A new pilot program, a collaboration between UINR and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), has been put in place to train two Mi’kmaq DFO officers, who, upon completion of their training, will be assigned to the Unama’ki region to work with UINR on issues of concern to our Mi’kmaq communities. Training is anticipated to begin in January 2008.

104UINR’s Natural Resource Office Co-ordinator, Blair Bernard, identified eligible applicants from Unama’ki with the interest and qualifications to become DFO officers. To qualify, applicants had to demonstrate that they would meet the merit criteria of DFO’s fishery officer training program.

Applicants had to meet stringent criteria to qualify, including two years of post-secondary education in a related field, or a combination of education, training and/or experience. Candidates had to demonstrate experience in renewable natural resources, habitat management, field research, or field assessment of resources such as fish, wildlife or forestry. Candidates were also required to have experience in legislation or by-law enforcement with a law enforcement or security agency, and field experience in providing outdoor services to fishers, hunters, or eco-tourists.

We also looked at the applicant’s experience in commercial, aboriginal, or recreational fisheries and knowledge of fish species, biology and fishing methods, management, and surveillance of fisheries and fish habitat.

A knowledge of fisheries-related Acts and Regulations, and a general understanding of the Canadian judicial system, was also part of the selection criteria.

A candidate’s abilities and suitability were also carefully considered before names were put forward for the program. We expect that the successful applicants will be chosen early in 2008. Watch the UINR Marten for the announcement.