Coleton (Cole) Gomez-Leishman joins Uu-a-thluk this summer until the fall in his new role as a fisheries technician. Cole started with Uu-a-thluk two years ago as a fisheries intern in Uu-a-thluk’s Tommorrow’s Leaders program where he began to explore post-secondary education opportunities related to resource management.

During his two internships Cole went to North Island College to qualify for enrollment in Resource Management Officer Technology (RMOT), a two-year program offered by Vancouver Island University (VIU). This program is designed to prepare students for careers related to the protection and management of Canada’s fisheries, wildlife, and parks resources.

This summer he hopes to deepen his learning about the many aspects of resource management as it relates to fisheries, and to observe Nuu-chah-nulth resource management principals in action. So far part of this education has been to acquire a Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping at both BCIT and JIBC where he learned how to act around a fire, such as recognizing flashes or roll overs for signs of spreading.

“At BCIT they had us jump into a pool and see how it felt with coveralls versus without,” said Cole. “Basically we learned that the ship is your best life raft and abandoning it is the last resort.” Another course he recently finished was Survival Craft Proficiency held in Ladysmith at the Western Marine Institute, which complements the Marine Basic First Aid he acquired during last year’s Uu-a-thluk internship.

Cole is looking forward to doing swim surveys in the northern region and to seeing what kind of data comes up at the Burman River in September. Cole traces his ancestors through the Tseshaht First Nation, and was born in Yellowknife and raised in Port Alberni.

“I’ll be expanding my knowledge as I work with many of the Nations,” said Cole. “And, of course, adding to my resume for future opportunities in resource management, as it all helps.”