“Though my internship I learned the value of working in a dedicated and motivated team who believe that the work and projects we do will result in a positive change in the environment for the benefit of society.”
Wisaal was always encouraged by her family to explore her passions and follow her dreams. Her mother, a single parent, raised four daughters who have all pursued different career paths: a scientist, a doctor, an accountant and an engineer. At school Wisaal enjoyed the structure and rules of accounting, while biology appealed to her curiosity about the working of the world around her. At primary school a visit from an environmental speaker got her hooked on fish biology, sparking her passion for marine research. In her spare time Wisaal dresses up to support her favorite sports teams, and enjoys belly dancing and participating in triathlons.
Wisaal attained an Undergraduate degree in Zoology and Ecology and an Honours degree in Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town. She continued her Masters in Applied Marine Science at UCT. Her research involved ecosystem modeling of how the Southern Benguela Ecosystem responded to human and natural pressures, and the communication of those results to fisheries managers.
During her internship in the WWF-SA Sustainable Fisheries Programme, Wisaal assisted with the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) listing assessments, as well as the ecological risk assessments for fisheries. She also conducted SASSI outreach for consumers and restaurateurs, which involved training and updating materials to help them gain a better understanding of seafood sustainability and its importance. The internship exposed Wisaal to the different activities of the Marine Programme, and showed her the value of working in a dedicated and motivated team. Wisaal’s advice to young people entering the sector is to be passionate about working in the conservation sector, as this will better prepare them to embrace challenges involved in their work when they arise.
Wisaal is currently the Outreach Officer for the SASSI Consumer Awareness Programme and her work expands on the tasks which were started during her internship. She looks forward to applying scientific research findings, developing herself as an applied scientist in marine conservation over the career.