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Aquaculture Farmer and Technician

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: < 5,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: Varies to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief There are approximately 800 aquaculture and seafood farmers in South Australia. Majority of persons employed in this occupation are males and work outside the Adelaide metropolitan area. Aquaculture farmers are largely employed full-time, with most working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry. This occupation has a younger age profile with less than a third of the workforce aged 45 years and over.

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TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Aquaculture Farmer and Technician

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What do abalone, silver perch, algae, yabbies and snapper all have in common? They are all being farmed throughout South Australia by aquaculture farmers and technicians.

Aquaculture farmers cultivate marine and freshwater animals and plants in both natural and artificial environments. They can also be involved in equipment design, site development, research, and the harvesting, processing and shipment of products.

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Education Requirements

Of those currently employed in this occupation 9% have Bachelor degrees or higher level qualifications; 20% have Certificate III or IV; and 7% have Advanced Diplomas or Diplomas. Around 55% of aquaculture farmers and technicians have no post-school qualifications. It is recommended that you gain the available qualifications to give you the best possible chance of employment.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate II, III, IV and Diploma in Aquaculture and the Certificate III in Fishing Operations.

Flinders University offers a Bachelor of Technology (Aquaculture).

Career Path

Aquaculture farmers can be employed in a range of positions, including farm worker, farm nutritionist and hatchery or pond technologist.

There are opportunities to become a self-employed fish farmer; however, you'll have to come up with an innovative idea and seek out interested investors. To do this, an aquaculture licence is required and its important to note that aquaculture is an expensive development that has its share of risks.

They may also find employment with state and territory fishery authorities, tertiary institutions, industrial organisations, private hatcheries and farms, or research organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

One aquaculture professional explains that mining companies with an environmental responsibility to rehabilitate mine sites are considering aquaculture. 'Mine sites can be filled in with soil and the trees replanted. Another option is to look at using some of these sites for aquaculture and fishing'. He adds that anyone can get involved in aquaculture, as there are so many areas to go into.


Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing


To be updated.

Nature of the Job

Aquaculture farmers are mainly involved in the breeding and cultivation of marine organisms in a farm, hatchery or laboratory. A big part of their job involves conducting or assisting in experiments on breeding, feeding and nutrition as well as methods to control and prevent diseases and predators. They also develop techniques necessary to improve marine farming. Aquaculture farmers also perform scientific tests to monitor the marine environment using oxygen meters, salinity meters, pH (acidity) meters and water chemistry analysis kits. They may also be involved in marketing and product development and in the overall management of the business and finances.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Aquaculture farmers work in all kinds of weather, usually in isolated locations. They also need to be physically fit as there are aspects of heavy lifting involved. The preparation for spawning, fertilisation and raising the eggs, involve careful scientific procedures to ensure quality stocks and harvest. They also need good observational and recording skills when they collect and record growth, production and water quality data, check stock for disease and treat them when necessary.

Its highly likely you'll also need a scuba diving and boat operating licence if you want to work in the marine area.

Typical Occupational Example

In general, employment opportunities for both aquaculture technicians and farmers are on the increase as major developments in the industry look set to expand. Employers include the Fisheries Department, CSIRO, aquaculture farmers, or the research departments of universities. Opportunities for employment in regional areas will expand with the development of arid land aquaculture, where cultivation takes place in expended salt lakes. Traditional aquaculture farms are also beginning to diversify into aquaculture tourism activities.

South Australian Research and Development Institute
Phone: (08) 8303 9400

Australian Seafood Industry Council
Phone: (02) 6281 0383

AgriFood Skills Australia
Phone: (02) 6163 7200

Earning Potential

Salaries for both aquaculture farmers and technicians start at around $30,000, possibly reaching $50,000 for those with high level qualifications and experience. Self-employed aquaculture farmers may earn above this amount, when the farm is well established.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online