Aquaculture Technician

An aquaculture technician is a professional responsible for cultivating and maintaining aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and seaweed in controlled environments such as ponds, tanks, and sea farms. Their primary role is to ensure the health and well-being of the animals, optimize growth rates, and maximize yield while adhering to best management practices. They work in various settings, monitoring water quality, feeding and caring for the animals, managing disease outbreaks, and maintaining the equipment and infrastructure necessary for the operation.

At a Glance

The day begins early in the morning before the sun rises. As an aquaculture technician, I know the early morning hours are crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of the aquatic organisms under my care. I made my way to the hatchery, where I spent the first hours of the day monitoring water quality and adjusting the systems as needed.

After completing my morning rounds, I focused on feeding the fish and other aquatic creatures in our care. I carefully measured the appropriate amounts of feed, distributing it evenly throughout the tanks and ponds.

Throughout the day, I watched the animals' health and behaviour, looking for signs of stress, disease, or other issues. I adjusted the water quality or environment to ensure their comfort and safety.

As the day drew close, I began preparing for the next day, making notes and updating records to ensure everything was for the following morning. I left the hatchery feeling satisfied, knowing that my work had contributed to the well-being of the aquatic organisms under my care and the sustainability of the aquaculture industry. 

You start your inspection by looking for signs of mites with your magnifying glass, taking careful notes of what you see.

In addition to the mites, you look for other common pests, such as worms and aphids, and different weeds that might be growing in the field. You won't be checking every tomato plant today, but rather random sampling of plants at various locations within the field.

You will gather data on the weed and insect species you see and take this information to the district's agronomist.

You will then discuss the findings with the agronomist, and together you will prepare a list of recommendations for the farmer, advising on the proper insecticide to eliminate the spider mites and the proper herbicide to control the weeds.

Job Duties

Job duties can vary from one position to the next, but in general, aquaculture technicians are involved in the following activies:

 

  • Assist aquaculturists and fisheries personnel in the operation of hatcheries and aquatic farms.
  • Implement and adhere to farm safety protocols to ensure personnel and team safety.
  • Prepare sacks, ropes, nets, and cages for finfish and shellfish.
  • Tighten, clean, and mend lines, ropes, and nets.
  • Operate equipment such as boats, cranes, forklifts, and feed blowers.
  • Feed aquaculture stocks and report irregularities.
  • Assist farm managers in culling and marking stock according to outlined procedures.
  • Clean, maintain, and repair equipment and enclosures, including scuba diving and snorkelling when necessary.
  • Collect and spawn brood fish.
  • Harvest and transport fish.

Work Environment

Aquaculture technicians work in a variety of locations, including:

 The office: 

  • Operating computerized feed and environmental monitoring systems.
  • Maintaining databases of information, for example, records of growth, feeding, and mortality rates.
  • Communicating on the phone and in meetings with colleagues and supervisors.

The field:

  • Monitoring, maintaining, and cleaning equipment.
  • Feeding, grading, and weighing fish.
  • Monitoring and maintaining enclosures, including using boats and diving equipment to clear debris from cages and pens.
  • Implementing farm safety protocols.

Positions on an aquacultural farm can be isolating at times, with remote workstations and long hours.

Where to Work

There are several places where aquaculture technicians can find employment. They include:

  • Commercial fish farms and feed producers
  • Federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government departments
  • Colleges, universities, and research institutes
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms
  • Marine science institutions and aquariums
  • Not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations
  • Self-employed consultant


Search for jobs on the ECO Canada Job Board.

Education and Skills

Education

If you are considering a career as an aquaculture technician, you should have a strong interest in the following:

  • Biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Mathematics.
  • English.

If you are considering a career as an aquaculture technician, the following programs are most applicable:

  • Aquaculture.
  • Marine Biology.
  • Ecology.
  • Aquatic Biology.
  • Fish and Wildlife.
  • Fisheries and Biology.

In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as an aquaculture technician is a college technical diploma.

Certification is not mandatory in order to work as an aquaculture technician, though many practitioners choose to belong to organizations such as the Aquaculture Association of Canada.

Our Environmental Professional (EP) designation can also help you progress in your chosen environmental career.

Skills

Technical Skills 

  • Aquaculture.
  • Animal Husbandry.
  • Biology.
  • Marine Biology.
  • Animal Care.
  • Spawning.
  • Equipment Repair.
  • Data Analysis.

Personal and Professional Skills 

  • Operations.
  • Detail Oriented.
  • Self-Motivated.
  • Research.
  • Quality Control.
  • Communications.
  • Interpersonal Communications.
  • Willingness to Learn.
  • Creative Thinking.

Education and Skills

Patrick Ménard

The most interesting part of his job for Patrick Ménard is the "human element." "We develop a relationship with our clients, the farmers, on the job. Also, I enjoy being able to work outdoors, especially during the summer months." "My job is very diverse and changes with the seasons. In the summer we work mostly outdoors, checking the state of our clients' (the farmers) fields and working on conserving resources-preventing soil erosion.

During the winter we work closely with farmers to provide them with farm-produce plans. This takes about three days to one week for each client." "We work on the computer using air photos of the client's land to determine the quantity of land surface, the contours of the fields, the exact location of fields, etc." Patrick's job focuses on change over the long term. "We like to take a slow approach to change, using testing and training to help bring changes in farming habits about.

We check fields for erosion that is caused by the slope or angle of the fields, and based on that we suggest new ways of working the soil." To maintain the soil, Patrick encourages farmers to use proper aeration techniques, keep residues on the ground and use different planting techniques. Patrick trained for his position through a three-year college/CEGEP program and studies at an agricultural college in Quebec.

Your Impact

The impact of an aquaculture technician is multi-faceted and significant, with effects ranging from environmental sustainability to economic growth and food security.

One of the most significant impacts of aquaculture technicians is their ability to promote sustainable practices in the industry. By monitoring water quality, minimizing waste and pollution, and ensuring the health and welfare of aquatic organisms, aquaculture technicians help maintain a delicate balance between the needs of the environment and industry.

Another significant impact of aquaculture technicians is their role in supporting economic growth and food security. As the global population continues to grow, the demand for seafood increases, and aquaculture becomes a critical source of protein for millions of people worldwide. By maximizing yields, minimizing costs, and promoting best management practices, aquaculture technicians help support the industry's growth and provide a reliable food source for communities worldwide.

Aquaculture technicians also significantly impact innovation as they develop and implement new technologies and techniques to improve the health and growth of aquatic organisms. From advances in feed and nutrition to the development of new equipment and systems, aquaculture technicians are often at the forefront of innovation in the industry.

Occupational Classification

Aquaculture technicians are classified in the following occupational grouping:

 

NOC Code: 22110 – Biological technologists and technicians

What is an NOC Code? 

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers, and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data and describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.

The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

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