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Program Description

Just the Facts

Aquaculture. A program that prepares individuals to select, culture, propagate, harvest, and market domesticated fish, shellfish, and marine plants, both freshwater and saltwater. Includes instruction in the basic principles of aquatic and marine biology; health and nutrition of aquatic and marine life; design and operation of fish farms, breeding facilities, culture beds, and related enterprises; and related issues of safety, applicable regulations, logistics, and supply.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

When you think of farming, you probably think of wheat, oats, cattle or horses. But there's another type of farming that's becoming an important part of the food chain -- fish farming. Students in aquaculture programs work with fish and shellfish, ranging from trout to tilapia, catfish to salmon and oysters.

Aquaculture programs cover both the technical aspects of fish farming and the business side of running an aquaculture operation.

The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, offers major, minor, certificate and master's degrees in aquaculture. It typically takes four years for an undergraduate student to earn a degree in aquaculture, says Junda Lin, associate chair of the aquaculture program.

Required courses for a student majoring in aquaculture include introduction to aquaculture, molluscan aquaculture, crustacean aquaculture and fish aquaculture, Lin says. Many marine biology courses are available as course electives, as well as courses in calculus, physics, humanities, chemistry and biology.

Many of the aquaculture students at the Florida Institute of Technology have internships at the nearby Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI), Disney World and other institutions. The institute works closely with HBOI because the organization has a strong aquaculture research and commercial program, Lin says.

Aquaculture programs at the University of Miami focus on the technological, environmental and economic feasibility of sustained aquaculture operations, says professor Daniel Benetti.

"What I think is really important about our program is that it provides a wide range of opportunities in virtually all areas related to aquaculture," says Benetti.

Students undertaking aquaculture studies should have dedication to their field and be willing to work long, odd hours, Lin says. Because aquaculture is interdisciplinary, backgrounds in biology, math, business and engineering would be helpful to students, as well as computer skills.

High school students could also do volunteer work in fisheries or aquaculture.

This program has all the usual costs of tuition and textbooks.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
The OOH has no information on aquaculturists, but for related information, see Fishers and Related Fishing Workers

Aquaculture Network Information Server
A collection of resources

World Aquaculture Society
Get information on fish farming and more

Aquaculture Magazine
Information about fish farming systems and more


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