|Organizers of the fly fishing program pay courtesy call on Minister Fitzgerald|
Published: Sep 19, 2012
The Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald met with the organizers of the Fly Fishing Guide Apprenticeship Programme on Thursday September 6, 2012. This initiative is a joint venture involving the Ministries of Tourism; Education, Science and Technology, and the Department of Fisheries for students of grades 10, 11 and 12. It consists of six modules: Introduction to Fly Fishing; Geography/Ecology/Meteorology; Laws Governing the Industry; Safety Procedures; Boating Skills and Fly Fishing Skills.
Minister Fitzgerald commended the organizers for introducing the initiative and ensured them of the ministry’s support to see the program come into fruition in a timely manner. He also mentioned his concern for ensuring that policies were put in place so that students participating in the program would achieve certification in the field and go on to become entrepreneurs in their communities.
Earlston McPhee, director of sustainable tourism development at the Ministry of Tourism, revealed that work on the Fly Fishing Guide Apprenticeship Programme began in 2009. McPhee explained that it was recognized that there was a need for more Bahamians to become involved in the industry for numerous reasons including replacement of older Bahamian guides, shortage of Bahamian employers in the industry, the high level of migration of youth from the Family Islands to New Providence, and protection from foreign encroachment.
Captain Prescott Smith, owner of the Stafford Creek Lodge, pointed out that there should be inclusion of both Family Island and New Providence students in the program. He noted that we should think globally and recognize the various aspects of the fly fishing industry that students can consider as career opportunities. He listed law, accounts, foreign languages and entrepreneurship as some areas that could be quite lucrative.
The Fly Fishing Guide Apprenticeship Programme is expected to begin as a pilot program in one of the high schools on a Family Island.