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Major commitment to e-simulator for fishing vessels

The Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters (CCPFH) will produce an electronic simulator program to support distance education training for fish harvesters in fishing vessel stability with the help of a contribution of $1.4 million from the federal government through the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF).

Electronic simulators already exist for vessel navigation, aerospace training and many other purposes. The e-simulator concept for vessel stability involves using multimedia and computer game features, combined with six instructional segments on fishing vessel stability.

The program will simulate fishing vessels less than 65 feet long and fishing operations that are typical of major fisheries across Canada. The visually interactive aspects of the e-simulator will be used in conjunction with a handbook. Fish harvesters can work through the program at their own pace on their home computers in a safe environment.

Earle McCurdy, president of the CCPFH, and president of the FFAW-CAW in Newfoundland and Labrador, welcomed the funding. “The fishery is the most dangerous industry in Canada. Too many fish harvesters lose their lives in accidents that could be prevented with better education and training. This generous contribution from SAR-NIF provides the CCPFH and its project partners with an opportunity to make real improvements for people who work in the industry.”

The project will be carried out through a collaboration between the CCPFH and the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Other project participants include Memorial University’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies, the New Brunswick School of Fisheries, Transport Canada – Marine Safety Division Newfoundland and Labrador and the National Research Council.

The CCPFH has operated since 1997 with support from the Sector Council Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Its mandate is to develop education and training programs for the Canadian fish harvesting industry. The council’s membership includes major fish harvester organizations from across the country.

“The e-simulator will play a vital role in improving the safety of vessel operations for fish harvesters. We are thrilled the Government of Canada has committed to a project that will protect and educate people in this industry,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Fisheries and Marine Institute. “The Marine Institute is thankful to be able to work with such great partners as we develop tools that are designed to protect people and allow them to conduct their livelihoods is a safer work environment.”

Production of the e-simulator is expected to take 24 months. Once finished, it will be available as a free download from the CCPFH website and as a DVD that can be purchased at a minimal cost. The final product will be available in both French and English.

The funding of $1.4 million was made possible through the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR-NIF) which focuses on enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency, economy and innovation of search and rescue activities as it relates to the response and prevention objectives of the National Search and Rescue Program.