NIC's Hatchery Operations certificate provides you with in-demand skills to support fish stock enhancement through aquaculture production in freshwater fish hatcheries.
Hatchery facilities for stock enhancement are used to improve the survival rates of seedling at a level many times greater than those in the wild. Hatcheries and spawning channels operated for stock enhancement are essential to the regional economy as they provide for an estimated 10% to 20% of all fish harvested in BC (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2018).
The program curriculum focuses on hatchery operations with a specialization in fish culture. The concept of fish enhancement program will be introduced including important knowledge about aquatic ecology in relation to fish stock enhancement.
The curriculum includes technical aspects of fish hatchery production, with a primary focus on healthy fish development and seedling production critical to stock enhancement for improved conservation. You’ll also learn identification of different species of fish, familiarization of the external and internal fish anatomy, life cycle and migration, important reproductive physiology and osmoregulatory function.
Instruction will also include hatchery biosecurity measures, disease prevention and health and safety within hatchery operations. There will be a review of hazard analysis, emergency preparedness, safe work practices, standard operating procedures and the use of personal protective equipment.
Applied skills in hatchery operations will include job readiness skills, leadership skills, communication skills, conflict resolution and workplace diversity. You will have a practicum placement in fish hatchery facilities such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Quinsam Hatchery and Oyster River Enhancement Society Hatchery to obtain actual experience in fish stock stewardship and enhancement.
In order to complete the program, you will need to hold or complete valid industry certifications in Occupational First Aid Level 1, WHMIS, and Restricted Operator's Certificate – Maritime. During your studies, you will apply these skills to the fish hatchery setting to gain hands-on knowledge of standard operating protocols, emergency response procedures and routine record-keeping.