Career in Fisheries and Aquaculture
The discipline of Fisheries and Aquaculture is Science, art and business rolled into one. It is a science as far as the techniques of fish breeding and production are concerned. An art as far as managing the work skillfully is concerned and a business as far as trading, in fish and other aquatic products, is concerned. India ranks third among the largest producers of fish in the world. This industry is growing by leaps and bounds and has considerable employment opportunities.
If you are a person who wants to make it big in this industry, you should go in for a course in Fisheries and Aquaculture. You will be able to discover gems of the purest ray serene, when you go into this field since Fisheries and Aquaculture hold great prospects in the future. Hard work, coupled with good business skills, will take you to the zenith of success in the field. Fishery is the occupation or industry of catching, processing or selling fish or shellfish. Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants, especially, fish, shellfish and seaweed, in natural or controlled marine or freshwater environments.
It is commonly known as ‘fish farming’ and since marine or freshwater animals and plants are grown on a commercial scale, it can be termed as commercial underwater agriculture. Aquaculture is a science, an art and also a business. Aquaculture as a profession involves the cultivation and propagation of natural living produce of water, such as shrimp, fish, squid, cuttle fish, lobsters, etc.
This also includes marine produce suitable for consumption as well as for industrial and medicinal purposes. India with its 7,500 km long coastline, a large inland water system and rich natural resources, is a dominant supplier of seafood, which is highly sought after throughout the world. The large number of rivers in India serve as the primary habitat for original germplasm of Indian fish. India ranks second in the world, in terms of inland fish production and is the third largest producer of fish in the world.
With the opening up of the Economy and the liberalized industrial policy of the Indian Government with lower customs / excise duties, the private sector has received encouragement for participation in Aquaculture. National food security is ensured to a large extent through Fisheries and Aquaculture. Fisheries form an important source of food supply and employment in the coastal States.
Moreover, the regional as well as national economy of a country are diversified and strengthened by the fishing industry. Work in this industry leads to growth in infrastructure and other industries like fishing harbors, boat building, fish processing and so on. The Aquaculture industry is rapidly developing and providing employment to traditional fishermen as well as to those highly skilled in the production and breeding of fishery products. Ideal climatic conditions and abundant natural resources available in the country have also contributed to the growth of fisheries in India. The work of an Aqua culturist includes production and breeding of all varieties of marine produce for consumption and industrial use as well as processing of seafood.
The main areas on the basis of functions can be classified as followed :
I. Farm Management :
This entails the performance of supervisory tasks like site selection, designing and construction of ponds, pond preparation, selective stocking, water quality management, feeding, growth, monitoring and hazard analysis up to the stage of harvesting and after.
II. Hatchery Management :
Here, tasks include broad stock collection, spawning in artificial conditions, water quality management, feeding and rearing up to the post – larvae stage, oxygen packing and transportation to farms.
As it is a highly sophisticated area and there is a shortage of manpower in this country because Aquaculture is new here, the companies are forced to recruit people from abroad. Majority of the people come from countries like Thailand and the Philippines.
III. Post – Harvest Management and Processing :
This is very important because it prepares the products for exports after harvesting and any laxity can lead to heavy losses.
Fishery Inspectors : They are involved in transporting fishes to different fishery stations.
Fishery Workers :
They catch, breed and cultivate fish and other forms of aquatic life. They also prepare nets and other equipments, operate fishing vessels, and clean, freeze and salt fish, then they deliver the fish caught to the wholesale buyers, markets and other organizations involved in exports business.
Deep – sea fishery workers work as crewmembers of fishing vessels. They catch deep – sea fish for sale, or deliver them on a regular basis, to wholesale buyers and traders. Private companies as well as public sector organization perform the tasks of scientific breeding, cultivation and management of fisheries and other natural living products in the seas. The workers generally look after fish cultivation, Most of the industries are located along the country’s rich coastline.
It deals with development of better and new varieties of Aquaculture and extension work, at the a Central and State levels and at private research institutes, Research is also conducted to increase the output and evolve better technologies for their preservation and processing.
Many research projects have been taken up by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, CFTRI, the Central Department of Biotechnology and other institutions, in order to improve the variety and production of fish, which in turn, would provide ample job opportunities in this field, especially in the area of self – employment, Academicians are needed to teach prospective scientists in research institutions and universities throughout the country.
Fisheries management of small reservoirs, environmental impact assessment vis – a – vis fisheries, estimation of inland fisheries resources and production, artificial fecundation and hatchery of bilsa, and pen culture in floodplain wetland are activities carried out by the Central Inland Capture, Fisheries Institute ( CIFRI ) in Kolkata ( West Bengal ). Several other activities are also related to Fisheries and Aquaculture. The stock of commercially important marine species are assessed and monitored regularly.
