Annabelle Cheminel spoke to students from her former school about her daily life as a fisherwoman in a world that is still very male-dominated.
Anabelle Cheminel addressed a group of secondary school students from her former school, the Lycée Maritime et Aquacole d’Etel, to talk about her daily life as a fisherwoman.
After watching a documentary on women fishing captains in Canada, Anabelle simply answered the questions asked by the students ; some of them were not convinced or even reticent about the role of women on a fishing boat.
Do you belong to a fishing family?
Not at all, my family has no connection whatsoever with the world of the sea; I’ve always been attracted by the sea. I took part in a few regattas. I went to Etel maritime vocational high school in the Merchant marine class. But I quickly realised that it wasn’t for me, so I immediately switched to the fishing class.
After graduating in 2020, I was soon on board fishing boats. I’m currently based in Saint-Cast-Le-Guildo (Côtes d’ Armor) on a trawler – dredger called "Coquillard".
As a young woman, how does that work for you?
I’ve never had any problems getting accepted on any of the boats I’ve worked on. I had to be tested, of course. But I’ve shown that being a woman doesn’t mean that I can’t do the same as men, even if at times it is difficult.
People say that special facilities are needed to accommodate women on board a fishing boat, what about you?
Frankly, I don’t mind sharing the same living quarters as my male colleagues. I sleep in a small bunk just like them, there’s no difference. It’s simply a question of shared respect. When we go on sea trips to Scotland or elsewhere, I’m not going to ask to stay in a five-star hotel! We don’t have enough time to ask ourselves that kind of question. We’re together to work, to be responsible for each other.
How do you see your future?
My aim is to be a skipper, to have my own fishing boat and to continue working. My current skipper totally supports me Whether you’re a man or a woman, you have to go for it, there is no way backwards. Each sailor has his own job, that’s all.
Translated by Anne Le Bloa and Danièle le Sann