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Aquaculture Careers

Aquaculture workers run fisheries and hatcheries, where fish eggs are incubated and hatched, before the growing fish are released into the wild or sold to fish farms.

Farmed species might be fish, eels, crustaceans, shellfish, algae, turtles, etc. Alongside labourers, the types of jobs available in aquaculture operations can be broken down into the areas of operators / managers and technicians / biologists / engineers.

Aquaculture sites of all kinds are operated by the owner or manager. Technicians may be involved in freshwater and marine farming, hatchery management and research into farmed species. They can also be involved in research, equipment design, site development, and the harvesting, processing and shipment of stock. Biologists (or marine biologists) analyse data and conduct research so that any decisions are based on scientifically sound evidence.

Engineers are responsible for solving technical problems in the area of fish and shellfish maintenance, such as the correct functioning of equipment, the design of facilities, equipment and mechanisms of control.

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Daily tasks for aquaculture careers

Management responsibilities include:

  • Selecting or growing brood stock.
  • Developing feeding routines.
  • Monitoring the stock's growth and condition.
  • Overseeing processing the fish for market.
  • Designing, constructing and maintaining the farm.
  • Supervising and training employees.
  • Maintaining records.
  • Undertaking sales and marketing.

Technicians do most routine work. Tasks include:

  • Breeding and raising stock.
  • Keeping records of breeding programs and collecting data about stock.
  • Keeping live feed.
  • Monitoring water quality.
  • Identifying common diseases and taking steps to prevent them.
  • Monitoring and adjusting conditions in pools using meters and other equipment.
  • Using oxygen meters, salinity meters, pH (acidity) meters, etc.
  • Assisting with nutritional experiments and methods to control parasites, etc.

Biologists make adjustments to the overall production process by:

  • Monitoring the health and well-being of the fish.
  • Planning production throughout the year.
  • Coordinating projects in one or more locations, etc.

Engineers apply scientific and technical knowledge on a daily basis by designing, installing, assessing and maintaining:

  • Pumps and water conduction equipment.
  • Equipment for water quality control.
  • Facilities for water circulation and treatment.
  • Equipment for fish and shellfish processing.

Would an aquaculture career suit you?

Aquaculture managers need skills in management, staff supervision, administration and accounting, and purchasing, with specific species knowledge, and a rudimentary knowledge of the relevant scientific area.

Aquaculture technicians need to enjoy working outside and must have a love of nature and fish. They need to have good communication skills and the ability to follow instructions. The ability to work in a team environment with other technicians and biologists is essential. Fishing and boating experience is an asset.

Aquaculture biologists face competition for limited jobs. A strong background in advanced mathematics and computer skills, in addition to study of the animal and aquatic sciences, is the way to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Aquaculture engineers may require expertise in different areas such as acoustics, robotics, electrical, mechanical, civil, and chemical engineering.

Salary and aquaculture career opportunities

Progressing to better paid positions nearly always requires a bachelor's degree. Once in possession of a degree, it is usual to work as a trainee or technician to gain practical experience. It can then be possible to progress to positions such as managers in small fisheries or hatcheries, assistant managers in larger ones, or as staff biologists.

A master's degree is usually needed for managerial positions at larger facilities, senior scientist positions at large fisheries, or on research projects.

With plenty of experience gained, aquaculture workers can qualify for positions as consultants in private firms or as senior scientists. Aquaculturalists with PhDs can lead research projects from a far earlier stage.

How to Get a Great CV for Aquaculture Careers

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