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Qualification in observer services

11 October 2004

News Release

Ministry of Fisheries working to produce an internationally recognised qualification in observer services

The Ministry of Fisheries is currently working with the Seafood Industry Training Organisation (SITO) and the Public Sector Training Organisation (PSTO) to develop an internationally recognised training qualification for observers.

Observers often spend long periods at sea on commercial fishing vessels collecting reliable and accurate information for fisheries research, fisheries management and fisheries enforcement.

"We are working to adopt a leading edge, best practice regime that delivers quality information and provides an internationally recognised qualification and a career path in our observer programme," said National Operations Manager Steve Stuart.

"The Ministry realised it had to increase the quality of its observer programme and one way is to ensure that people are trained in best practice. We wanted to create an industry standard, as well as a career path and recognition for the experience people had developed while working in the programme. We are also working to ensure that they will have a transferable qualification."

Four of the Ministry's Observer Programme shore staff have just completed an intensive training session with SITO, which was designed to qualify them as workplace assessors.

"We are running a tape measure over the skills of the observers as against the unit standards," said SITO's Seafood Vessel Operations Manager Simon Reid, whose task is to supervise the training of people working on vessels.

"The industry is very supportive of the observers being trained and it is only sensible that it is against industry standards. We are keen to contribute in an area we know something about, particularly safety, biological sampling of the catch and identification of fish species."


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