Aquaculturist

Aquaculturist

Aquaculturists understand the growth, development and production of aquatic animals. Aquaculturists work to bring a variety of healthy fish, lobsters, crabs and more from aquatic environments to our dinner table. Additionally, they collect and record growth, production, and environmental data and perform routine maintenance of equipment.
What Responsibilities Will I Have?: 
  • Assist with all aspects of aquatic animal production and care
  • 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 to identify diseases or parasites
  • Sort different types of breeding stock
  • Incubate and care for fish in net pens or small ponds
  • Perform routine maintenance of facilities and equipment
  • Operate and maintain freshwater and/or seawater aquaculture systems
  • Provide insight into planning facilities and construction of new aquaculture systems
  • Manage automated building and equipment control systems
  • Provide technical support for various projects with researchers and universities
  • Assist those interested in aquaculture in the development of commercially viable aquaculture systems
  • Design, supervise and implement biological studies on aquatic resources
  • Assess fish populations in various bodies of water
  • Compile, analyze and interpret biological data and compile technical reports.
  • Identify and treat diseases found in fish populations
  • Manage fish inventory and production in a hatchery
  • Administer and execute policies relating to operations, training, supervising and assisting hatchery workers
  • Provide leadership for delivering education, training and information to a variety of audiences that may include farmers, educators, agency personnel and citizens
  • Find ways to improve spawning, setting, growth rates and disease prevention in hatcheries
Recommended High School Courses: 
The following high school courses are recommended: agricultural education and a focus on sciences such as biology, environmental science and chemistry.
Education/Training Required: 
A bachelor’s degree in fisheries or biological sciences or master’s degree in aquaculture or a related field of study would be beneficial. Desired experience would include commercial aquaculture, fish propagation and husbandry in a variety of production systems. Teaching and/or extension experience would also be helpful.
Future Job Market Outlook: 
Typical Employers: 
Aquaculturists may be employed by large commercial fisheries who produce and harvest fish as well as biological research companies who study the environmental impacts of and on aquatic species. They may also be employed by state and government environmental agencies or at parks or aquariums.
Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations: 
  • National Aquaculture Association
  • World Aquaculture Society
  • Global Aquaculture Alliance
  • American Fisheries Society 
Average Annual Full-Time Salary: 
$60,000
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Salary data is provided by the AgCareers.com Compensation Benchmark Review™. These salaries should be considered as examples and are provided for educational and exploratory purposes. The salary information provided should not be used as a benchmark. Actual salaries are influenced by numerous variables including but not limited to demographics, size and scope of the role, level of experience, qualifications, and education of the worker.