An AFS Guide to Fisheries Employment

Edited by Tracy D. Hill

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
South Dakota State University

Robert M. Neumann
Department of Natural Resources Management and Engineering
University of Connecticut

American Fisheries Society, Education Section, Bethesda, Maryland
An AFS Guide to Fisheries Employment is a special project of the Student Subsection of the Education Section American Fisheries Society
Copyright 1995 by the Education Section,American Fisheries Society
Permission is given to individuals to make single copies of chapters for personal use.
January 1996  ISBN 0-91323S-98-9


Contents

Getting Started Early: Undergraduate Fisheries Curriculum Development and Professional Involvement
     David W. Willis, Bruce W. Menzel, and StephenA.Flickinger.........................................................................................................................................1
2  Building a Resume
   Richard L. Noble and Michael J. Van Den Avyle ............................................................................................................................................................9
3 Finding a Graduate Program in Fisheries
    Donald J. orth and Ira A. Adelman . .............................................................................................................................................................................19
4 Equal opportunities in Fisheries Employment
    Christine M. Moffit and Cay C. Goude .... ....................................................................................................................................................................35
5 Landing a State Agency Job
    Linda Erickson-Eastwood and Fred A. Harris................................................................................................................................................................41
6 U.S. Federal Employment
    Neil B. Armantrout and Hannibal Bolton ........................................................................................................................................................................47
7 Fisheries Employment outside the U.S. and Canada
    Gene R. Huntsman and Richard A. Neal ........................................................................................................................................................................55
8 Fisheries Employment in Canada
    Bruce A. Barton ............................................................................................................................................................................................................69
9 Academic Positions in Fisheries Science
    Brian R. Murphy and F. Joseph Margraf ........................................................................................................................................................................81
10 Working for Non-Governmental organizations
    Andrew J. Loftus............................................................................................................................................................................................................89
11 Employment in Aquaculture
    Nick C. Parker and Arden J. Trandahl.............................................................................................................................................................................97
12 Private Consulting
    Donald MacDonald and Forrest Olson . .
........................................................................................................................................................................101
13. Professionalism in Fisheries Science
    Paul Brouha and Robert L. Kendall
..................................................................................................................................................................................107


Employment in Aquaculture 1

NICK C. PARKER AND ARDEN J. TRANDAHL

1 Publication No. T-9-705 of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University.


Aquaculture is defined as the production of aquatic species -vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Although many people identify aquaculture with fish farming and even more narrowly as the production of fish in fresh waters, aquaculture is similar to agriculture and produces a wide variety of food fish, hobby fish, bait fish, ornamental plants, shrimp, mollusks, and algae. Today, about 20% by weight and 30% by value of all fish and fisheries products are produced by aquaculturists. As the catch from global fisheries declines, the importance of aquaculture products is expected to expand. Job opportunities in aquaculture are wide ranging and employ the skills and training of all levels from high school graduates to individuals with highly specialized doctoral degrees. This chapter presents some of the job opportunities in aquaculture with the skills and training required for those jobs.

Commercial Producers

Fish farms may be privately owned or owned by large corporations. Depending upon size, fish farms employ individuals with varied levels of formal training and experience. Frequently, the owner or manager of a fish farm will be a professionally trained aquaculturist with a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in fisheries or aquaculture. If not, management will have access to such an individual. Expertise required of personnel working on a fish farm includes the ability to spawn, feed, and care for fish of all sizes and ages in marine, freshwater, warmwater and cold water environments. At least some of the employees must be trained to monitor water quality using specialized equipment to measure oxygen, ammonia, pH, etc., and to monitor fish health by routinely using microscopes to examine fish and microbiological techniques to identify fish pathogens.

