According to the Labour Market Outlook 2015, released by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in September, the prospect of a future career in the fishing industry is positive.
In the next 10 years, it is expected that the need for trained fish harvesters will outnumber the supply — with more than 3,500 job openings expected from 2015 to 2025.
We need to encourage and recruit younger men and women into the fishery. This means, promoting the industry as a viable, rewarding career.
Another key driver will be to transfer the knowledge of existing fish harvesters to those new to the industry. This includes helping the younger generation see past the stigma and challenges in the industry to the real benefits such as being able to make a good living in their own community in a modern and progressive sector.
While the Professional Fish Harvester Certification Board, Fish Harvester Safety Association, Fish Food and Allied Workers union and other organizations have pushed for the professionalization of the fishery, there is still more to be done to focus attention on how the fishery of today has evolved into a modern, high-tech, lucrative career option for our youth.
Highlighting the training options available to new and future harvesters will also be crucial.
Industry training in the areas of safety and operational requirements has improved considerably over the years. Offerings are now more flexible to meet the changing needs of harvesters, such as ensuring that programs are available in the fall and winter months to help grow the skills of workers.
The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University also offers a number of courses in the Fishing Masters program online.
The goal is to provide a more flexible and self-paced program that reduces the demand of cost and time for the harvester. The combination of classroom and online instruction is an ideal blended learning approach to education delivery.
As Labour Market Outlook 2015 shows, there is certainly a positive outlook for those interested in careers as fishing vessel masters and fisherpersons.
Ensuring that we properly prepare our next wave of fish harvesters will be very important to the fishery going forward.
To find out more, view the full Labour Market Outlook found on the Department of Advanced Education and Skills website at: www.aes.gov.nl.ca/publications/pdf/labour_market_outlook2025.pdf.
For more details on the education and training available at the Marine Institute, visit www.mi.mun.ca/cbed.