Returning Seasonal Fisheries Staff Eager to Apply Their Learning

Jared Dick joins Uu-a-thluk for another term, this time for a six-month term as an associate biologist, after successfully completing his Bachelor of Science with a major in marine biology and environmental studies minor from the University of Victoria. For his final year Jared took courses in freshwater ecosystems, biological oceanography and advanced aquatic ecology, and is looking forward to applying some of what he learned.

“I’m especially interested in exploring the role of ‘primary productivity’ in an aquatic ecosystem,” he said. Jared explained that in aquatic systems, most primary production is performed by organisms called phytoplankton which provides energy and nutrients to other species. “When these microscopic organisms are affected by logging or fertilizer runoff it can have a negative impact on all species in the food web.”

Jared’s interest in how aquatic species interact and influence one another also reflects his fascination with issues arising from the introduction of non-indigenous species into an ecosystem. He uses the example of purposely introduced non-native shrimp in the Flathead River-Lake ecosystem in Montana and the Canadian Rockies that directly compete with juvenile endangered salmon for important food resources. Jared refers to the famous phrase, “We have known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns” to describe how the ‘unknown unknowns’ are cause for concern as we’re not yet aware of their consequences. Though he adds that no matter what science-based question he’s asking, he always views it from a Nuu-chah-nulth perspective.

“Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations have individual traditions, knowledge and protocols that inform how we manage and care for aquatic resources,” he said. “In Nuu-chah-nulth, the phrase hishuk ish tsawalk means ‘everything is one’ and expresses the belief that humans, plants, and animals form part of a whole that is kept in the balance through cooperation and mutual respect.”

Jared is Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations through his mother Tracey Watts and his father Jason Dick. His Qu-us name is Uu-xwinn-mutts, which means, “shares the ground with dancing birds.”

Coleton (Cole) Gomez-Leishman joins Uu-a-thluk for his second year as a fisheries intern, during his last internship, Cole explored—with Uu-a-thluk staff and the NTC Education Department—post-secondary education opportunities related to resource management. His experiences during the internship led him to change his education focus from criminology to resource management.

“My experiences last summer at Uu-a-thluk doing field work, observing fisheries, and shadowing fisheries guardians, managers, and DFO fisheries officers made me realize that resource management provides many opportunities, and it’s something I’m drawn to,” he said.
This past year Cole took courses at North Island College in math, English, criminal law, and criminology 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. While going to school, Cole worked as a program assistant employed by Parks, Recreation & Heritage with the City of Port Alberni. “I spent lots of time helping kids of all ages at the Multiplex,” he said, adding that this experience will benefit him when he assists at Uu-a-thluk science camps, this summer.

A focus of this internship, Cole added, is 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. “I’d like to see how the various fisheries use Nuu-chah-nulth principals and methods to manage salmon, shellfish and groundfish in Nuu-chah-nulth territories,” he explained.

Cole traces his ancestors through the Tseshaht First Nation, and was born in Yellowknife and raised in Port Alberni.

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