Careers in Aquaculture
There are many types of careers and occupations in the aquaculture sector – ranging from on-farm jobs to careers in academia and government.
Many of the occupations are highly skilled and require both formal training and on-the-job upgrading. The occupations are typically year-round, well-paying and include numerous benefits. Many of the jobs in the farm sector are found in rural communities; these jobs require dedicated individuals with a keen sense of responsibility for animal care and environmental stewardship.
A partial listing of occupations in the sector includes:
- Fish farm technician
- Farm manager
- Saltwater production manager
- Hatchery technician
- Hatchery manager
- Environmental and regulatory affairs manager
- Fish health technician
- Aquaculture engineer
- Research scientist
- Policy advisor
- Regulatory affairs officer
- Aquaculture development specialist
- Aquaculture extension officers
- Habitat biologist
- Environmental assessment technician
- Research technician
- Aquaculture diver
- Feed production technician
- Aquatic veterinarian
- Processing line supervisor
- Processing line operator
- Waste management technologist
- Research and development coordinator
As the aquaculture sector grows, new positions are available every week across the country. Many of these positions are in rural areas where there is a lack of recruits due to an aging workforce – or to the exodus of skilled workers to other regions of the country. As a result, there is currently a shortage of skilled labour in the farm production and post-production processing side of operations. Industry is therefore actively recruiting personnel from around the globe, including: Poland, Northern Africa, South America and Asia.
CAIA is a member of Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC). The mandate of CAHRC is to find solutions to the labour market constraints faced by the industry.
Some ongoing initiatives include:
- Performance of industry-wide labour market inventory and needs assessment for producers
- Development of recruitment and retention programs for skilled labour
- Inventory of education and training programs in Canada
- Description of on-farm occupations
- Identification of new markets and future skills needs
- Communications and career awareness initiatives
Education and Training
Many on-farm aquaculture jobs require specialized skills in business, technology, science, communications, or fish husbandry; these skills can usually only be obtained from a combination of formal and on-the-job training. There are fewer than 12 specialized facilities in Canada that offer formal aquaculture training. Training offered by these facilities ranges from technical short courses to technology diplomas, degrees and post-graduate studies.
Many colleges and universities offer training in fields that provide useful services in various parts of the sector, such as: research and development, business skills, environmental management or communications, IT, and engineering.