When you think of farming, you probably think of wheat, oats, cattle or
horses. But there's another type of farming that's becoming an important part
of the food chain -- fish farming. Students in aquaculture programs work with
fish and shellfish, ranging from trout to tilapia, catfish to salmon and oysters.
Aquaculture programs cover both the technical aspects of fish farming and
the business side of running an aquaculture operation.
The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, offers major,
minor, certificate and master's degrees in aquaculture. It typically takes
four years for an undergraduate student to earn a degree in aquaculture, says
Junda Lin, associate chair of the aquaculture program.
Required courses for a student majoring in aquaculture include introduction
to aquaculture, molluscan aquaculture, crustacean aquaculture and fish aquaculture,
Lin says. Many marine biology courses are available as course electives, as
well as courses in calculus, physics, humanities, chemistry and biology.
Many of the aquaculture students at the Florida Institute of Technology
have internships at the nearby Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
(HBOI), Disney World and other institutions. The institute works closely with
HBOI because the organization has a strong aquaculture research and commercial
program, Lin says.
Aquaculture programs at the University of Miami focus on the technological,
environmental and economic feasibility of sustained aquaculture operations,
says professor Daniel Benetti.
"What I think is really important about our program is that it provides
a wide range of opportunities in virtually all areas related to aquaculture,"
Students undertaking aquaculture studies should have dedication to their
field and be willing to work long, odd hours, Lin says. Because aquaculture
is interdisciplinary, backgrounds in biology, math, business and engineering
would be helpful to students, as well as computer skills.
High school students could also do volunteer work in fisheries or aquaculture.
This program has all the usual costs of tuition and textbooks.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
The OOH has no information on aquaculturists, but for related
information, see Fishers and Related Fishing Workers
Aquaculture Network Information Server
A collection of resources
World Aquaculture Society
Get information on fish farming and more
Information about fish farming systems and more