Fish farming involves breeding shellfish and fish such as salmon and trout for the food industry. Some fish farmers rear other types of fish to stock lakes and rivers for angling purposes, or for ornamental ponds. Farms either breed their own fish by hatching eggs from adult stock or buy in young fish from elsewhere and rear them.
Freshwater fish may be kept in tanks, ponds, cages or concrete raceways. Marine fish are housed in large pens or sea cages. Shellfish are farmed in their natural marine environment.
The main areas of work in fish farming are:
As most fish farms have small numbers of staff, managers usually do many of the above tasks, as well as supervising fish farm workers. They also keep records and accounts; buy fresh stock, feedstuff, equipment and materials; and are sometimes responsible for fish processing or smoking units.
Managers must also ensure that their enterprise complies with environmental standards and objectives agreed with local authorities, and that legal requirements are met.
Some fish farms provide angling facilities.
Fish farms operate seven days a week. Hours can be long and may include early mornings, evenings, weekends and emergency callouts. A rota system may be in operation.
Fish farms tend to be in isolated areas. Work is outdoors in all weather conditions. It is quite an active job, which involves heavy lifting, standing, bending and carrying.
It may be necessary to drive a vehicle to collect feed or equipment and deliver fish to local buyers, so a driving licence is often useful.
To be a fish farmer you should:
Even though there are no set entry requirements, a related college course will provide you with useful skills and knowledge. It is helpful if you are a member of an angling club, or if you volunteer at a conservation or ecological organisation, this will also stand you in good stead.
Fish farmers can progress into other areas like fisheries management, biological science or environmental research if they have a degree qualification.
On a larger farm, you could progress to supervisor or manager.
Some fish farmers even start their own farm based on the knowledge they acquire.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a fish farmer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM)
22 Rushworth Avenue
Tel: 0115 982 2317
British Trout Association
The Rural Centre
Tel: 0131 472 4080
Tel: 0845 707 8007