N.L. fisheries certificates in good shape

Andrew Robinson
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Report identifies training shortfalls at higher levels

A new study that looks at how compliant fish harvesters are when it comes to obtaining various safety certifications has good things to say about Newfoundland and Labrador.
The study, titled “Transport Canada Regulatory Training Needs Assessment,” also assesses the training capacity of institutions based on future and present needs.
According to the 64-page study prepared by the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters (CCPFH), Newfoundland and Labrador’s professional registration board provides great training and keeps excellent data, making it a model for the rest of the country.

Mark Clowe helps unload crab from the fishing vessel Atlantic Champion in this file photo. A new study from the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters has some good things to say about the level of safety training for harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador. — Telegram file photo

The non-profit Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board (PFHCB) — established in 1997 — is responsible for such services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Out of the 11,560 total seafarers in Newfoundland and Labrador (of which 10,139 are registered fish harvesters), 5,022 are required to have a Marine Emergency Duties (MED) certificate. The study found that 9,279 harvesters actually have that certificate based on PHCB records, resulting in a 185 per cent compliance rate. The study said this figure is likely so high because many of the harvesters also hold higher-level certificates.

“This is the only province with a large fishing fleet where the current training provision appears to be keeping pace with MED requirement,” the study states in its commentary section for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The numbers also look good when it comes to the Fishing Master III (FM3) certificate. While only 170 harvesters are required to have that certificate in Newfoundland and Labrador, the study found there are actually 486 harvesters with that certificate.

The study identified significant shortfalls when it came to PHCB records for the Fishing Master IV (FM4)  — a longer training program requiring more time and money — and Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP) certificates, though the study clarified it “seems unlikely that non-compliance is so high.”

A further estimate of actual fish harvester certification requirements for the province identified a substantial over-qualification at the FM3 level, but a shortfall of approximately 1,263 required certificates at the FM4 level and 305 at the SVOP level. The study suggests PFHCB records could be missing data on certificates awarded by institutions other than the Marine Institute.

On training capacity, the study found only two of the eight institutions listed for approved training courses serving the province offered courses applicable to harvesters. Based on data and responses provided to an e-questionnaire, the study determined such institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador have capacity to deliver courses to approximately five-10 times as many harvesters as they currently are, depending on the course.

The study suggests PFHCB and the Marine Institute could take care of the shortfall for SVOP certificates in less than two years.



Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board, Small Vessel Operator Proficiency, Newfoundland and Labrador.The

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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