female crew member joins fishing vessel

May 8, 2019 10:32 am
Lupe Meitakui He’Ofa

Being the first female crew member on board a fishing vessel is an experience Lupe Meitakui He’Ofa will cherish.

She currently serves a 12-month practical onboard a Solander (Pacific) Limited fishing vessel.

He’Ofa, 19, recently graduated from the Fiji National University’s Fiji Maritime Academy Stage 1 theoretical course of the Deck Hand Fishing Programme.

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Students undertaking the programme are provided tuition-only scholarships coordinated by WWF-Pacific through funding from the New Zealand Aid programme.

He’Ofa says the Basic Sea Safety, Basic Sea Survival Techniques, Firefighting and First Aid training she received during the theoretical course enabled her to be confident out at sea during her attachment.

According to the Solander V skipper, Captain Sesoni Vinakailoma says this was the first time the vessel had a female crew member.

He’Ofa added that the bycatch module of the programme, which addresses the need for greater awareness and education on sustainable offshore fishing practices, made her conscious of the need to protect endangered species out at sea.

She highlighted that despite being part of a male-dominated working environment, she was confident that females could succeed in any field through hard work and determination.

He’Ofa is one of eight apprentices currently undergoing their practical with Solander (Pacific) Limited.

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