An aquacultural manager could...
|Provide consumers with top-grade, sustainable seafood.||Find environmentally friendly ways of farming fish.|
|Manage oyster beds that supply top-quality pearls to jewelers.||Stock a lake to make sure recreational fishermen go home with a trophy.|
Key Facts & Information
|Overview||Walk by the supermarket's fresh fish counter and you will see a collection of marine ambassadors from around the world. You might see shrimp from Thailand, salmon from Canada, and flounder from the United States of America. Some of the fish is wild, caught by fishermen from the open seas; but these days, a lot of fish and shellfish is farm raised. Aquacultural managers direct operations on farms and fish hatcheries that cultivate ocean and freshwater fish for human consumption, recreation, and research. The field of aquacultural management is an example of biotechnology. It is the intersection of biology, chemistry, and cutting-edge technical equipment.|
|Key Requirements||Mechanical aptitude, an interest in animal biology, good communication skills, reasoning and problem-solving skills|
|Minimum Degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Subjects to Study in High School||Biology, chemistry, algebra, algebra II, geometry, calculus, English, if available: computer science, statistics|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||Little or No Change (-2% to 2%)|
|Interview||Read this interview with Laurie Trotta, a fish hatchery manager.|
Training, Other Qualifications
Many state-run hatcheries require that the manager have a bachelor's degree in fishery sciences or a related field, and pass a civil service exam.
Because of rapid changes in the industry, aquacultural managers need to stay informed about continuing advances in aquacultural methods, both in the United States and abroad. They need to monitor changes in governmental regulations that may affect production methods or markets. Besides print journals that inform the aquacultural community, managers use the Internet for quick access to the latest developments in research areas such as fish breeding.
Education and Training
Most entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree in fishery sciences or a related field. For students interested in aquaculture, formal programs include coursework in fisheries biology, fish culture, hatchery management and maintenance, and hydrology.
Aquacultural managers need managerial skills to organize and operate a business. They must also be familiar with complex safety regulations and requirements of governmental agricultural support programs. Computer skills are becoming increasingly important, especially on large farms, where computers are widely used for recordkeeping, business analysis, and scientific data analysis. In addition, skills in personnel management, communication, and conflict resolution are important in the operation of a farm business.
Mechanical aptitude and the ability to work with tools of all kinds also are valuable skills for an aquacultural manager, who often maintain and repair equipment.
Nature of the Work
Aquaculture farmers raise fish and shellfish in marine, brackish, or fresh water, usually in ponds, floating net pens, raceways, or recirculating systems. They stock, feed, protect, and otherwise manage aquatic life sold for consumption or used for research or recreational fishing. Aquacultural managers manage the day-to-day activities of one or more fish and shellfish farms and hatcheries. Their duties and responsibilities focus both on the business and on the technological aspects of running a farm.
Aquacultural managers spend part of the day working outdoors, and the other part of the day working indoors on computers. The outdoor work of aquacultural managers is often strenuous; work hours are frequently long. Hours can vary depending on the time of the year and the needs of the fish.
Aquacultural jobs can be hazardous. Equipment can cause serious injury, and workers must be constantly alert on the job. The proper operation of equipment and handling of chemicals are necessary to avoid accidents, safeguard health, and protect the environment.
On the Job
- Grow fish and shellfish as cash crops or for release into freshwater or saltwater.
- Supervise and train aquaculture and fish hatchery support workers.
- Collect and record growth, production, and environmental data.
- Conduct and supervise stock examinations in order to identify diseases or parasites.
- Account for and disburse funds.
- Devise and participate in activities to improve fish hatching and growth rates, and to prevent disease in hatcheries.
- Monitor environments to ensure maintenance of optimum conditions for aquatic life.
- Direct and monitor trapping and spawning of fish, egg incubation, and fry rearing, applying knowledge of management and fish culturing techniques.
- Coordinate the selection and maintenance of brood stock.
- Direct and monitor the transfer of mature fish to lakes, ponds, streams, or commercial tanks.
- Determine, administer, and execute policies relating to operations administration and standards, and facility maintenance.
- Collect information regarding techniques for fish collection and fertilization, spawn incubation, and treatment of spawn and fry.
- Determine how to allocate resources, and how to respond to unanticipated problems such as insect infestation, drought, and fire.
- Operate and maintain cultivating and harvesting equipment.
- Confer with biologists, fish pathologists, and other fishery personnel to obtain data concerning fish habits, diseases, food, and environmental requirements.
- Prepare reports required by state and federal laws.
- Identify environmental requirements of a particular species, and select and oversee the preparation of sites for species cultivation.
- Scuba dive in order to inspect sea farm operations.
- Design and construct pens, floating stations, and collector strings or fences for sea farms.
Companies That Hire Aquacultural Managers
Explore what you might do on the job with one of these projects...
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- Sandy Beaches and Reef Disturbance
- Something's Fishy About That Fertilizer
- Too Much of a Good Thing? Study the Effect of Fertilizers on Algal Growth
Do you have a specific question about a career as an Aquacultural Manager that isn't answered on this page? Post your question on the Science Buddies Ask an Expert Forum.
- BLS. (2016). Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2016 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 1, 2017, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- O*Net Online. (2016). National Center for O*Net Development. Retrieved July 1, 2017, from https://www.onetonline.org/
- Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics ON THE AIR! (2009). The Tech Club: Laurie Trotta. Retrieved December 8, 2009, from http://www.womeninscience.org/transcript.php?storyID=178
- The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (2009). Fish Hatchery Manager. Retrieved December 8, 2009, from http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wfprep/coei/media/English_Video_List_UnCap.html