A certification process that validates fishers’ level of skill and ability, investments in training costs and support for the harvesting sector are the three main objectives of the Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Board of Nova Scotia, which was launched last October.
Nova Scotia fish harvesters can obtain and pay for their Personal Fisher Registration (PFR) through the new board for a $50 fee.
“PFR fees collected through the board stay here in Nova Scotia and are used to invest in training, skills and safety developments for the local industry,” says Norma Richardson, Board Chair.
“The board is here to support and strengthen the industry, ensuring its economic viability so Nova Scotia fish harvesters can continue to work in it for generations to come.”
The idea behind the Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Board began in 1991 as a plan to create a province-wide program for all PFR holders in Nova Scotia.
“This new organization came from a lot of hard work and dedication from industry leaders,” says Lisa Fitzgerald, executive director of the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council (NSFSC). The NSFSC has worked as the project coordinator getting the board off the ground since the beginning.
“We see value in having a board such as this and the value will be felt by fish harvesters for years to come,” said Fitzgerald.
“Thirty years of dedication because we believe this is the best option for fish harvesters. This will provide fish harvesters with a resource to help support and offset training costs in Nova Scotia. Funds collected from registration will be used to provide discounts on training. Also, there is a certification process as well that recognizes fish harvesters based on their years of experience and training obtained. Up until now we haven’t had a system that recognizes fish harvesters as a professional occupation in Nova Scotia.”
As of late January, Fitzgerald said close to 800 fishers have obtained their PFR through the new board. “This is pretty good as we missed a few because we started late and we have a number of fish harvesters that only registered in 2022 pre-season for their 2022 registration,” she said.
Local fishery associations and independents, as well as Fisheries and Oceans Canada, fully support the new board. Along with providing training and skills development, the board also provides relevant information to the local industry through their new website and provides a certification path for Nova Scotia fish harvesters as a way for them to recognize their past experience and training received.
The Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Board (the board) of Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit organization that represents all geographical areas and sectors in Nova Scotia. The board is formed under the authority of the Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Act that was passed in May 2012. The N.S. Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture was the sponsoring department for the legislation.
Visit www.nsfishharvesters.ca for more information.