CapMarine have trained more than 800 sea-going scientific observers, land based monitors and fisheries inspectors. Our structured and comprehensive training programmes have been designed specifically to meet the observer requirements of the earlier domestic observer programme as well as regional and international observer programmes; CCAMLR, ICCAT, IOTC, SEAFO and SWIOFP. The success of these programmes has led to the company being contracted by a number of other countries to provide training for their observer requirements, including Madagascar, the Seychelles, Namibia and Belize. The company is also actively involved in on-going consultation, development and delivery of training in port state measures to fisheries inspectors of port States of the IOTC. This training has focused primarily at the practical implementation of port state measures combating IUU fishing and has to-date been completed in ten IOTC port States.
All scientific observers undergo personalised in-house training, which is generally sector specific. There are two training phases:
The first is a two week theoretical and practical course, with content such as species biology, identification of fish species, seabirds and marine mammals, basic knowledge of vessel terminology, fishing techniques and fishing gear, quota allocations and permit conditions, the basics of fisheries management, stock assessment, oceanography and international observer protocols. An introduction into navigation and meteorology is included to facilitate capturing positional data and recording environmental interactions and a module on professional communication and conflict resolution to guide the observer when faced with possible conflict situations is also included. The practical component covers species identification and determining maturity stage from a bucket of wet fish samples. It includes setting up, zeroing and reading spring and electronic scales plus the correct method of measuring and recording length frequencies. Understanding how to complete data sheets is also an important part of the practical training.
The second phase of training is on an annual basis and follows when observers have gained experience in all the primary fishing sectors. These “re-training” phases involve revising the initial theoretical instruction and include new material while placing emphasis on accurate data collection methods, additional biological sampling strategies and species identification for different sectors.
CapMarine observers and staff are all trained and educated in responsible fishing practises. From an environmental perspective, this in turn leads to observers educating the skippers and their communities about responsible fishing as well as conservation of the coast, marine life and ecosystems. CapMarine is committed to employing and advancing persons from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and this is reflected in the approach to training. Due to imbalances from the past many of the recruits from these communities have difficulty in communicating effectively in English and often have a limited knowledge of mathematics. To meet this challenge CapMarine has adopted a teaching approach which incorporates visual, video and photographic learning aids. Power-Point presentations are also used effectively to train observers in the fundamentals of the fishing sector (gear, area of operation, value etc.), fisheries biology and mathematical calculations that are used to determine catch composition for example. Furthermore our training team is collectively able to present the training material in IsiXhosa, Zulu, English and Afrikaans.
We consider applicants with Matric passes, sea-going experience and tertiary education. Good mathematical ability is essential and candidates are expected to pass a basic recruitment exam that includes mathematics, writing skills and logic before they are considered further. An essential component of the observer’s initial training includes an internationally recognized safety and survival-training course normally conducted at the Cape Technikon Survival Centre. Other outsourced training includes a first-aid and fire-fighting course, which prepares observers to understand and follow the correct international procedures if there’s an emergency at sea.