Enter the aqua world

CAREER

Working in Marine Biology opens up several rich and challenging doors, says Richa Hegde

The Aquaculture industry covers a wide spectrum of occupations and career paths. So if you are passionately driven by marine life, job avenues in this field can be interesting and challenging at the same time.

What is Aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic organisms under controlled conditions. In other words, it is also known as aqua farming wherein the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, molluscs and aquatic plants are done. The crucial aspects of this stream involves:

*Development of fish farms
*Studying the methods of fish cultivation, harvesting and freezing
*Canning in coastal and inland factories
*Doing research work on water bodies in coastal as well as inland areas
*Preventing water pollution and gathering information on fish preservation
*Finding ways of marketing, both within and outside the country
*Transportation and delivery of fish

Courses available
The huge coastline and numerous inland water bodies, make Aquaculture a growing industry in India. Anyone who has completed Class 12 in the Science stream from any recognised educational board is eligible to apply for this course. The different courses available under this stream are:

*B.Sc in Fishery Sciences
*B.Sc in Zoology
*M.Sc in Marine culture
*M.Sc in Zoology
*Diploma/Certificate courses of one to three years duration
* Short-term course in Fishery Science (30 days)

Job opportunities
Aquaculture is an encompassing and wide arena. After the completion of any of these relevant courses in Fishery Sciences, one can opt to work as a Marine biologist/ marine scientist: Work activity involves performing research to gain a better understanding of fundamental life processes and applying that to understand and develop new products.

Aquatic biologists study micro-organisms, plants and animals living in the water while marine biologists study salt water organisms. Production manager: He/she plans production throughout the year and co-ordinates projects in one or more locations.

Technical officer: His/ her area of work involves maintaining records of breeding programmes and collecting data about  stock. They also monitor quality of water, identify common diseases and apply curative measures.

Farm operators: They take care of the farm environment, monitor and adjust conditions in pools using metres and assist with nutritional experiments and methods to control parasites. They are also responsible for designing and construction of the breeding farm.

Fishery workers: They catch, breed and cultivate fish and other forms of aquatic life. They prepare nets and other equipment, operate fishing vessels and clean, freeze and salt fish.

Feed mill manager: He/she is responsible for taking care of the feed formulation and the ingredients used. Animal nutrition is the major area of concern.

Fish export manager/inspector: Work activity involves monitoring all exports/ imports of live fish and shell fish, including non-native species. They carry out spot-checks at entry points and at destination points and are involved in transporting fish to different fishery stations.

Research and development profession: He/she must have extensive knowledge of all the sectors of fishing and the Aquaculture industry. They play a key role in the planning, management and funding of fishing and aquaculture related research, development and extension projects. Research is also conducted to increase the output and evolve better technologies for their preservation and processing.

Aquaculture entrepreneur: The role of an aquaculture entrepreneur is to undertake the managerial responsibilities such as sales and marketing, supervising, training employees and oversee the overall management and the functions of all departments effectively.

Consultant: He/she is responsible for providing positive assistance, both to the management and in the cultivation of fish farms in the private sector, government sector and business establishments.

The Central Food Technological Research Institute and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research offer the courses mentioned. Every state government has a Fisheries Department where graduates of this stream can apply to.

One can find employment with central government agencies like the Fisheries Survey of India, Marine Product Export Development Authority etc. The private sector offers opportunities in fish processing companies, aquaculture farms, hatcheries, fishing industries, pharmaceutical companies and in academic institutions.

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