Hatchery Operations Certificate

Learn the skills you need to work in hatchery operations to support fish stock enhancement. You’ll learn about aquatic ecology with a primary focus on healthy fish development and production critical to stock enhancement for improved conservation. You’ll apply your learning in practicum placements at fish hatchery facilities in the region.


Watch our new highlight video to learn more about NIC Aquaculture programs.

 This program is currently not available to international applicants.
Where: Campbell River
Starts: TBD
Length: 4 months

Hatcheries facilities are used across BC to support wild fish enhancement programs. Through this certificate, students will gain the theoretical and hands-on skills needed to support fish stock stewardship and enhancement.

Dr. Jesse Ronquillo, NIC Hatchery Operations certificate instructor

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Program Requirements

  • HTC-100 Fish Stock Enhancement and Stewardship
  • HTC-101 Biology of Wild Fish
  • HTC-102 Hatchery Design and Systems
  • HTC-103 Fish Hatchery Operations
  • HTC-104 Hatchery Health and Safety
  • HTC-105 Disease Management in Hatchery Environments
  • HTC-106 Stock Enhancement Practicum
  • *NAU-016 Restricted Operator Certificate – Maritime
  • *OFA-001 WHMIS 2015
  • *OFA-010 Occupational First Aid Level 1
*Note: Students not having current, valid Occupational First Aid, WHMIS, and Restricted Operator Certificate - Maritime are required to take these courses to meet program requirements. Separate fees will be charged for these courses.
**Note: In this program, students may participate in field trips to industry specific locations.

Completion Requirements

  • You will be required to achieve a minimum C in each of HTC-100, HTC-101, HTC-102, HTC-103, HTC-104, and HTC-105 and a pass in HTC-106 and all industry certificate courses to achieve program completion.
  • You must complete the program within three years.
  • You must complete 100% of the program at NIC.

Admission Requirements

  1. C in English 10; or C in two of Composition 10, Creative Writing 10, Literary Studies 10, New Media 10, Spoken Language 10, English First Peoples Writing 10, English First Peoples Literary Studies 10, English First Peoples New Media 10, and English First Peoples Spoken Language 10; or C in NIC ENG-035; or C+ in Communications 12; or C+ in ESL-062 and ESL-065; or successful NIC assessment testing in English; and
  2. C in one of Principles of Math 10, Apprenticeship & Workplace Math 10, Workplace Math 10, Foundations of Math & Pre-Calculus 10, Applications of Math 11, NIC MAT-029, or successful NIC assessment testing in math.
  3. High School graduation is preferred provided the applicant meets or exceeds the stated prerequisites.


Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

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Accessible Learning

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Program Highlights

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 programs 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.