Shellfish Aquaculture Technician Certificate

Learn in-demand skills for aquatic production of shellfish and aquatic plants in marine, freshwater and land-based systems. You’ll learn the technical aspects of production with a focus on hatchery and juvenile culture, rearing in the on-growing systems, biosecurity and post-harvest processing.


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

Shellfish aquaculture is recognized for its sustainability by environmental groups including EcoFish, Audubon Society and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. This program provides unique training for the field to ensure grads are prepared for entry-level jobs in this growing field.

Dr. Jesse Ronquillo, NIC aquaculture instructor

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Program Requirements

SFQ-100 Shellfish Aquaculture Business Development
SFQ-101 Shellfish Diseases and Biosecurity
SFQ-102 Shellfish Post-Harvest Processing and Marketing
SFQ-103 Innovations in Shellfish Aquaculture Production
SFQ-104 Shellfish Aquaculture Health and Safety
SFQ-105 Strategies for Success in Shellfish Aquaculture
SFQ-106 Shellfish Aquaculture Field School
SFQ-107 Shellfish Aquaculture Practicum
*MED-003  Small Non-Pleasure Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (SDV-BS)
*NAU-005  Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Training
*NAU-016  Restricted Operator Certificate – Maritime
*OFA-001  WHMIS 2015
*OFA-010  Occupational First Aid Level 1
*FLO-010 Forklift Operator
*FAC-082 Marine Basic First Aid & CPR C
*MVO-070 Transportation of Dangerous Goods
*WSF-016 Confined Space Awareness
*Note: Students not having current, valid Occupational First Aid, WHMIS, Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Training, Small Non-Pleasure Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (SDV-BS), Restricted Operator Certificate - Maritime, Forklift Operator, Marine Basic First Aid & CPR C, Transportation of Dangerous Goods and Confined Space Awareness 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

  • Students will be required to achieve a minimum C in each of SFQ-100, SFQ-101, SFQ-102, SFQ-103, SFQ-104, SFQ-105, SFQ-106, and SFQ-107 and a pass in all industry certificates to achieve program completion.
  • Students have up to three years to complete the program.
  • 50% of the course credits must be completed at North Island College. 

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

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

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.

Program Highlights

NIC's Shellfish 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 various species of oyster, mussel, clam, cockles, geoduck, abalone, seaweeds, microalgae, as well as upcoming species such as sea cucumbers, urchins, prawn/shrimp, crab, and crayfish. Curriculum includes technical aspects of production, with a primary focus on hatchery and juvenile rearing, culture in on-growing systems, biosecurity, post-harvest processing and marketing.

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 Awareness.

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 460 hours of instruction and hands-on training, with an additional 85 hours of industry certifications delivered over four months.

Career Opportunities

As a Shellfish  Aquaculture Technician certificate graduate, your skills are applicable to shellfish aquaculture operations in coastal BC and national and international locations.

After completing the certificate program, you will qualify for positions such as fisheries field technician, shellfish culturist, aquarist, shellfish hatchery technician/manager, shellfish stock enhancement and assessment technician, algologist or algal technician, shellfish health technician, research assistant and fish laboratory technician.  This program prepares graduates for future senior-level roles, including shellfish  aquaculture site manager, shellfish aquaculture production manager, shellfish fisheries manager, aquaculture/fisheries salesperson, shellfish processing staff, environmental education outreach worker, federal/provincial government licensing agent or fisheries/shellfish aquaculture consultant.

You can also further your training and education to become a graduate student and or teacher specializing in Shellfish Aquaculture and Algology (for those with B.Sc./M.Sc. degree).

Potential Employers:

  • BC Shellfish Growers Association Members
  • Private Shellfish Companies (shellfish farms, hatcheries)
  • Seafood Marketing Companies
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Environmental Non-Profit Organizations
  • First Nation Communities
  • Consulting Companies (Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Environmental)
  • Post-Secondary Academic Institutions offering Aquaculture and Fisheries Courses

Supply List

You are required to obtain the following basic supplies:

  • binder
  • note paper
  • flash drive
  • pens, pencils, highlighters and eraser
  • hard hat
  • high-visibility vest
  • eye protection
  • ear protection
  • rain jacket
  • rain pants
  • reflective coveralls
  • steel-toed rubber boots