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AQT Spotlight on Trini Pratiwi – Being a Woman in Aquaculture

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The Aquaculture industry is an open window for many countries and cultures. In the past, we spoke about how millions of people rely on this industry for livelihoods and sustenance. One of the most interesting things I have found is how it pushes the economy in the most remote places. I recently had the opportunity to meet Trini Pratiwi for our AQT Spotlights. Trini is 29 years old from Indonesia. Currently working for Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative as Project Manager. Today I want to share Trini ‘s Aquaculture story with all of you, as it is a very interesting one.

Why Aquaculture

In this section, we have been able to see all kinds of reasons why people chose Aquaculture as a career. For Trini, it never came across her head to choose Aquaculture. She wanted to be a diplomat or be in International affairs, or even something related to engineering. “Somehow I was directed to the faculty near my hometown and I kind of jumped in aquaculture for the first semester. Then I found that Aquaculture had a lot of engineering, with system design and biology aspects of the reared organism. We also act as doctors and nutritionists for the organisms, making sure that they are living in a best-controlled media to support their growth. So the big picture of Aquaculture is what made me become really interested. Aquaculture provides the possibility of rearing life and then providing nutritious food in places with lower access”.

About Being an International Student

Trini earned her Bachelor of Science in Fisheries majoring in Aquaculture at Universitas Brawijaya in Indonesia. But ever since her second year of her bachelor’s she was determined to scale her career and learn English. So she applied to many universities and scholarships abroad. “Because I am aware of how limited opportunities are in Indonesia. Even though we are the so-called second-largest Aquaculture producer in the world, job opportunities are not very promising for women in the country. I knew I had to secure a scholarship and leverage myself with more skills. Which included learning English.

This is why she went to Australia to earn her Master of Applied Sciences in Marine Environments at the University of Tasmania. She describes it as an awesome experience. where she had the opportunity to work and learn about temperate species, which are not available in Indonesia. “Here we only have tropical species. There I got to learn about interesting temperate species. Like Salmon, Giant Kelp. I spent one year researching on deploying two kelp species. With the goal of them absorbing excess nutrients from the salmon industry in Tasmania. This would reduce the environmental impact under integrated multi-trophic Aquaculture. The whole two years were really inspiring and it opened a lot of doors back home”.

Trini, A Woman in Aquaculture

“Honestly, in Indonesia, the industry is dominated by men. Women always appear in smaller numbers all around the world. We, women, have to prove ourselves all the time. When I got back from my master’s I got to work at the Ministry of Marine Affairs. A place that encourages women’s leadership up until this day. Directors and high officials are mostly men. Women are very few compared to them. It is really difficult for women. We have to be extremely assertive and innovative in this industry. It is challenging, sometimes, to point out my personal opinions and have them widely acknowledged.

Back in my bachelor days, around 60% of my peers were women. But today, most of them are working outside the sector. Job opportunities in aquaculture for women in Indonesia are very limited. Mostly to laboratory, administration, or research. However, these opportunities are growing. The industry is becoming more open and available for women”

What is the Aquaculture Industry

Even though she describes job opportunities as very limited for women, she has pushed forward to get to where she wants to be. For Trini, the aquaculture industry is inviting and surprising. The technology that grows and has people from all fields and disciplines participate in aquaculture processes. “It makes the industry more diverse. They come with fresher ideas and a different perspective, which enriches our processes and result immensely”. And is surprising because even though we all know the industry is huge worldwide, it comes to a point where everyone knows everyone. “An industry that is so connecting is an industry that will be welcoming to you. And makes people from the outside, investors and governments gain more interest in it, and make it grow”.

What Drives You?

What makes Trini maintain her interest in this industry? She says the fact there is always a best new thing into aquaculture. During her academic formation, she considered herself a nerd. Reading about new designs, and new elements and technologies in aquaculture. “So many fields can add spice and perspective into aquaculture. I always imagine more and where we can be at. The thing that makes me passionate about this industry is definitely the possibility to keep learning and keep growing. And being able to link the industry with finances, with agriculture and other different things”.

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And the other passion that she has for this industry is the fact that she likes animals so much and she gets to be close to them or work towards their wellbeing. “It’s great you can design whole systems and watch them growing and happy. And then you can have a high ROI as well as provide livelihoods for people. Aquaculture yields higher revenues for communities it grows around of. When managed properly, it has a low environmental impact. I believe Aquaculture is the best alternative for livelihood improvement in developing countries. The industry is a space that can implement IoT, Blockchain, and AI more easily, and that opens a lot more windows. Windows into a better and more sustainable Aquaculture Industry”.

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