Aquaculture hatchery technician

Aquaculture hatchery technicians


Aquaculture hatchery technicians operate and control all aspects of the hatchery production processes, from broodstock management to pregrowing juveniles.

The duties of an aquaculture hatchery technician include, but are not limited to:

  • Sorting eggs based on quality and removing any eggs with defects
  • Observing and monitoring incubation equipment to ensure that temperatures remain within a safe range
  • Monitoring egg quality and performing minor maintenance tasks on incubation equipment such as changing water or adjusting humidity levels
  • Cleaning and maintaining the facility’s equipment, including incubators and hatcheries
  • Feeding chicks and collecting eggs from nesting boxes to be weighed and checked for cracks
  • Handling chicks that have been abandoned by their mothers or are otherwise unable to survive on their own
  • Observing the development of chicks through photos or video recordings to identify any issues with their health or development
  • Separating chicks from their parents in order to provide them with proper care
  • Collecting data about egg production rates and hatching results to help improve breeding practices

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to aquaculture hatchery technician:

fish hatchery technician
technician in aquaculture hatchery
fish farm hatchery technician

Working conditions

Aquaculture hatchery technicians work in fish hatcheries, which are usually located in rural areas near streams, lakes, or oceans. They may work in greenhouses or in outdoor ponds. Most hatcheries are open year-round, but the busiest times are during the spring and summer when fish are spawning and hatching.

Aquaculture hatchery technicians typically work a 40-hour week, but they may work overtime during these busy times. The work can be physically demanding, and hatchery technicians must be able to lift 50-pound sacks of fish food and work in cold water. They also must be able to follow safety procedures to protect themselves and the fish from harmful chemicals.

Minimum qualifications

Most aquaculture hatchery technicians have at least a high school diploma. Some employers prefer to hire technicians with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science or a related field. Courses in these programs include genetics, reproductive physiology, animal nutrition and microbiology.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Aquaculture hatchery technician is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Aquaculture hatchery technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to aquaculture hatchery technician.

aquaculture rearing technician
aquaculture hatchery manager
aquaculture recirculation technician
water-based aquaculture technician
aquaculture hatchery worker

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of aquaculture hatchery technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of aquaculture hatchery technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

aquaculture site supervisor
wastewater treatment operator
fisheries observer
forestry inspector
aquaculture quality supervisor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of aquaculture hatchery technician.

  • Animal welfare legislation: The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.
  • Aquaculture reproduction: The techniques used to induce spawning, spawning on nests, stripping using appropriate techniques for specific species of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and others. The environmental control of spawning, the use of hormones to induce reproduction and the broodstock recruitment by genetic selection.
  • Fish biology: The study of fish, shellfish or crustacean organisms, categorized into many specialised fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behaviour, origins and distribution.
  • Sanitation measures for aquaculture hatchery production: Standards of sanitation and cleanliness essential to effective control of fungi and other parasites under intensive culture conditions.
  • Green water incubation technology: The green water incubation technology used during aquaculture hatchery.
  • Plankton production: The methods, characteristics and equipment used to cultivate phytoplankton, microalgae and live prey such as rotifers or Artemia with advanced techniques.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of aquaculture hatchery technician.

