Women In Fishing | Cindy Clements
Cindy Clements is the ultimate PEI fisher-mom, mother to the last woman in the Spartan Marine spotlight, Vanessa Clements. She’s been fishing alongside her husband since she was 17 years old, and the two of them have taken on lobster, herring, and mackerel fishing as a team. Cindy loves a good hard day’s work, and counts every blessing in being able to watch the sunrise every morning.
With 34 years under her belt and the strength that comes with fishing lobster right up until 8 months pregnant, Cindy is a fantastic representation of the amazing women working in the fishing industry. Spartan Marine was lucky enough to speak with Cindy and ask her some questions about her experience in the fishing industry – this is what she shared with us…
How long have you been in the fishing industry?
I have been fishing for 34 years now.
How did you get started in the fishing industry?
I grew up on a farm and whenever I started to date my now-husband when I was 17 years old I fished with him and his father. We fished cod nets, mackerel, herring, and lobsters. Now I mainly just fish lobster.
What’s your favourite part about working in the fishing industry?
My favourite part is honestly everything. I love putting in a hard days work even on the rough days, they do not bother me at all! I watch the sunrise every morning. I have enjoyed perfecting my skills on the boat and being my own boss!
Have you experienced any roadblocks in the industry because you’re a woman? If so, how did you overcome those struggles?
Well especially in my early years it was hard for me to prove myself with fishing and other men not thinking women should be in the industry. Some people would think I’m joking when I would tell them I fish lobsters. It was also very hard for me to be away from my children when they were so young and finding someone I could trust to watch them. I never was able to watch my kids go to their first day of school. There are always sacrifices but it is all worth it.
Can you share your greatest achievement or fondest memory since working in the fishing industry?
I will never forget the very first time I went drifting mackerel. We went to sleep in the boat out at sea and the next morning our engine wouldn’t start. We had to leave our nets and wait for someone to come tow us into the harbour. After getting fixed up we headed back out and it was storming badly. Our nets were loaded and lightning was striking right next to us. We finally made it in safely after being out for 2 days. Safe to say we did not go the next night.
My greatest accomplishment would have to be sticking with it for so many years. My husband and I would fish lobster, herring, and mackerel just the 2 of us when most boats have at least 3 people. I also fished until I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter Vanessa who now also fishes lobster!
What would you tell a young woman wanting to get into the fishing industry? Do you have any advice?
You definitely have to be committed if you want to get into fishing. It is no fun and games but if you have a passion for it you will learn to love it all. Also, you better not get seasick!