Career in Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic organisms like fish,shellfish,aquatic plants under controlled conditions.Aquaculture products are grown in earthen ponds, freshwater lakes and bays, or in the open ocean. Once the fish or shellfish reach an appropriate size, the crop is harvested, processed and shipped to market, generally arriving within hours of leaving the water.This also includes marine produce suitable for consumption as well as for industrial and medicinal purposes. India with its 7,500 km long coastline, a large inland water system and rich natural resources, has good prospects of becoming a dominant supplier of seafood which is highly sought after throughout the world. With the opening up of the economy and thus liberalised industrial policy of the Indian government with lower customs/excise duties, the private sector has received encouragement for participation in aquaculture. The aquaculture industry is rapidly developing and providing employment to traditional fishermen as well as to those highly skilled in the production and breeding of fishery products. Ideal climatic conditions and abundant natural resources available in the country have also contributed to the growth of fisheries in India.
Nature of Work:
The work of an aquaculturist includes production and breeding of all varieties of marine produce for consumption and industrial use as well as processing of seafood.

The main areas on the basis of functions can be classified as follows:
(i) Farm Management: This entails the performance of supervisory tasks like site selection, designing and construction of ponds, pond preparation, selective stocking, water quality management, feeding, growth, monitoring and hazard analysis up to the stage of harvesting and after.
(ii) Hatchery Management: Here, tasks include broad stock collection, spawning in artificial conditions, water quality management, feeding and rearing upto the post-larve stage, oxygen packing and transportation to farms. As it is a highly sophisticated area and there is a shortage of manpower in this country because aquaculture is new here, the companies are forced to recruit people from abroad. Majority of the people come from countries like Thailand and the Philippines.
(iii) Post-Harvest Management and Processing: This is very important because it prepares the products for exports after harvesting and any laxity can lead can lead to heavy losses.
(iv) Fishery Inspectors: They are involved in transporting fishes to different fishery stations.
(v) Fishery Workers: They catch, breed and cultivate fish and other forms of aquatic life. They also prepare nets and other equipments, operate fishing vessels, and clean, freeze and salt fish. Then they deliver the fish caught to the whole sale buyers, markets and other organisations involved in exports business.

Deep-sea fishery workers work as crew members of fishing vessels. They catch deep-sea fish for sale, or delivery them on a regular basis, to wholesale buyers and traders.

Private companies as well as public sector organisations perform the tasks of scientific breeding, cultivation and management of fisheries and other natural living products in the seas. The workers generally look after fish cultivation. Most of the industries are located along the country’s rich coastline.
(vi) Research: It deals with development of better and new varieties of aquaculture and extension work, at the Central and State levels and at private research institutes. Research is also conducted to increase the output and evolve better technologies for their preservation and processing. Many research projects have been taken up by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, CFTRI, the Central Department of Biotechnology and other institutions, in order to improve the variety and production of fish, which in turn, would provide ample job opportunities in this field, especially in the area of self- to teach prospective scientists in research institutions and universities throughout the country.

Initially, an aquaculturist’s job involves living in remote coastal areas. The job can be very interesting and challenging, provided one has interest in marine life. Since, there is a scarcity of skilled manpower for the designing, construction and management of semiintensive fish farms and hatcheries, there are openings for aquaculturists in private companies and export organisations also. Therefore, the scope for employment in this field is immense.

Training is offered at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Professional courses are offered to those with PG degrees.
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