If an oil spill were to happen in Placentia Bay, fishermen in St. Bride’s are ready.
Last week, 10 fishermen from the area took part in a basic oil spill responder course. Delivered by the Marine Institute, this five-day course trains fishermen in oil spill containment, cleanup and disposal techniques as well as wildlife recovery and treatment. The goal of the training program is to enhance the understanding of oil spill counter measures at the community level.
With the ever-increasing risk of an oil spill in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Marine Institute, with support from ACOA, developed the course specifically for fisheries workers to assist as first responders in the event of a spill.
Instructor Dean Turpin agrees fishermen can play a vital role in reacting to a spill quickly and safely. “With Newfoundland and Labrador’s 25,000 miles of coastline and with Placentia Bay having the second highest amount of cargo activity in Canada, it makes sense that fisheries workers in the community, who are onsite, are trained to assist in a possible oil spill cleanup,” he said.
Ken Viscount was one of the fishermen who participated in the training. “Excellent course. I’m a fisherman and I feel it’s really important that fishermen have this kind of training,” said Mr. Viscount. “Should there be an oil spill in this area, most likely it will be fishermen who will be the first on the scene. It’s important that fishermen have this kind of training and maybe we can help contain the spill and even help with the clean-up. I recommend this course to all fishermen.”
The Marine Institute delivered the course with assistance from Canadian Coast Guard, and support from One Ocean and the FFAW. The Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board also awards five education credits to qualified, successful participants.
The St. Bride’s course is the first of 15 deliveries planned for communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador over the next year.