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					Cate Bell

RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2006 Victorian runner-up
May your dreams and reality never be too far apart

I have been involved in the fishing industry for the past 30 years, working as a
deckhand, boat builder, accounts clerk, process worker, export manager, and logistics
and human resources manager. From 1985 my business grew from being a husband-
and-wife outfit to a medium-sized operation specialising in carp products for both the
domestic and the export markets and employing up to 18 staff.

My commitment to a sustainable future for the fishing industry and to the role of rural
women is evident in the positions I have held—among them as board member of the
Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community, Consolidated Fishermen Pty Ltd, the
Fisheries Co-Management Council and Seafood Industry Victoria. The fishing industry
has become a leader in adopting and implementing food safety regulations, and I have
undergone training and am an accredited associate food safety auditor.

My Rural Women’s Award ambition involved further study of food safety and practical
experience in order to achieve full accreditation as a food safety auditor, which would
allow me to move beyond the seafood industry to other agricultural sectors. In 20005 my
ambition was achieved and I became accredited as a Principal Auditor Food Safety
Scheme.

Since I participated in the Award my life has changed greatly. The drought has had a
dramatic effect on my business: where once we were exporting European carp for
human consumption to the European Union and Israel at the rate of about 30 tonnes of
processed product a week, today the business employs only one other person and the
business is mainly involved in working with the Department of Primary Industries and the
Catchment Management Authority on the movement of fish from the waterways as they
dry up.

I now work with a third-party auditing company full time, working in the areas of HACCP
(hazard analysis and critical control point) plans and auditing fish, meat and poultry. This
has been one of life’s learning curves for me as I travel around Victoria and see the way
the drought has changed so many people’s lives and the impact of the lack of water on
the vast, changing landscapes.

				
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posted:9/16/2012
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