Young Fish – networking for young people in the seafood industry

Photo credit: Young Fish website

The seafood industry is diverse and includes several opportunities for employment across the seafood supply chain. From fishing and marine farming to seafood processing, marketing and science.

In 2002, a group of likeminded young individuals from the aquaculture sector saw an opportunity to support talented young people making their mark and finding their pathway in the seafood sector.

When Josh Wyber, Ben Pierce and Maegen Blom got together to chat and catch up on industry news, it was obvious to them other young people (under 35) could also benefit from the opportunity to network with others in the industry and have an avenue for support.

The networking group, Young Fish, was formed and has now been operating for just over a year from their first event. Co-founder Ben Pierce has been instrumental in promoting the group more widely by attending and presenting at several events this past year.

Ben recently updated Seafood New Zealand with the following, in his own words, on how Young Fish is going.

“The work started with the creation of the Young Fish branding, our website and our social media. This provided a recognisable platform to grow the network and gain some traction. This sleek new branding made our vision feel so much more real. It felt there was truly something there to be excited about and the reaction from within the industry spoke for itself.

Since then, it’s been a blur! We’ve hosted eight networking events across the country, from Twizel to Auckland, attended careers days and spoken to Marlborough Boys College. Along the way, we’ve amassed a network of more than 140 people and counting, with a diverse mix of fishers, marine farmers, foodies, scientists, lawyers and students. It’s this diversity of connections where I believe the true value of our work is found. I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to those who’ve helped make this happen. FirstMate, the NZ Federation of Commercial Fishermen, Aquaculture New Zealand, Seafood New Zealand, Moananui and the countless companies that have contributed to date, thank you.

So, what is on the horizon for Young Fish?

We’re working towards three core objectives: 

• Attracting young people to the sector

• Building social and professional relationships

• Developing our young people to help them progress their careers.

To do this we’ll be attending public events, universities and schools and we’ll be further developing our social media presence, to share our stories and raise awareness of the opportunities in our sector. We’ll continue to organise regional Young Fish events, with a goal to reach more new fishing ports in the coming months. Finally, we’ll aim to provide development opportunities such as maritime training, leadership training, and skills development, and there’s certainly more to come.

We will be pulling together a small committee to help deliver these outcomes, so stay tuned as this could be a great opportunity for the young people in your organisation.

“The most rewarding part of the Young Fish journey so far is when my peers reach out to share just how much Young Fish has helped them and to watch them grow in their own careers. These people are my reason why I am onvolved and these people are the future of our industry”.

Find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or via our website (youngfish. to stay up to date.

Look forward to seeing you soon.

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