Aquaculture Technician: Job Description, Salary and Duties
Aquaculture technicians raise fish and marine plants for food and recreational purposes. Due to habitat destruction and overfishing, aquaculture has become a necessary segment of the agriculture industry.
Job Description of an Aquaculture Technician
With backgrounds in marine or aquatic biology, aquaculture technicians can work for federal and state government agencies, commercial industry organizations, or universities. Within the government, these professionals help biologists with the duties of managing public lakes, rivers and recreational fishing areas, particularly during the busy fishing seasons. In commercial industry, technicians at private fish farms or hatcheries rear, process, and market fish for commercial sale to food suppliers and aquariums. In universities, they assist biologists and academic researchers to manage fish on campus and donated lands for research and educational purposes.
Salary of an Aquaculture Technician
Because aquaculture technicians are considered part of the agriculture industry, their salaries are likely to be similar to those of farmworkers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), farmworkers, including those who worked with aquatic plants and animals, had a median annual wage of $22,060 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The BLS showed that those employed by government agencies (federal, state, and local) as well as those working in specialty trade services made over the national average, ranging from more than $30,000 to over $44,000 per year.
Duties of an Aquaculture Technician
Aquaculture technicians study fish and shellfish rearing and husbandry techniques to determine the best ways to raise and keep fish. In addition to cultivating fish for food, they also provide care for fish that will be sold as pets. Aquaculture technicians' duties can include replenishing the depleted fish population in lakes and streams. They might work at aquariums, zoos, or water parks, feeding and caring for the fish. Technicians can also assist commercial aquaculture companies with business plans and economic forecasts.
Aside from fish, technicians might grow marine plants to be sold to zoos, aquariums, pet stores, and marine exhibits for display purposes or to enhance an aquatic environment. Marine plants might also be sold to health food companies, grocery stores, or pharmaceutical laboratories to serve as food, vitamin supplements, and medicines.
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