Today there are approximately 2,000 tidal angling guides in BC. As there has been no minimum level of service, safety or knowledge standards to compare against or aspire to, the Sport Fishing Institute of BC (SFI) recognized the value of and need for standardized training within this profession, thus initiated the process of developing a BC industry credential. A non-profit society, the SFI represents the interests of the recreational tidal fishing industry including lodges/resorts, charter operators, guides, tackle manufacturers, distributors, tackle shops, boat manufacturers, regional airline companies, and everyday anglers.
With the encouragement from the BC Ministry of Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Transport Canada, the development of professional standards for tidal angling guides began in 2006. Each agency cited relevant changes in approach to regulations, safety, tourism, and resource management, and suggested that the recreational sport fishing industry take the lead in establishing a set of best practices and standards.
In early 2008, a working group composed of 22 stakeholders from the BC coast, including ex-officio government representatives, First Nations, lodge owners, and independent anglers and guides, was formed to develop a set of standards that would help to create a curriculum and certification program. This group was advised by a steering committee and composed of government representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment (formerly Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts). The collaboration resulted in a draft set of standards that was provided to the SFI membership for review in summer 2008.
The process of turning the standards into a recognized industry training program was guided by go2, which is responsibe for managing certification and assessment for BC's tourism, hospitality and foodservices industries.
In late 2009 / early 2010, pilot programs were conducted to test the standards, curriculum and assessment tools, and they were well received. The TAG certification program challenge option is now available to experienced guides currently working in the sport fishing industry.
In late 2011, go2 expects to roll-out the complete TAG training program at designated institutions.
Challenge Option Detail
The challenge option is for experienced tidal angling guides to receive their certification through a challenge process. To be eligible to challenge, candidates must possess the following certificates:
- Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP)
- Marine Emergency Duties (MED A3)
- Radio Operators Card (ROC-M)
- Marine Basic First Aid
Candidates must also be able to demonstrate and document at least 750 hours of guiding experience, prepare a portfolio of evidence, and undergo an assessment by a qualified industry assessor. The assessment process includes a written exam and a professional interview (competency conversation) which takes approximately 3-4 hours.
A challenger information kit and application forms will be available on the Industry Training Authority website shortly. Interested challengers can contact go2.
Training Program Detail
The full training program is expected to be available in late 2011. Delivered in a classroom and in the workplace, the initial training portion of this program will take approximately 100 hours (13 days), followed by a minimum of 500 hours of on-the-water guiding time with clients. The full program has been designed to encompass one fishing season with three components: pre-season training, in-season work-based training, and certification at the end of the season.
Subjects that will be covered in the program include:
- Knowledge of angling equipment and techniques
- Knowledge of local species and the environment
- Knowledge of Fisheries and Oceans Canada's catch monitoring programs
- Personal and professional standards including communications skills, client relations and understanding the benefits of tourism
- Stewardship, general operations of conducting a guided trip
- Legal considerations such as liability and employment standards
- Competencies needed for regulatory certifications; Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP), Marine Emergency Duties (MED A3) and Radio Operators Card (ROC-M)
Interested participants please contact go2.