By contributor Heather Leary

Owen Catherall has received one of four Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC scholarships, which recognizes his outstanding commitment to academic pursuits in the field of natural resource management. Catherall was awarded $1.5k towards his Bachelor of Natural Resource Protection at VIU and is preparing to complete the program in 2016. Currently working a summer job in the Lower Mainland as a seasonal Park Ranger with BC Parks, Catherall spent the two summers prior to that working in Manitoba as a seasonal Resource Officer. Following graduation from VIU, Catherall plans to seek work with the Conservation Officer Service.

When not at school or work, Catherall can be found with his fly rod, walking his dog, or seeking out a new mountain trail. “I grew up in a rural setting on Vancouver Island, where I was exposed to fishing and the benefits it provides at a young age,” Owen Catherall said. “I knew I wanted to pursue a career in conservation and protection of our natural resources.”

Scholarship applicants submitted a resume and written or video essays demonstrating their commitment to academic pursuits, volunteer activities, and to Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s key goals such as research and habitat conservation. Submissions were received from students attending post-secondary institutions throughout the province.

Each student that is awarded a scholarship will receive $1.5k. These scholarships are available to students enrolled in fish culture or natural resource management programs within a recognized post-secondary education institution in BC. Student goals must align with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s goals to encourage stewardship, enhance fishing habitat, and increase accessibility to freshwater sport fishing.

“The quality of applications was exceptional, and it was a difficult decision to narrow the recipients down to four in the province,” said Sandra Noel, Director of Human Resources, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. “The students are passionate about stewardship and accessibility and they are committed to the future of freshwater fishing in BC. We look forward to seeing their careers develop.”

Scholarships were also awarded to Cale Babey of the University of Northern BC, Nigel Delange of Camosun College, and Courtenay Ferguson of the BC Institute of Technology. Since 2008, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has awarded $42k in scholarships to 23 students.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC was created in 2003 as a private, non-profit organization, funded mainly through freshwater fishing license revenues. In partnership with the province, the Society annually stocks eight million trout, char, and kokanee salmon in 800 BC lakes. The society 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.