Fish-farm personnel may be employed to culture aquatic organisms such as rotifers and other invertebrates as food for larval fish. Still others are involved in construction of ponds, installation and maintenance of pumps and other equipment. Commercial fish producers also employ personnel to harvest and grade aquatic species for restocking or to pack and ship them for sale. For some of the simpler tasks, graduates of two-year technical schools are often highly sought as potential employees by commercial fish farms. Individuals with formal classroom training in aquaculture often secure their first experience through internships or other on-site programs providing hands-on experience. Job opportunities exist for individuals with I undergraduate and graduate level degrees; however, the number of jobs available is inversely proportional to the level of training.

Governments Agencies

Some of the earliest aquaculturists were employed in government hatcheries to propagate and stock cultured finfish and marine invertebrates. Jobs for aquaculturists still exist at many levels of government.

Many local, state, and federal agencies with technical assistance programs or regulatory responsibilities employ aquaculturists. Individuals with an understanding of aquaculture or with special training ranging from associate to doctoral degrees are employed by public agencies to provide assistance to the industry through extension offices and diagnostic laboratories. other aquculturists have beengovernment employed to assist with financial planning, insurance, marketing, etc. Agencies which employ aquaculturists at the national level include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. National Biological Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Department of Defense. At the state level, aquaculturists are employed by the department of agriculture, the department of natural resources, the water quality agencies, and state extension offices. When aquaculturists are hired at the local government level, it is usually in association with a state or federal program.

Research opportunities in laboratories operated by various government agencies provide challenging employment opportunities for individuals with a multitude of specialties related to aquaculture. Chemists, biologists, physiologists, endocrinologists, veterinarians, engineers, nutritionists, and numerous other specialists are employed in laboratories in support of aquaculture programs. Most government jobs require specialized training at the level of a bachelor's degree, while others require a master's or doctoral degree.

Universities

Private and public universities employ individuals with skills in aquaculture or supportive of aquaculture. Probably every Land-Grant university and all college programs associated with Sea-Grant universities employ faculty and research personnel with knowledge and expertise in aquaculture. Job opportunities range from administrative positions and professors to technicians and graduate students. Programs are housed in the departments of agriculture, biology, engineering, and fisheries. Daily activities may include classroom instruction, research in laboratories (on campus or at offcampus sites) and diagnostic and extension services. Most job opportunities in universities are for individuals with graduate level training -- master of science and doctoral degrees.

Support Services

A wide variety of job opportunities for individuals at all levels of training exist in support of the aquaculture industry. Individuals with training ranging from two-year associate degrees through doctoral degrees in fisheries and in aquaculture often are employed to assist in developing and marketing supplies and services for the aquaculture industry. opportunities exist for individuals with master and doctoral degrees in the development and marketing of chemicals including drugs, hormones, herbicides, anesthetics, etc. Hardware manufacturers and vendors employ individuals with bachelor and master degrees to supply tanks, aquariums, pumps, seines, nets, analytical equipment, blowers, buildings, pond liners, aerators, and Other equipment and supplies within the aquaculture industry.

I Consulting and engineering firms hire aquaculturists to assist in design and operation of facilities, to solve specific problems within the [industry, and to provide timely guidance to owners and investors of aquaculture firms. Fish processing plants, wholesalers, and marketing and advertising firms hire individuals knowledgeable of the aquaculture industry. Every manufacturer of fish feeds employs at least one individual with training in aquaculture. Some feed manufacturers employ aquaculturists to conduct in-house research and to provide support within the industry through extension activities. Some aquaculturists have moved into the retail business and work in pet shops to sell ornamental fish, aquatic plants, and supplies. others are employed, principally in California and Florida, to inspect, package or repackage live fish for interstate or international shipment.

Summary

Aquaculture is a relatively new and growing field with a wide array of job opportunities. Many of the opportunities for employment are developed and shaped by the skills and traits of the successful job applicants. Worldwide, no area of agriculture is expanding as rapidly as aquaculture. The future for employment in aquaculture and its related fields looks very bright.

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the assistance of R. Patino, National Biological Service; S. Demarais and J. Winter, Texas Tech University, for their reviews and editorial assistance.