Today we present you with Talent View Wanting to learn more about the experiences of women in the industry and also understand how the industry is developing in Chile I went ahead and had a conversation with Katharina Correa. She is a 32-year-old Veterinarian, graduated from Universidad de Chile, was born in Santiago Metropolitan Region but raised in Puerto Montt. Once she graduated from college, she made it a goal to move back to her hometown. Where she is now working for AquaChile as a Genetic Development Assistant. Katharina is also the mother of two, and I am really happy I get to share her voice with all of you.
Chilean Aquaculture comprises the third-largest in the world and makes up about 12% of global production. In a country with 18.7 million inhabitants, the industry provides direct employment to at least 25.000 people and indirect employment to 10.000 people. Out of which at least 30% are Women.
Salmon production takes a big part in the Aquaculture industry in Chile. Producing, as of 2018, 844.000 tonnes. But in rising is the production of Scallops, Oysters, and Abalones. AquaChile is the second-largest Salmon producer in the world.
Why did Katharina Correa decided to become a veterinarian and join the Aquaculture industry?
She always liked animals, a lot, but she always knew she was never meant to work directly with animals, she was more into research, but Veterinarian medicine was a career path that would let her dive deep into research and be close to animals as well. She says veterinary as a career is broad and that is the reason she decided to study that in the first place.
As for why aquaculture, she wanted to move back to Puerto Montt after school, and some of the people she knew in town were already in the industry, so it was a great inlet for her to start her bachelor’s dissertation back in 2012, plus, it was a good field to perform research on animals, “aquaculture is an industry that is so open to research and development” it represented a big field where she could do what she liked, and unlike with other animals, working with aquatic species was not as developed in Chile as it is today. Katharina still lives in Puerto Montt, she started building a family and she is there to stay and keep growing with the industry.
She is working in Nutrition and Genetics for AquaChile
“When I got back from my maternity leave in June 2019, I found out that now I was also having to perform the task on the nutrition division for the company. So I’m in both areas right now. Where I analyze nutrition data related to production and I provide support in analyzing genetical data for production as well”. 4 people, 3 out of which are women, make up her team.
She describes her experience in the industry as a fulfilling one, “it has given me the opportunity to learn plenty, and meet interesting and valuable people” she has seen plenty of changes, given AquaChile acquisition of several other medium and small size companies throughout the year, she has had the opportunity to grow with the company and watch it grow as years go by. “in this new position I am at in nutrition I have been able to see and learn things I hadn’t heard of since my bachelors and that has given me the opportunity to utilize my knowledge in a more complete way, genetics, plus nutrition, and having them englobed in one has been really interesting, has made me really happy, actually”
Challenges in the industry Katharina has faced
Keeping herself updated with everything. The aquaculture industry and specifically the genetics area is one that grows really fast. “Something that was current and published last month might be outdated by the next. New technologies, new research, new developments. So having to keep me updated, plus doing my job efficiently and being a mom, is definitely a challenge. But I learned how to keep up with everything. I have had sufficient support from my husband and from my employer for everything”. She feels happy about how everything has turned out. Katharina Correa nd has been able to find that balance between being a mother and being efficient at her job.
What does Katharina Correa say to future generations of women?
“I would tell them that there’s plenty of things to do in here. That they should dive in provided they have an interest in the industry. Being a woman in this industry doesn’t play against you. We need a lot more women to jump on board. With their help, development in more areas will happen. And they shouldn’t be afraid. And personally, aquaculture has been a beautiful challenge”.