Water-based aquaculture workers carry out manual activities in the ongrowing processes of cultured aquatic organisms in water-based suspended systems (floating or submerged structures). They participate in extraction operations and the handling of organisms for commercialisation. Water-based aquaculture workers maintain and clean facilities (nets, mooring ropes, cages).
The duties of a water-based aquaculture worker include, but are not limited to:
- feeding and grading fish, and monitoring their growth
- assisting with farm layout and constructing nets, long-lines and cages
- checking and looking after equipment and fish housing
- operating pumps and other equipment
- testing and checking on water quality
- removing dead and dying fish
- operating lifting equipment such as forklifts and small cranes
- harvesting fish, and sorting and packing for transportation
- restocking pens, pools, tanks, ponds, rivers and dams with juvenile fish
- collecting and recording growth, production and water quality data.
The following job titles also refer to water-based aquaculture worker:
water-based fish culture worker
worker in water-based aquaculture
water-based fisheries worker
water-based fish farm worker
No formal educational credential is required to work as water-based aquaculture worker.
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.
Water-based aquaculture worker is a Skill level 1 occupation.
Water-based aquaculture worker career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to water-based aquaculture worker.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of water-based aquaculture worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of water-based aquaculture worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of water-based aquaculture worker.
- Rope manipulation: Rope manipulation which relates to knotting and splicing.
- Fish welfare regulations: The set of rules that apply in fish harvesting methods which ensure fish well-being.
- Pedagogy: The discipline that concerns the theory and practice of education including the various instructional methods for educating individuals or groups.
- Operation of lifting gears: Use of different types of lifting gears, such as winches, telescopic loaders, sea cranes, forklift trucks.
- Operation of transport equipment: Use of transportation gear, such as car, forklift, truck, tractor, trailer, convoy.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of water-based aquaculture worker.
- Assess cage water quality: Analyse the quality of water by monitoring the state of temperature and oxygen, among other parameters.
- Carry out shellfish depuration procedures: Place shellfish into large tanks of clean water that is continuously disinfected to allow purging of physical impurities.
- Collect dead fish: Gather dead fish in recipients like tanks and cages.
- Carry out standard aquaculture stock health operations: Perform activities that ensure monitoring and implementation of aquaculture health standards and health analysis of the fish population.
- Work in a fishery team: Work as part of a crew or team, and meet team deadlines and responsibilities together.
- Maintain waterbased aquaculture facilities: Clean off fouling and maintain floating and submerged aquaculture structures. Repair floating and submerged aquaculture structures.
- Stock fish into holding units: Place fish into holding units. Maintain adequate environmental conditions within the unit.
- Measure water quality parameters: Quality assure water by taking into consideration various elements, such as temperature.
- Prepare fish treatment facilities: Prepare fish treatment facilities to effectively isolate contaminated fish during treatment. Control the application of treatments to avoid contaminating other stock, containers and the wider environment.
- Observe abnormal fish behaviour: Observe, describe and monitor abnormal fish behaviour in respect of feeding, swimming, surfacing.
- Measure the impact of specific aquaculture activity: Identify and measure the biological, physico-chemical impacts of specific aquaculture farm activity on the environment. Carry out all necessary tests, including collection and processing of samples for analysis.
- Preserve fish samples for diagnosis: Collect and preserve larval, fish and mollusc samples or lesions for diagnosis by fish disease specialists.
- Collect growth rate information: Collect information on growth rate in farm aquatic species.
- Operate fish capture equipment: Operate fish capture equipment, for grading, sampling or harvesting purposes.
- Collect live fish: Gather fish using techniques which minimise the stress caused to fish and avoid fish escapes occurring.
- Prepare aquatic animals for harvesting: Grade fish, molluscs, crustaceans manually and using equipment in preparation for harvesting.
- Carry out fish disease prevention measures: Carry out disease prevention measures for fish, molluscs, and crustaceans for land-based and water-based aquaculture facilities.
