Women In Fishing | Kathleen Clements
This month we have an extra special Women in Fishing profile all about Kathleen Clements. Does that last name sound familiar to you? If you’ve been keeping up with our monthly posts over on Facebook, you may have noticed that Kathleen Clements is the THIRD Clements lady we have interviewed for this project. First, we started with Vanessa Clements, then her mom, Cindy Clements, and now we’re talking to Cindy’s mom Kathleen – that’s right, three generations of amazing women working in the Atlantic Canadian fishing industry!
Kathleen Clements in her own words, “worked hard and played hard” in her time in the fishing industry. She fished with many people over the years and built lifelong memories on the boat. She experienced many ups and many downs but her greatest ‘up’ was providing for her children while imparting the experiences to be able to go on and start their own fishing business.
Spartan Marine was lucky enough to speak with Kathleen 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 started fishing on the ocean with my husband in 1983, but helped him with the gear, and the boat, since 1960. I would repair traps and paint the boat, but mostly I knitted heads for lobster traps. I fished for a total of 20 years, in the boat.
How did you get started in the fishing industry?
My father fished, so it was nothing new to me when I married Cecil. So I guess you could say that I started when we got married in 1960.
What’s your favourite part about working in the fishing industry?
I loved being outdoors, especially on the water – every day it was a surprise to see some of the different kinds of fish that would get caught in the nets or traps. We never knew what we would see next!
Have you experienced any roadblocks in the industry because you’re a woman? If so, how did you overcome those struggles?
People said that I was just in the boat to “collect stamps” however, I went to work every day and I did my part in the boat every day. It was looked at as odd or different, but I overcame it by proving them all wrong.
Can you share your greatest achievement or fondest memory since working in the fishing industry?
My husband and I worked very very hard to provide for our 6 children. We have 3 boys and 3 girls. One of our greatest achievement was us being able to give them the experience to start their own fishing business.
What would you tell a young woman wanting to get into the fishing industry? Do you have any advice?
It has to be something that u love, it’s a tough job, I’m not gonna sugar coat it and say it’s easy because it’s not. Most people think it’s a fun trip in the boat, however, you have to endure some pretty nasty weather, break downs, lost gear, damaged gear etc… You have to be extremely careful while fishing. It’s no joke out there. But don’t get me wrong, I loved my job and there were a lot of great days in the boat. Fishing doesn’t stop when the season is over, that just meant we worked during our months off to repair gear and do the necessary things to get ready for the next fishing season.
A big thank you goes out to Kathleen for sharing her story with Spartan Marine, and to her daughter Lynsey who helped capture her experiences. It was a pleasure getting to learn about and share a bit of your story as a woman in the fishing industry, and the matriarch of what would become three generations of amazing fisher-women!