Around 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water and someone needs to look after it. If you are fascinated by what goes on under the surface of the water then the role of aquaculturist might be the job for you. Aquaculturists are vital to maintaining the health of our marine life and ensuring sustainability. There might be plenty of fish in the sea right now, but that may not always be the case.
If you have an interest in the environment, and particularly water, and want to know what kind of job could help you explore this passion, read on to learn all about the life of an aquaculturist.
Basics of the Job
As an aquaculturist, you will concern yourself with the culturing and growing of various types of fish and aquatic plants. You will analyse the health of the fish, the water chemistry and use your technical skills to ensure conditions are perfect for the wildlife to flourish. You will use ponds, net cages, and tanks to breed fish in a controlled environment before transferring them into lakes and rivers.
One project you might work on could be breeding trout to restock a nearby lake. It will be your task to monitor the development of the fish on a daily basis and to pinpoint any factors that could be harming them. You will keep an eye on food levels, water quality and behaviour. You will also need to slowly introduce external factors that will help them adapt to what will eventually be their natural habitat. Any problems you find will require data to be sent to the lab for testing.
Your work life as an aquaculturist will be rich in variety and will include a range of practical and theoretical work. Before any breeding projects are commenced, you will need to go through a meticulous planning procedure. Once that is done, you will set up the hatcheries and nurseries and continue to monitor them throughout the program. You will implement systems to operate and analyse the progress of the project and make adjustments to conditions when necessary.
Once the fish have been successfully bred you will need to keep a detailed record of everything that happened – including any obstacles you encountered. These records may then be shared among other members of the aquaculture community. You may even find yourself giving presentations to executives, government officials or researchers.
Where You Will Work
You will divide your time between the field, lab, and office, depending on what kind of work needs to be done. In the field, you work will be practical and you will take action to ensure the smooth running of your projects. In the lab, you will use specialised equipment to analyse data samples. Finally, back in the office you will record your findings and use your data analysis to solve problems and make predictions as to the future of your project.
Who to Work For
Most commercial fish farms will need aquaculturists on board. This is most likely going to be your first port of call if you choose to take this career path. Alternatively, you can find work with feed producers, pharmaceutical firms and biotechnology companies. You may also want to work as a consultant, but this will require you to actively seek out your own work. The benefit of this is having the freedom to choose the kind of work you take on. Finally, there are positions available within government and research institutes.