Professionalization is defined as a means to recognize special skills and experience required to become a professional, in our case, fish harvester. Professionalization can be granted in two ways:

  1. Grandfathering
  2. Qualifying for professionalization

Grandfathering is the granting of professional status on those who have a longer-term attachment to fishing, while new entrants must qualify through training and experience for professionalization.

The Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters (CCPFH) believes that professionalization must be led by working fish harvesters. That’s why CCPFH works closely with its member organizations at the provincial and regional levels to have professional bodies officially recognized in laws, regulations and policies.

Importance of Professionalization

Professionalization is the first step in securing the fish harvester’s place in the fishery of the future. It is a means by which an individual is given a sense of pride, achievement and security. With the fishing industry’s archaic portrayal of an employer of last resort and an impression that fish harvesting is an industry that has too many fish harvesters for too few fish it has created a sense of insecurity and apprehension amongst fish harvesters. Many wonder how they will survive in the years ahead and where they will fit in with the fishery of the future.

With the dramatic changes in the Canadian fishing industry and the expectation that fish harvesters take on a greater role in paying for management and fishing infrastructure, professionalization creates a control over the fish harvesters’ futures by having them stand together and ensuring that fish harvesters and only fish harvesters determine the path that professionalization will take.

Accomplishments in Professionalization

Professional certification boards were created the early 1990’s in Newfoundland and Quebec. Currently there are groups working on professionalization programs in most regions. The Newfoundland and Quebec boards have formally established professional certification boards for establishing grandfathering criteria and training as well as other requirements for future new entrants to the fishery.

Guiding Principles

To ensure the long-term success of professionalization CCPFH has put forward three principles:

  1. Professionalization must be led and controlled by legitimate fish harvester organizations;
  2. Professionalization must be developed on a regional basis to reflect differing organizational structures, priorities and timetables;
  3. The knowledge, experience and professional status of fish harvesters currently in the industry must be recognized by new professionalization and certification systems.

CCPFH’s hope is that professional certification bodies will be established in all parts of the country and will be recognized as such by the provincial and federal governments.

More Information on Professionalization

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