Studies & Degrees in Aquaculture
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Aquaculture is a term used to describe the act of farming of water creatures for human consumption. The subject is concerned with the culture and care of fresh water aquatic animals. The practice is mainly known for its application to fisheries, but that is not the only thing aquaculture can be used for. It also applies to oysters, shrimp and other animals not traditionally thought of as aquaculture. Aquaculture makes it possible for natural populations of fish to reproduce, while farm-raised versions are being used for food. This helps the sustainability of some heavily-demanded fish, and it also means that the fish is easier to find. Unsurprisingly, aquaculture is a fast-growing industry, attempting to meet the growing worldwide demand for fish, shellfish, seaweeds, and other aquatic species. Because fish are the major product of the industry, aquaculture is also usually called fish farming. Finally, it is worth mentioning that pearls are another popular product produced through the use of aquaculture. These are known as cultured pearls, and are produced both in freshwater and saltwater.
Research carried out in aquaculture is directed towards raising fundamental questions, relating to strategies for sustainable aquaculture – both in modern commercial markets and in feeding poor communities in developing countries. Crucial research on environments, reproduction, genetics, aquatic health, nutrition and feed supplies, on production systems, on markets, and on social and economic impacts plays a significant role in today’s world.
Aquaculture requires practical and scientific skills and an ability to apply science to solve practical problems. In relation to this, qualities required could include:
- Aptitude for sciences (especially biology)
- Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills
- Good at applying technology in various tasks and situations
- Good communication skills
Aquaculture is the fastest growing primary industry and is predicted to keep growing. For this reason, opportunities for gaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in aquaculture are growing, too. There are specialized schools in aquaculture, as well as specifically designed institutes within larger universities. When deciding where to study this subject, it is recommended that you ask the university that you are considering a number of questions, some of which include whether you would have access to a large on-site aquaculture research and teaching facility; whether your degree course would be able to offer you a good range of options to get a lot of hands-on work experience, including practicals, group projects (that will allow you to develop skills to work in teams), farm visits, and intensive periods of industry work experience. Other relevant questions include these about the faculty that will be teaching you – whether they are active researchers, working on key aquaculture species and with direct links to industry; is the course internationally recognized and will it prepare students for the workforce through work experience. Last but not least, are guest speakers, international and national, used to provide industry relevant perspectives to students.
Aquaculture is an industry that increasingly employs university-educated students and offers a diverse range of careers. Areas include Fish, Shellfish & Crustacean Production, Technology Development, Policy and Regulation, Aquatic Animal Health, Aquatic Biology, Research, etc.