- Maintain shellfish depuration equipment: Maintain all utensils, equipment and work surfaces in clean condition. Disinfect frequently tanks with chlorine or other disinfecting agents approved by State regulatory authorities.
- Transfer fish: Transfer fully grown fish to a body of water, using a tank truck.
- Carry out preparations for fish disease specialist: Prepare environment and equipment for fish disease specialist treatments, including vaccination treatments.
- Operate small craft: Operate small craft used for transport and feeding.
- Prepare fish holding units: Clean the holding unit before receiving fish. Determine the water volume and flow rate. Prevent leaks. Conduct swim through.
- Harvest live aquatic species: Prepare for harvesting live species. Harvest live aquatic species including shellfish for human consumption.
- Apply standard feeding and nutrition protocols: Make up feed on-site. Feed animals by hand or with feeding machines according to agreed protocols. Monitor animal feeding behaviour.
- Transport fish: Capture, load, transport, unload and stock live and harvested fish, molluscs, crustaceans from farm to client. Maintain water quality during transport to reduce stress.
- Prepare for small craft operation: Prepare for personnel operation of small craft, both with licence and without licence.
- Collect fish samples for diagnosis: Collect fish and shellfish samples for diagnosis by fish diseases specialists.
- Collect biological data: Collect biological specimens, record and summarise biological data for use in technical studies, developing environmental management plans and biological products.
- Carry out fish transportation: Can manually lift, transfer, position and set down a load, using lifting gears such as forklifts, winches, sea cranes and others. Can operate equipment used in the transportation of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and others, such as trucks, tractors, trailers, conveyers, etc.
- Swim: Move through water by means of the limbs.
- Measure water flow: Measure water flow, water intakes and catchments.
- Operate hatchery trays: Fill hatchery trays with fertilised eggs and place trays in incubation troughs.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of water-based aquaculture worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Fish identification and classification: The processes which allow the identification and classification of fish.
- 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.
- Fishing gear: Identification of the different gear used in capture fisheries and their functional capacity.
- Environmental legislation: The environmental policies and legislation applicable in a certain domain.
- 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.
- 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 water-based aquaculture worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Monitor fish mortality rates: Monitor fish mortalities and assess possible causes.
- Maintain internal communication systems: Maintain an effective internal communication system among employees and department managers.
- Communicate in an outdoor setting: Communicate with participants in more than one language of the European Union; handle a crisis following guidelines and recognise the importance of proper behaviour in crisis situations.
- Use communication devices: Operate communication devices in order to interact with customers, colleagues, and others.
- Screen live fish deformities: Examine live fish, including larvae, to detect deformities related to body shape, jaw deformity, vertebral deformity and skeletal deformity. If not detected, these could lead to risks for fish, such as swimming performance, feed efficiency, limit of the feed, infectious disease and lethality.
- Perform diving interventions: Perform hyperbaric interventions at a maximum pressure of 4 atmospheres. Prepare and review the personal equipment and the auxiliary material. Perform and supervise the dive. Realise maintenance of the diving equipment and auxiliary material. Apply security measures to ensure the divers’ safety when realising deep immersions.
- Prepare fish harvesting equipment: Prepare fish harvesting equipment and facilities for the efficient slaughter of the fish and subsequent storage.
- Maintain diving equipment; Perform maintenance actions, including small repairs, on diving equipment.
- Maintain fish harvesting equipment: Clean and store fish harvesting equipment after use.
- Check diving equipment: Check diving equipment for valid certification to ensure its suitability. Ensure that any diving equipment is examined by a competent person before use, at least once on each day on which it is to be used. Ensure that it is adequately tested and repaired.
- Handle harvested fish: Handle harvested fish in a manner which maintains flesh quality. Effectively store fish in chilled storage.
- Communicate by telephone: Liaise via telephone by making and answering calls in a timely, professional and polite manner.
ISCO group and title
9216 – Fishery and aquaculture labourers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Aquaculture Worker | Your Career
- Featured image: By US Fish and Wildlife Service – Recovery Act Team – Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery, Public Domain