A true female powerhouse within the South African fishing industry, Shamera Daniels is passionate about transforming the sector and encouraging other ambitious women to step up and take their place in the world.
Having started her career in 1996 as a file clerk at the Department of Sea Fisheries, Shamera quickly worked her way up the ranks, relishing in the many positive twists, turns and opportunities that the industry had to offer.
“It was so exciting to meet people in the industry and to come to understand its diversity and complexity. No two days are ever the same and most industry experts are willing to share and impart their knowledge,” she says.
“From her position of administrative officer, Shamera stepped into the role of Head of The Allocations and Verification Unit before eventually moving into a management position at Deloitte. In 2006, she then spread her wings as a formidable businesswoman and opened up her own consultancy, SDB Consulting, based in Cape Town. As of today, Shamera is also the chairperson of West Coast Rock Lobster Association and the vice-chairperson of FishSA, to name just a few of her notable accolades.”
Shamera talks about how she always had a love for the ocean growing up and explains how a few family members on her mother’s side were heavily involved in fishing. She studied marketing at university but says that she’s thrilled to have wound up in such a fascinating sector, despite it not being on her radar to start off with. She’s especially proud to be one of the most respected woman operating within the industry, highlighting how she hopes more women will walk through the doors in the future.
“We don’t have enough women in the industry, especially on owner and management levels. The women are there. They just need to be given the opportunities.”
Shamera believes that it’s the nature of the fishing industry that is preventing more women from making waves.
“In the beginning, I often found myself having to raise my voice in order to be heard. I don’t shout anymore. Now I demand that everyone listens.”
It’s all about having that important conversation regularly, bringing the gender issue to the fore constantly and consistently, Shamera explains.
“Powerful women make such a difference in an organisation. When you get powerful, knowledgeable women in a room, we get things done. And when you see the impact of this, you want it everywhere! To every woman out there – find your voice and don’t apologise for it. Fight for it. Be true to yourself. Women are going to change the world!”
“According to Shamera, it’s not just gender-related change that the industry is desperate for either. At the moment, she patiently awaits news regarding the Fishing Rights Allocations Process (FRAP), which is due towards the end of the year, to see whether or not government is going to make the sector changes necessary for the industry’s sustainability, particularly in relation to SMME’ economic viability.”
“The government needs to be courageous. I’m hopeful they’ll do what needs to be done,” Shamera concludes.