Tom Hlavac - Attended RMOT 1986-1988

"I graduated from the RMOT program in 1988.  Our group was the first to complete  Malaspina College’s new diploma program. Most of us were successful in finding employment in resource management agencies immediately or soon after graduation.  The RMOT program has helped many of us find fulfillment and enjoyment in our careers." 

"Before enrolling in college I had been employed as a commercial fisher, harvesting swimming scallops and octopus by diving, and live fish for an aquarium display.  While fishing I met local Fishery Officers and became interested in a career with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  The Fishery Officers offered me work experience opportunities and steered me towards volunteer work, stream surveying and enhancement work.  Eventually I obtained a summer student position at the Babine River Counting Fence, northwest of Smithers.  This lead to the next summer’s employment as a seasonal Fishery Officer."    

"After graduation from the RMOT program, I immediately found employment as a Fishery Guardian at Powell River, BC. In June, 1989, I was offered an indeterminate Fishery Officer cadet position at Prince Rupert.  Since then I have been posted at Bella Bella, DFO’s Offshore Division at Vancouver, Port Hardy, Queen Charlotte City, Prince Rupert, Ottawa, and now Whitehorse.   I’ve discovered that the RMOT diploma is only the start – you never really stop learning as your career unfolds."

"I work with great people and have had great experiences that a “regular” career probably wouldn’t offer.  During my posting at Bella Bella I was able to explore remote reaches of the Central Coast, including Roscoe Inlet and Spiller Channel.  Both were rarely visited, except by Fishery Guardians and Fishery Officers.  Until recently, Spiller Channel was “off the chart”, with no official cartography of its waters released.   The Offshore Division introduced me to the northeast Pacific’s winter storms, and the delights of Heater Harbour in December.  I managed the last of the Moresby Perch Derby fisheries from the bridge of the FPV Tanu (now CCGS Tanu), which brought 47 trawlers to Cape St. James.  We caught 1147 tonnes of Pacific Ocean Perch in 27 hours.  

My duties as a Halibut/Sablefish IVQ Fishery Officer brought me to Vancouver Island’s many outports, including Fair Harbour, Winter Harbour, Zeballos and Kyuquot.  While posted on the Queen Charlottes I was involved in a community abalone stewardship program, meeting many wonderful people interested in conservation. 

I presently work with the DFO Yukon Territory/Transboundary Rivers Area team.  Today, a day in the field takes me down the Stikine, Taku, Tatenshini or Yukon River. The foundation of the RMOT program combined with hard work, determination and experience have made these adventures possible for me."

Tom Hlavac
Area Chief, Conservation and Protection
Yukon and Transboundary Rivers Area
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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