The demand for fish harvester training is high and the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland is working hard to meet the need across Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond.
Encouraging young professionals to take an interest in the industry has been challenging in recent years. However, MI continues to provide potential fish harvesters with a variety of options for training to prepare them for careers in this rewarding sector.
This past year more than 100 students participated in fishing industry training. Courses were delivered in communities throughout the province, including the Fishing Masters Class IV programs which took place in Port Saunders, La Scie, Lewisporte, Clarenville, Marystown, Carbonear, the Marine Institute’s Ridge Road campus as well as online.
The Fishing Masters IV programs offered by MI helps fish harvesters meet Transport Canada requirements for operating their vessels and gives credits towards becoming a Level II Fish Harvester with the Professional Fish Harvester Certification Board.
This year, MI’s Community Based Education Delivery (CBED) saw an increase in the number of young professionals enrolled in programs.
In 2016-2017, more than 60 per cent of the students enrolled in the Fishing Masters programs were under the age of 40 and over 30 per cent of the students were in their 20s — marking a significant change in the history of fishing masters training programs.
Many trainees took part in the online training available over the past year. Online is a viable option for many students, particularly as it provides flexibility to study in the off season. Younger professionals are also availing of this option as they are quite comfortable with technology and see it as the most efficient way to accomplish their goals.
In addition to Newfoundland and Labrador students, the online training has provided students across Canada with the opportunity to take part. This year, the team delivered a full Fishing Masters program to the Ontario Commercial Fish Harvesters Association, with students taking four courses online and receiving in-class instruction from MI instructors who travelled to Ontario to facilitate.
To ensure that trainees are aware of the learning opportunities available and to stay abreast of industry needs, MI works closely with partners in the sector — taking part in events such as the North Atlantic Fish and Workboat Show, the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association (NL-FHSA) annual symposium and serving on the advisory boards of the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board and NL-FHSA.
The need for new fishing industry professionals continues to grow and MI is already seeing interest in programs for next season. A Fishing Master Class III program is already scheduled for Lewisporte starting in the fall of 2017 and MI is seeing interest in a Fishing Master Class II program in Carbonear as well.
As interest and demand progresses over the next few months, MI will identify key areas in the province for program delivery for the fall/winter training season.