Thirty-six First Nations aquaculture workers will now have the opportunity to receive training in shellfish technician, supervisory and management roles, providing them with the skills needed to access good jobs in their local communities to support their families.
To conduct the training and cover related costs, including student travel, the Province is providing $300,000 in one-time funding to Vancouver Island University ($167,750), Nicola Valley Institute of Technology ($110,000) and Northwest Community College ($23,250). The training plans include health and safety, scallop biology, scallop culture techniques, farm infrastructure and maintenance.
All workers taking part in the training programs have been hired through the Coastal First Nations Shellfish Training and Employment Strategy, a Coastal First Nations initiative designed to further support participation in the growing shellfish farming industry. First Nations workers who receive training are employed at shellfish aquaculture operations near the Heiltsuk First Nation, Metlakatla First Nation and Haida Nation communities along the northern B.C. coast.
- The annual value of shellfish aquaculture harvested in B.C. is close to $30 million.
- Approximately 323 companies are involved in shellfish aquaculture in B.C.
- There are 512 shellfish aquaculture sites on B.C.'s coast.
- Shellfish aquaculture production comes entirely out of rural coastal areas, where farms offer economic opportunities and create jobs for local families in the community.
- Currently, most shellfish aquaculture occurs on the southern coast of British Columbia. However, positive results from preliminary pilot work has recently resulted in the start of commercial operations in northern coastal areas as well.
- Primary species cultured are Pacific oysters and Manila clams with geoduck clam, gallo mussel and scallop culture occurring on a smaller scale.
Coastal First Nations: http://coastalfirstnations.ca/
Provincial Aquaculture and Commercial Fisheries Program: http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/fisheries/
Vancouver Island University: http://www.viu.ca/
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology: http://www.nvit.ca/default.htm
Northwest Community College: http://www.nwcc.bc.ca/
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 893-5650 (cell)