Introduction of Aquaculturist
Since water covers 71% of the earth’s surface, responsible aquaculture to “plant the sea and herd the animals” is critical if we continue relying on the sea as a massive food producer. An aquaculturist studies and cares for freshwater and marine organisms to understand and promote their growth, development, and production.
Also Known As
- Marine Farmer
- Fish Farmer
Typical Job Responsibilities
What does an Aquaculturist do?
An Aquaculturist would typically need to:
- Aid in developing commercially viable aquaculture systems; assist in producing and caring for aquatic animals; and conduct biological research on marine resources.
- Breed, incubate, and care for fish in water; feed them a nutritious diet; and assess and treat fish diseases.
- Manage the fish directory and production; supervise stock inspections to detect illnesses or parasites.
- Oversee, train, and assist aquaculture and hatchery personnel; implement human resource policies.
- Provide technical assistance to college projects in collaboration with colleges and researchers; provide farmers, educators, agency personnel, and citizens with information, education, and training.
- Control inventory, hatchery, and production.
- Organize the various types of breeding stock, conduct research, and carry out breeding programmes.
- Maintain equipment and infrastructure regularly.
- Assist in designing and constructing new aquaculture facilities; oversee automated building and equipment systems.
- Maintain the aquaculture system in freshwater and seawater; monitor water quality.
- Grow fish and shellfish for immediate release into freshwater or saltwater.
- Collect, analyze, and interpret data on growth, production, and the environment; write technical reports.
- Sell relevant products to fish farmers on behalf of companies.
Standard Work Environment
An aquaculturist typically works outside, on aquaculture farms and fisheries along a coast or waterway, to maintain the aquaculture system and collect data. Indoor office work entails maintaining a database for analyzing the marine environment and aquaculture system. An aquaculturist typically lives near a body of water in remote and rural areas. Work is frequently completed individually rather than collaboratively.
Most aquaculturists work alone for 40 hours per week, which may include evenings and weekends.
Finding a new job may appear difficult. Aquaculturists can improve their job search by soliciting referrals from their network, contacting companies directly, using job search platforms, attending job fairs, leveraging social media, and contacting staffing agencies.
Aquaculturists are generally employed by:
- Biological Research Companies
- State & Government Environmental Agencies
- Commercial Fish Farms & Producers
- Colleges, Universities, and Research Institutes
- Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Firms
- Marine Science Institutions & Aquariums
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional associations and organizations, such as the Global Seafood Alliance (GSA), are critical for Aquaculturists who want to further their professional development or connect with other professionals in their industry or occupation. Membership in one or more organizations adds value to your resume while strengthening your credentials and qualifications.
- Risk of diseases and infections from exposure to different breeds of fish
- Harsh working conditions outdoors in extreme weather, especially when it is wet and cold
- Aches and pains due to lifting heavy materials
- The need to work in pools, sea or lochs, to check fish and carry out maintenance
- Lack of transportation facilities from remote areas to a hospital in case of a health emergency
- Unreliable working hours with fewer breaks and the resulting lack of work-life balance
- Anxiety due to the sight of blood
Suggested Work Experience
Aquaculturists must demonstrate their skills and knowledge to work in a general fish farming facility. You will learn about the behaviour of marine animals and gain experience in commercial aquaculture, fish propagation, and farming of various production systems while working at a fish farm for a holiday job or work placement. You will also be able to determine whether the job is a good fit for you.
Shadowing experienced Aquaculturists as they go about their daily tasks can help you develop practical skills and determine if you’re a good fit for the job. Large farms provide excellent opportunities. Do not be afraid to contact them directly or through recruiters or to send them speculative applications for vacation jobs. Job opportunities for aspiring aquaculturists can also be found online.
Although some diploma qualifications may assist you in finding work as an Aquaculturist, candidates with a bachelor’s degree in fisheries or biological science have a competitive advantage in the job market. Marine biology, ecology, and fisheries are all relevant fields of study.
Some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in aquaculture or fisheries management. To conduct research, a PhD is required. Disease, nutrition, reproduction and genetics, production, and environmental aspects affecting marine life are some research areas.
An aspiring aquaculturist should consider taking agricultural education, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, ecology, environmental science, aquaculture, marine biology, fishery, and wildlife classes in high school.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
An Aquaculturist’s competence in a skill set is demonstrated through work experience, training, and passing an examination.
Aspiring aquaculturists can learn or improve their skills through certification programs that emphasize sustainable aquaculture practices. Although it is not required, the Certification for Aquaculture Professionals (CAP) online program teaches aquaculture techniques and skills to a wide range of professionals.
Projected Career Map
While most fish farms are small and run by the owner, there are larger concerns with clear hierarchical structures and opportunities for advancement. If you have a degree in fisheries, you may be able to advance faster to the positions of Supervisor or Manager.
After earning a master’s or PhD, you could enter academia to teach fish farming and related courses or conduct research.
Candidates with a master’s degree in aquaculture and the necessary skills and experience have the best job prospects.
Beneficial Professional Development
Through work-based learning, a professional activity, formal education, or self-directed learning, continuing professional development (CPD) assists an active Aquaculturist in developing personal skills and proficiency. It enables you to constantly improve your skills, regardless of your age, job, or level of knowledge.
Basic technical skills and a solid academic foundation may be required for employment. Employers may provide on-the-job training depending on the size of the fish farm. During the first six months of your appointment, you may be required to perform manual labour under the supervision of experienced personnel.
Postgraduate courses in fisheries management are available at several universities and colleges and may help you advance your career. Some fisheries management institutes also provide correspondence courses, such as one-year certificate courses and two-year diploma courses. A variety of employers may accept these credentials and may entitle you to professional status within the institute. Some fish-feeding companies provide fish disease training.
Conclusion of Aquaculturist
Aquaculturists contribute significantly to the health of the marine ecosystem by overseeing the culture and growth of freshwater and marine finfish, shellfish, and aquatic plants. By ensuring the sustainability and quality management of aquatic farms, these scientists assist humanity in progressing from hunters to responsible aquatic farmers.
Advice from the Wise
Aquaculture may be a suitable career option if you are passionate about anything related to water and have an interest in science, mathematics, nature, and fitness. You will not only earn a living but also learn exciting and new scientific methods and how to operate relevant tools and machines if you are willing to work hard and are not afraid of handling fish. Be prepared to spend extended periods in aquatic environments.
Explore Also: How to Become Animal Scientist?