Aquaculture Technician Diploma

Advance your aquaculture career and expand your skills. This industry-informed training includes equipment and facility maintenance, grow-out and hatchery production and a directed research project. You’ll be prepared to work as an aquaculture technician, site worker, hatchery or site manager, fisheries researcher or environmental monitor.


Watch our new highlight video to learn more.

 This program is currently not available to international applicants.
Where: Campbell River
Starts: January 2021
Length: 6 months
Delivery: On-campus and Digital (Blended)

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According to the United Nations, aquaculture - the culture of algae (seaweed and phytoplankton), shellfish, and finfish - is now the fastest growing food production industry in the world. NIC is excited to be developing more training opportunities for those interested in getting into the field.

Dr. Jesse Ronquillo, aquaculture instructor

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Program Requirements

  • AQT-200 Sustainable Aquaculture
  • AQT-201 Biology of Cultured Finfish
  • AQT-202 Aquaculture Equipment and Facility Maintenance
  • AQT-203 Aquaculture Technical Communication
  • AQT-204 Finfish Grow‐out Production
  • AQT-205 Finfish Hatchery Production
  • AQT-206 Fish Diseases and Health
  • AQT-207 Directed Research Project or AQT-208 Directed Applied Aquaculture Project

*Note: In this program, students may participate in field trips to industry specific locations.

Completion Requirements

Admission Requirements

• Completion of the Aquaculture Technician Certificate or equivalent

Accessible Learning

Making education accessible for those with a documented disability is a key priority for NIC. We offer a wide range of services, supports and resources for students. For more information visit: Accessible Learning Services.


NIC’s Aquaculture Technician diploma provides you with advanced knowledge and skills to support aquatic food production. This includes ecological interactions between aquaculture and the environment from local to ecosystem scales, the operation and maintenance of aquaculture facilities and equipment, and finfish hatchery and grow-out production.

You will also develop skills in business communication, technical writing, project management and creative problem solving.

You will also complete a directed research or applied aquaculture project. Directed research will focus on improving specific issues. The research project will include a project proposal, review of literature and recommendations. In the applied project, you will design and complete a project aimed at improving and/or supporting current industry practices.

Skills and knowledge developed through the program include:

  • History and current status of aquaculture
  • Government regulations and Acts regarding fisheries and aquaculture practices
  • Third-party certification of aquaculture industry sustainability practices
  • Environmental impact of aquaculture, understanding and monitoring aquatic ecosystem, and best aquaculture practices
  • Biology of Atlantic and Pacific salmonid species including biodiversity, geographic distribution, taxonomy, anatomy, reproductive physiology, osmoregulation and smoltification, life history, ecology, and genetics
  • Salmonid husbandry techniques and principles including feeding and nutrition, fish health and biosecurity, biotechnology advancements to aid production, and all aspects related to growing the best possible fish from smolt to marketable size
  • Salmonid hatchery production techniques and principles to maximize survival and growth during the early life stages, including broodstock development and management, egg/alevin/parr/smolt development and culture, vaccination and sea site transfer
  • Salmonid diseases and health, from a holistic perspective of the cultured fish, pathogen, and environment - covering biosecurity protocols, harmful algae monitoring (HAMP) plankton training, sealice monitoring, management and treatment and benthic monitoring
  • Harvesting practices and physiology effects including processing, quality grading and transportation of product
  • Applied computer (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook) and mathematics/statistics skills related to the daily operations of an aquaculture farm, using industry-relevant software
  • Equipment operation and maintenance (e.g. zoom boom, basic electrical, plumbing, aeration, recirculating aquaculture systems), wellboat use and design and equipment operation and maintenance
  • Business/technical communication skills, both written and oral, as applicable in aquaculture industry operations and in communicating with the public
  • Soft skills training related to working in a team environment, managing stress, conflict resolution, supervising others, mentoring and coaching, creative problem solving, workplace diversity, workplace harassment, interpersonal skills, anger management and leadership
  • Fish necropsy and sampling techniques
  • Biosecurity implementation
  • Research protocols (collecting, collating and analyzing data; report writing; and presentation)

Career Opportunities

As an Aquaculture Technician diploma graduate, your skills are applicable to fisheries and aquaculture operations in coastal BC and national and international locations. After completing the diploma, you will qualify for positions such as fisheries field technician, fish culturist, aquarist, fish hatchery technician/manager, fish stock enhancement and assessment technician, feed technician, fish health technician, research assistant and fish laboratory technician.  This program prepares graduates for future senior-level roles, including aquaculture site manager, aquaculture production manager, fisheries manager, aquaculture/fisheries salesperson, environmental education outreach worker, teacher (for those with B.Sc./, graduate student, federal/provincial government licensing agent or fisheries/aquaculture consultant.​

Potential Employers:

  • BC Salmon Farmers Association Members
  • Aquaculture Companies
  • Public Aquariums
  • Private Fish Farms/Hatcheries
  • Consulting Companies (Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Environmental)
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Fish Health Laboratories (private or government)
  • Fish Conservation and Enhancement Organizations/Foundations
  • Aquaculture Sustainability Organizations
  • Pacific Salmon Foundation
  • Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
  • Federal/Provincial Fish Hatcheries
  • First Nation Communities
  • Post-Secondary Academic Institutions offering Aquaculture and Fisheries Courses

Tuition & Costs Estimate

Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit our tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Tuition $3,661
NISU Fees $65
Lab Fees $250
Books $500
Learner Resource $77
Health and Dental $275
Total $4,828

Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Health and Dental Benefit plan ($275).

Find out if this program is eligible for Student Aid BC funding.

This program is tuition refund Category 1.

Book costs noted are estimates for planning purposes.  Accurate book costs are available by course through the NIC book search.