  • Interpret scientific data to assess water quality: Analyse and interpret data like biological properties to know the quality of water.
  • Monitor feeding systems: Make sure that feeders, feeding system and monitoring instruments are working. Analyse feedback from the instruments.
  • Maintain the production of juveniles at the nursery stage: Maintain the production of juveniles at the nursery stage using advanced high density production techniques
  • Manage animal biosecurity: Plan and use appropriate biosafety measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure effective overall biosecurity. Maintain and follow biosecurity procedures and infection control when working with animals, including recognising potential health issues and taking appropriate action, communicating site hygiene control measures and biosecurity procedures, as well as reporting to others.
  • Carry out feeding operations: Carry out manual feeding. Calibrate and operate automatic and computerised feeding systems.
  • Monitor fish health status: Monitor the health of fish, based on feeding and general behaviour. Interpret environmental parameters and analyse mortalities.
  • Induce spawning of cultured aquaculture species: Induce spawning using appropriate techniques for specific cultured species of fish, molluscs, crustaceans or others. Determine sexual maturity of broodstock, using appropriate techniques as indicated for cultured species of fish, molluscs and crustaceans. Control broodstock sexual cycle. Use hormones to induce reproduction.
  • Cultivate plankton production: Cultivate phytoplankton and microalgae. Cultivate live prey such as rotifers or Artemia with advanced techniques.
  • Condition broodstock: Incubate eggs until hatching. Assess quality of eggs. Inspect fish eggs. Remove dead, unviable, and off-colour eggs using a suction syringe. Produce eyed eggs. Hatch and maintain new-born larvae.
  • Preserve fish samples for diagnosis: Collect and preserve larval, fish and mollusc samples or lesions for diagnosis by fish disease specialists.
  • Carry out waste water treatment: Perform waste water treatment according to regulations checking for biological waste and chemical waste.
  • Enforce sanitation procedures: Ensure standards of sanitation and cleanliness essential to effective control of fungi and other parasites under intensive culture conditions. Obtain uncontaminated fish and eggs by strict sanitary procedures and avoidance of carrier fish. Supervise the isolation and identification of the agent with specific immune antiserum.
  • Manage capture broodstock operations: Plan and conduct wild broodstock capture and quarantine wild broodstock if necessary. Monitor the collection of larvae or juveniles from environment. Control the use of appropriate techniques for the specific species i.e. fish, molluscs, crustaceans or others.
  • Screen live fish deformities: Screen for deformities in live fish including larvae
  • Operate hatchery recirculation system: Efficiently operate a hatchery recirculation system for specified aquatic organisms
  • Carry out hatchery production processes: Collect naturally spawned fish eggs, eliminate egg adhesiveness, incubate eggs until hatching, hatch and maintain newly born larvae, monitor larvae status, carry out early feeding and rearing techniques of the cultured species.
  • Handle broodstock: Handle wild and cultured broodstock. Quarantine wild and cultured broodstock. Select individuals for culture and/or fattening.
  • Monitor water quality: Measure water quality: temperature, oxygen, salinity, pH, N2, NO2,NH4, CO2, turbidity, chlorophyll. Monitor microbiological water quality.
  • Carry out maintenance of aquaculture equipment: Maintain aquaculture equipment and identify equipment needs. Carry out routine maintenance and minor repairs as needed.
  • Maintain hatchery records: Carefully maintain hatchery production records and inventory. Maintain accurate hatchery records including the preparation of health documents for the transport of juveniles.
  • Monitor hatchery production: Monitor and maintain hatchery production, monitoring stocks and movements.
  • Ensure aquaculture personnel health and safety: Make sure that health and safety procedures have been established and followed across all aquaculture facilities including cages. Ensure that personnel and general public are instructed and all work activities are carried out according to relevant health and safety regulations.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of aquaculture hatchery technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Genetic selection programme: The methods used to plan and carry out a genetic selection programme for selected species of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and others.
  • Environmental legislation: The environmental policies and legislation applicable in a certain domain.
  • Cost management: The process of planning, monitoring and adjusting the expenses and revenues of a business in order to achieve cost efficiency and capability.
  • Fish anatomy: The study of the form or morphology of fish species.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of aquaculture hatchery technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Work in outdoor conditions: Can cope with the different climate conditions such as heat, rain, cold or in strong wind.
  • Communicate verbal instructions: Communicate transparent instructions. Ensure that messages are understood and followed correctly.
  • Use water disinfection equipment: Operate equipment for water disinfection, using different methods and techniques, such as mechanical filtration, depending on needs.
  • Lead a team: Lead, supervise and motivate a group of people, in order to meet the expected results within a given timeline and with the foreseen resources in mind.
  • Perform spawning and fertilisation on fish eggs: Carry out spawning and fertilisation techniques on fish eggs
  • Grade young fish: Grade young cultured species.
  • Make time-critical decisions: Pursue optimal time-critical decision making within the organisation.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Work in inclement conditions: Work outdoors in hot or cold circumstances.
  • Use aquacultural heating equipment: Operate water heating and pump equipment as appropriate such as electrical heaters, heat exchangers, heat pumps, and solar pumps.
  • Use oxygenation equipment: Operate different water oxygenation systems according to requirements: surface aerators, paddle wheel aerators, column/cascade aerators, and pure oxygenation systems.
  • Feed broodstock: Feed broodstock according to nutritional needs. This will initially include live prey such as rotifers and artemia.
  • Communicate in English in a competent way: Competent use of English; R351refers to level C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

ISCO group and title

6221 – Aquaculture workers

  1. Aquaculture hatchery technician – ESCO
  2. Hatchery Technician Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Featured image: By Archives of Ontario’s GLAM Wiki project., OGL-ON
Last updated on October 28, 2022

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