AQUACULTURISTS cultivate and harvest fin fish, shellfish, and other aquatic or marine life in ponds or tanks. They collect the fish and remove the eggs from the female fish. They fill the hatchery trays with fertilized eggs, and place the trays in incubation troughs. They inspect the eggs and discard dead or bad ones. They watch the appearance of developing fish to detect disease, and add medications to food and water. They sort the fin fish or shellfish according to size, color, and species, and transfer to rearing areas. When the fish mature, aquaculturists transfer them to rivers and lakes or arrange for the sale of the fish.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $37,500 average per year ($18.00 per hour)
- A small occupation (7,500 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow slowly (0.6% per year)
AQUACULTURISTS should have at least a bachelor's degree in aquaculture and courses in agribusiness. The government has regulations affecting site development, water use and discharge. Species permits, and marketing regulations vary from state to state. Permits may be required or production and/or marketing may even be prohibited. Prospective aquaculturists should contact the state Cooperative Extension Service and wildlife fisheries agencies to determine if permits or licenses are required for a proposed aquacultural project.