Aquaculture Technician

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Aquaculture Technician


Does the idea of a corralled group of fish being raised together underwater, their feed regulated and their reproduction monitored, seem strange? Well, it shouldn't. Fish farms (and shellfish farms and underwater plant farms) all function the same way a wheat farm or a pig farm might. Just as we domesticated animals for production thousands of years ago, so are we switching from hunting sea creatures to farming them.

Aquaculture technicians work with these farmers, known as aquaculturists. They assist in reproducing, raising, and harvesting fish, shellfish and plants. They may work with catfish, shrimp, salmon or other types of fish. They work in both fresh and saltwater, with private farmers, government projects, and conservation or educational facilities that raise the fish for research. They are responsible for feeding the stock and maintaining water quality. They also keep records about things like growth, production rates, and distribution details.

Just like a technician on any other farm, aquaculture technicians know a lot about fish. They know what different fish eat, when they are most fertile, what they look like when they get sick. They use this information to care for them in the best way. With some underwater farms, they feed the fish with machines as they swim around a manufactured pool. Other fish may be bred in a hatchery, and then released into the wild, with the hopes that they will return to their birth place in time for harvesting.

Aquaculture technicians are always on the lookout for efficient, compassionate, and economical ways to farm underwater life. They are pioneers in this new, untapped field that is only really getting started, and with expertise and experience, they may be able to create a sustainable, responsible, and economical farming practice for the 21st century.
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Concordia University - Portland

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  Average Earnings  
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Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Aquaculture technicians enjoy working outside and have a love of nature, and fish. They are comfortable working in a team environment with scientists and other technicians as well as working alone. Good communication skills, attention to detail and the ability to follow instruction are all important characteristics of an aquaculture technician. Swimming, boating, and fishing experience are also an asset as well as knowledge of underwater agriculture.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Keep records of fish numbers
  • Monitor water temperature and pollution levels
  • Assist in controlled hatching
  • Observe fish for signs of disease and illness
  • Feed by hand or machine
  • Release fish into the wild
  • Harvest fish from pool or upon return
  • Assist in raising and harvesting underwater plants
  • The typical day for an aquaculture technician involves a lot of observation, maintaining equipment, and feeding. Depending on the time of year, they may also be involved in breeding, hatching, releasing, or harvesting. They consult with supervisors and farmers, and may assist researchers by keeping careful notes on water, numbers, and feeding practices. They do work outside some of the time, but don't get to travel much.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Aquaculture technicians work wherever there are underwater creatures. They may work in small, contained hatcheries in lakes, indoor, manufactured pools, or large, open concept ocean farms. They work in all sorts of weather, and may travel by boat, or underwater, to observe the fish. And because fish don't sleep like farm mammals do, aquaculture technicians often work overnight, weekends, and holidays to monitor the fish and the farming equipment. They may be employed by private farmers, government farms, or research facilities.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Aquaculture technicians can advance to become supervisors or farmers themselves. They can also get into research, technology and technique development, and work with conservation authorities to uncover environmentally sound ways to farm underwater.

  Educational Paths  
While there is no set educational path to becoming an aquaculture technician, completion of a one- to two-year college program in a field related to aquaculture, biology, microbiology, or resource management is usually required for employment.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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Concordia University - Portland

Online Learning at Concordia University–Portland

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