Aquaculture refers to the breeding and harvesting of fish, shellfish, plants, and animals that live in water bodies such as lakes, oceans, and rivers. Aquacultural managers raise and monitor fish and shellfish and ensure an environment suitable for them to thrive and grow. They may also train and manage other employees to ensure safety and quality standards are met.
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How to Become an Aquacultural Manager
Though there is no minimum requirement of education to become an aquacultural manager, over half have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Common degrees are agriculture, farm management, marine aquaculture, and freshwater aquaculture. Though optional, many pursue a certification in farm management through the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMR) to get an edge over others in the industry. They offer courses, networking opportunities, and newsworthy information for this industry. To find out more, go to the ASFMR website.
In addition, most employers prefer on-the-job experience relating to the area you choose to work in. The understanding of biology, administration and management, production processing, and math skills is also helpful.
Job Description of a Aquacultural Manager
Aquacultural managers specialize in coordinating seafood production from hatcheries or growing plants that can be harvested for many purposes, such as pharmaceuticals and food. They also help restore (or stock) water bodies with fish or shellfish to increase populations.
Aquacultural managers oversee and direct employees that assist in the hatchery or production industries. They are responsible for quality assurance, maintenance, and processes at the facility they manage. Aquacultural managers implement and enforce policies relating to the operations and safety standards of the facility. They help gather and record growth or environmental data, transfer sealife, incubate eggs, or assist in spawning fish. They also complete management duties, which include administrative and managing employees.
Typically aquacultural managers work outside and sometimes in offices pending on the task they are working on. They are employed full time and can be exposed to a variety of outdoor environments. To learn more about aquaculture and the difference between marine and freshwater aquaculture, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website (link opens in a new tab).
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Aquacultural Manager Career Video Transcript
Whether you’re exploring the health benefits of salmon, bonding over bass fishing on a trip with your family, or simply enjoying a hot tilapia filet, somewhere down the line an aquacultural manager probably had a hand in getting the fish to your table or even your boat. Aquacultural managers raise fish and shellfish, which can include tasks like stocking a lake full of prize catches for a fishing competition, culturing clams with pearls for jewelers, or managing a fish farm.
Most aquacultural managers have a bachelor’s degree in fishery science or a related biology, which supports their ability to train fish hatchery workers. As the aquacultural life form grows, reproduces, and is eventually released or harvested, these managers oversee the process, collect data, and evaluate health indicators for the stock. The job requires a lot of time outdoors with tanks or incubators. However, it’s not all scientific method for these professionals. They also have to use their administrative knowledge to develop and manage their budgets and they monitor regulations and safety standards, since using the wrong chemicals could endanger other workers or spoil the fish.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Farmers, Ranchers, and other Agricultural Managers.
- National Center for O*NET Development. 11-9013.03. O*NET OnLine.
- The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.