Prevention of post harvest losses and the development of value added fishery products, meant both for the domestic and international markets, form other important activities in this industry. In order to increase the catch of fish and make fishing a safe activity, fuel efficient fishing crafts and gears for deep sea fishing are developed.Many pharmaceutical and industrial applications are developed by the use of biomolecules from marine organisms and plants.
The extraction, production and evaluation of these biomolecules form an important activity in Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mari culture ( marine aquaculture ) of fish and shellfish and the utilization of inland saline water for aquaculture; brackish water aquaculture; organic fish farming and development of coldwater fisheries are important activities in Aquaculture. The enhancement of fish productivity from reservoirs; rural aquaculture; integrated fish farming; conservation of endangered fish species are other important activities in Aquaculture. The up gradation of fish processing technologies and the development of vaccines for fish farming are activities in Aquaculture which are concerned with the disease and health management of aquatic animals.
Activities in Fisheries and Aquaculture :
- Disease Management of Aquatic Animals
- Health Management of Aquatic Animals
- Pro – biotics
- Bio – remediation
- Bio – processing
- Improved Feed Formulation
- Aquatic Environmental Quality Management
- Shellfish Technology
- Germplasm Conservation
Initially, an Aquaculturist’s job involves living in remote coastal areas. The job can be very interesting and challenging, provided one has interest in marine life, Since, there is a scarcity of skilled manpower for the designing, construction and management of semi intensive fish farms and hatcheries, there are openings for Aqua culturists in private companies and export organization also. Therefore, the scope for employment in this field is immense.
Successful completion of the 10+2 or equivalent examination with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as subjects, is the minimum eligibility criteria required to study Fisheries and Aquaculture at the undergraduate level. The successful completion of the B. Sc ( Bachelor of Science ) degree in Biology with Zoology as one of the subjects is the minimum eligibility criteria required to pursue an M. Sc ( Master of Science ) degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture.
A career in Fisheries and Aquaculture requires a lot of hard work. Hence one should be hard working and laborious enough in order to excel in this field. The discipline of Fisheries and Aquaculture requires a lot of research work too. Hence, one should have a research – oriented mentality in order to pursue a course in Fisheries and Aquaculture. One should also have the ability to take calculated risks since Fisheries and Aquaculture is a business which involves a lot of risk, Epidemics, which kill large numbers of fish, thereby ruining businesses, are not rate, Moreover, one should also have good managerial skills in order to run such a business which involves a lot of investment in terms of finance and manpower.
Training in courses on Fisheries and Aquaculture are available, both at the undergraduate and the Postgraduate levels. Professional courses are also offered to those who are holders of Postgraduate degrees; many institutes carry on research work in this field. One can opt for research work at any such institute.
As already mentioned, Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry; A student with a professional degree in this discipline will find many job opportunities. Most of the undergraduate and Postgraduate students of Aquaculture find job opportunities in fishery farms, hatchery management, fish processing units and so on. Employment opportunities are also available at universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and fisheries departments of various State. Non – governmental organizations also hold some prospects of employment in this field.
The field of Fisheries and Aquaculture is one where considerable research work is carried out. Aquaculture and seafood industries are promoted and awareness about marine life is created at the Aquaculture Foundation of India in Chennai ( Tamil Nadu ), One of the oldest premier research institutions in the field of inland fisheries research and training in India is the Central Inland located in Kolkata ( West Bengal ).
At present, the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture ( CIFA ), located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar ( Orissa ) is the premier research institute on freshwater aquaculture in the country. Some other institutes which are involved in utilizing the seas and inland resources of the country, as also in managing the fish stock, are the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, the Central Institute of Brackish Water Aquaculture and Aquaculture Authority. These are all central institutes.
The principal State institutes in Fisheries and Aquaculture are the Central Institute of Coastal Aquaculture Engineering in Bangalore ( Karnataka ); the Trainer’s Training Centre in Orissa; the Central Institute of Fishery Nautical Engineering Trade in Kochi ( Kerala ) and the Marine Products Exports Development Authority which is also located in Kochi.
If one goes into research – oriented activities, after getting a professional degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture, one will get a regular monthly stipend at the research institute.
A job in a Fisheries and Aquaculture farm will fetch one a decent salary, However, now it is sure to make a fortune, if one takes to entrepreneurship in this field. This can be done after getting a few years of work experience. The demand for fish and fish products is high throughout the world. One who sets up one’s own business in Fisheries and Aquaculture, producing and exporting fish and fish products to various parts of the world, will earn a lot provided hard work, skill and business acumen are put into the work.