A new piece of training equipment will give a boost to fisheries training in Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.
The Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium has purchased a bridge training simulator, which mimics a real boat. It teaches students to navigate, steer and even to go fishing and dodge icebergs.
Elisabeth Cayen, the organization’s executive director, said her group trains 200 to 350 people a year to work in fisheries.
“Out in the offshore, you generally start in the factory freezer, so you’re packing the fish and processing them,” she said.
“In the inshore, there are a lot of people who are actually making a business out of it. Sometimes all they do is fish for their family. That contributes hugely too, but the inshore fishery is really developing, especially in Cumberland Sound.”
Cayen added that many people they train have never seen a large fishing boat, and know little about Nunavut’s distant offshore fishery — much of the action happens closer to Newfoundland and Greenland.
Since 2005, the Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium has been training Nunavummiut in communities and in its classrooms at Nunavut Arctic College’s old residence in Iqaluit.
The organization says this new equipment will help make training more effective.
“It gives them, the trainees, or the participants of the training program, some preparation for the actual wheelhouse situation,” said Peter Keenainak, the chair of the Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium.
Four students are already working on the simulator. If they pass their exams, they will be certified to join the 50 or so Inuit already working in the industry.