If you are considering a career in aquaculture, you may wonder if your qualifications, skills, and strengths are a good fit.
There are legions of articles answering this question for popular fields such as marketing, HR, and customer services. But, because aquaculture is still a very new sector, there isn't much information available for prospective employees.
So here is my take on the essential soft and hard skills needed to work in aquaculture. The following are four similarities I have noticed between everyone who works in aquaculture, from business owners, to cleaning staff, to data analysts.
What Skills Do You Need for Aquaculture?
Regardless of which role in aquaculture you are pursuing, there are some essential soft skills and interests you should have.
1) A desire to make a difference
Aquaculture is part of the blue economy, an industry dedicated to sustainable developments and the regeneration of the marine environment. In short, it is an industry that makes a difference.
So, it is essential that everyone working in aquaculture has a desire to create positive changes in the natural world.
2) Passion for animal welfare
Aquaculture is a goods producing industry, just like Apple and Volkswagen Group, but unlike these, aquaculture deals with live produce.
Aquatic animals require care 24/7, 365 days a year. For aquaculture to work, everyone has to be more than hard-working, they have to be passionate about their role. Hard work is putting your all into your 9-5 role. Passion is banding together and working on Sunday night to care for sick animals.
It is so important that everyone working in aquaculture wants to protect life and ensure that the animals only have one bad moment.
Normally, if someone has an off-day at work, productivity slightly dips but nothing more substantial happens. If you have an off-day in aquaculture, and forget to do something like check the oxygen levels in the tank, the entire stock could die.
So, dedication and reliability are key skills for everyone working in the industry.
4) Eagerness to learn
Because it is such a new industry, most people come into it with very limited knowledge. There aren't books or courses to learn from, so you have to learn on the job. But learning on the job is never easy. It's essential that new hires are accepting of their mistakes and maintain their drive to keep learning and improving.
Role Specific Skills
As with any business, there are many role specific hard skills, too. Roles, such as those in hatcheries, require degrees because they are so technical and science based.
But, it is a misbelief that aquaculture is only suitable for people with degrees. From my experience, almost 80% of people in the industry have no degree at all.
The soft skills people have are far more important than any qualifications. That being said, here is a small selection of roles that require qualifications.
Aquaculture Jobs That Require Qualifications
Naturally, roles that are heavily based in the sciences require a high level of education, and preferably a degree too.
This includes jobs such as, water and disease tester, data analyst, nutritionist, algae producer, and all hatchery work.
Almost all these roles are carried out by people who have a degree in marine biology, or something similar.
As a general rule, if you want to work in a hatchery, you probably need a degree, but if you want to work anywhere else in aquaculture, you just need a strong work ethic and a passion for animal welfare.
Things to Know Before Getting into Aquaculture
Aquaculture is just like any other business, except it involves water. Lots of water.
Water makes everything just a little but more complicated. It means you need more space than an average business, and there is a higher chance of things going wrong.
But everything else is the same. There are still HR personnel, marketing teams, accountants, and many others.
So, don't give up on the idea of aquaculture because you don't have a degree in science. As long as you are dedicated, have a desire to make a difference, a passion for animal welfare, and are eager to learn, you will do well in aquaculture.
And remember that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.