The aquaculture industry provides over 50 per cent of worldwide seafood production through an increasing number of food species. Within BC, the industry produced 103,600 tonnes of fish and shellfish (generating $881.2 million in farmgate value) in 2016. Out of the total aquaculture production in 2016, 90 percent, or about 92,800 tonnes, was farm-raised salmon. Currently, farm-raised salmon is B.C.’s highest valued seafood product, the province’s top agricultural export, and generates over $1.56-billion towards the B.C. economy, resulting in over 6,610 jobs. The aquaculture industry in BC and the rest of Canada continues to expand within a climate of growth.
NIC's Aquaculture Technician certificate provides you with in-demand skills to support aquatic food production for marine, freshwater and land-based systems. This includes the production of fish, shellfish (bivalves and crustacea), aquatic plants (seaweeds, microalgae), as well as upcoming species such as sea cucumbers, urchins and crayfish. You will learn production techniques to produce a broad range of aquaculture foods including fish, shellfish, seaweeds and more. The curriculum includes technical aspects of production, with a primary focus on juvenile rearing, transferring to on-growing systems, harvesting and processing.
In order to complete the program, you will need to hold or complete valid industry certifications in Occupational First Aid Level 1, WHMIS, Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Training, Small Non-Pleasure Craft Marine Emergency Duties, Restricted Operator's Certificate – Maritime, Forklift Operator, Marine Basic First Aid, Transportation of Dangerous Goods and Confined Space Pre-entry. During your studies, you will apply these certificate skills to the aquaculture farm setting so you can gain hands-on knowledge of standard operating protocols, emergency response procedures and routine record-keeping.
The program provides you with 370 hours of instruction and hands-on training, with an additional 85 hours of industry certifications delivered over four months.
As an Aquaculture Technician certificate graduate, your skills are applicable to aquaculture operations in coastal BC, nationally and internationally.
After completing the program you will qualify for many entry-level positions at aquaculture facilities. You can expect to be employed as a farm technician, hatchery technician, and with more hands-on experience, maintenance, harvest, and net cleaning crew positions, or a deck hand position on harvest vessels, wellboats, feeding and site maintenance vessels.