What they do
Aquaculture farmers rear fish and other aquatic livestock such as oysters, marron, crayfish and prawns. They may work in the open seas or in specially prepared areas such as tanks, dams or shallows that contain cages. They inspect the livestock and ensure healthy growing conditions by checking the oxygen levels and temperature of the water, and make sure that it's free from contamination. They determine when to harvest their livestock, and oversee its harvesting, grading and transportation. They also organise the sale of their stock and manage the business side of their farm.
Aquaculture farmers work either in boats on the open sea or in hatcheries. They work in all weather conditions and often need to work early and long hours, particularly during harvesting. They may also spend time in offices undertaking administrative tasks.
Tools and technologies
Aquaculture farmers may operate fishing vessels and the harvesting machinery onboard these vessels. They may also operate tanks, ponds, open-water cages and other enclosures. They may be required to operate scuba equipment if their farming operation requires diving. They also use ropes, knives, winches, hydraulic machinery and fish-feeding machinery.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become an aquaculture farmer, you usually need to gain a qualification in aquaculture, marine science or a related area.
The Certificate II, III and IV in Aquaculture and Diploma of Aquaculture are offered at TAFE colleges throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in seafood (aquaculture) (level 2, level 3 or level 4). The traineeships usually take 12 to 36 months to complete and the level 2 traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.
You can also undertake a university degree with a major in marine science, marine and freshwater biology or a related area.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To operate an aquaculture farm in Western Australia, you will need to obtain an aquaculture licence from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development