Women in aquaculture: Isabel Represas
Isabel Represas, regional sales director at INVE Aquaculture, discusses the opportunities and challenges facing fish farming in the Mediterranean, and what it takes to keep pace with a rapidly evolving industry
Modern fish farming in the Mediterranean began in the 1980s with the cultivation of popular carnivorous finfish such as sea bass and sea bream. Much progress has been made since, with research in reproduction, larval culture, technology and feed manufacturing leading to a range of large-scale operations. Results have been significant, not only in the production of fresh, high-quality fish, but also in the establishment of a socio-economic structure with thousands of employees.
As INVE Aquaculture’s regional sales director for Europe the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Isabel Represas is playing a key part in Mediterranean fish farming. In 2017 she produced a report entitled “Progress and trends in Mediterranean marine fish hatcheries” and believes the sector will only continue to evolve further.
Briefly describe your aquaculture career
I come from a varied background. I have a degree in economics and business administration from the University of Santiago de Compostela and a masters in international business from IESIDE Business School. After graduating, I had a number of jobs in different sectors, but was very quickly drawn to aquaculture and its role in supporting food production worldwide. Aquaculture combines various elements to turn a fragile life into solid growth. It can be very technical and scientific but is still a business with various related challenges.
I joined the aquaculture sector just when marine fish activity in the Mediterranean started growing. The two main species produced were sea bass and sea bream. The company I currently work at, INVE Aquaculture, gave me the opportunity to develop my career in this field. After holding different positions at the INVE branch in Spain, and later as area manager for western Europe, I was appointed sales director for the EMEA region. We are now part of Benchmark Holdings, supporting our customers in taking better care throughout the culture lifecycle – covering genetics, health, nutrition and the environment.
What inspired you to start in aquaculture?
I grew up in an area of the Spanish Atlantic coast surrounded by the sea and by plenty of mussel farms. The culture of mussels was already at an industrial level and playing an important role in the region’s economy. Part of my university studies was related to the branding of those molluscs and I was impressed by the whole process of farming the sea. Later, I visited a turbot hatchery and discovered how fascinating it was to care for marine life, from larvae to harvest.
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