Childhood family fishing trips in the Kootenays sparked an early passion for freshwater fisheries and shaped a career path for Rossland’s Erin Fulcher, who graduated from Rossland Secondary School and still has family ties that bring her back to Rossland for visits. Fulcher was one of four students awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. The scholarship will support the completion of her B.Sc. in Fisheries and Aquaculture at Vancouver Island University.
“My combined experience and education will allow me to contribute to freshwater fisheries in BC. Perhaps I will be restoring declining fish populations, conducting research to learn about challenges such as climate change and pollution, or maybe raising fish in a hatchery to allow parents to teach their children to fish the way that my father taught me,” said Erin Fulcher, Vancouver Island University student. “This summer, I was fortunate to work as a research assistant studying larval white sturgeon. This kind of work helps identify the impact of climate change on fish stocks and informs how we can more effectively manage fish populations to protect our freshwater environments in our ever changing world.”
Fulcher first completed a diploma in Renewable Resource Management at Lethbridge College and then completed a certificate in Fish and Wildlife Technology. She returned to BC in 2015 to complete her B.Sc. at Vancouver Island University with a focus on fisheries.
Fulcher has held a variety of jobs in her career field. She worked as a Fisheries and Oceans summer student in Sault St Marie, Ontario in their Sea Lamprey Control program. After completing her certificate in Fish and Wildlife Technology she spent five years as an Aquatic Specialist in Calgary, Alberta, conducting fish habitat assessments and environmental monitoring.
“Each student selected for a scholarship has demonstrated a passion and dedication for freshwater fisheries management and sustainability,” said Tammy Longbottom, Director, Human Resources. “We look forward to seeing how they contribute to the freshwater fishing industry and bring innovative solutions to current and emerging issues.”
Scholarship applicants submitted a university transcript, resume and a written or video essay outlining their experience, interests and chosen educational program. Students were asked to explain how their interests and chosen studies will support BC’s freshwater fisheries industry and key goals such as research and habitat conservation. Submissions were received from 14 students attending post secondary education throughout the province. Four students were selected to each receive $1,500.
Other students selected for a scholarship were Shane Steele of BCIT, Teagan Wardrop of Vancouver Island University and Logan Ramsay of the University of Northern BC.
Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC scholarships are available to students enrolled in fish culture or natural resource management programs within a recognized post-secondary education institution in British Columbia. To be eligible, applicants must have completed at least their first year of post secondary studies and plan to continue as a student, with the intent of establishing a career in BC. Since 2008, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has awarded over $50,000 in scholarships to 31 students.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC was created in 2003 as a private, not-for-profit organization, funded mainly through freshwater fishing licence revenues. In partnership with the Province, the Society annually stocks eight million trout, char and kokanee salmon in 800 B.C. lakes. It also manages special hatchery programs for endangered species including white sturgeon, conducts fisheries research, education and conservation programs and works to make angling more accessible for all. As of April 1, 2015, under a new agreement with the provincial government, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC receives 100% of fishing licence revenue to invest in infrastructure and services to support freshwater fishing in BC. With the increased revenue, the Society is investing in additional research and infrastructure projects across the province. To find out more, visit gofishbc.com.