Fish farmers work as part of a small team, breeding, rearing and harvesting fish and shellfish.

What does a fish farmer do?

Fish farming, also known as aquaculture, involves breeding and growing shellfish, and fish such as salmon, trout and halibut, for the food industry. Some fish farmers rear other types of fish to stock lakes and rivers for angling purposes, or for ornamental ponds.

You could be involved in various areas of fish farming, including:

  • breeding fish by hatching eggs from adult stock
  • buying in young fish and rearing them
  • feeding fish by hand or by filling hoppers that feed them automatically
  • monitoring the health of fish
  • grading fish or shellfish by size and moving them to bigger tanks or other holding units
  • making regular checks on water temperature and oxygen content
  • cleaning filters and screens that trap leaves and other debris
  • treating water before releasing it back into the river
  • harvesting fish when ready for sale
  • selling fish to the public and/or trade customers
  • maintaining buildings, equipment and fish habitats

Many fish farms only have a few staff, so managers often do many of the above tasks, as well as supervising fish farm workers.

What do I need to do to become a fish farmer?

You don’t need any particular qualifications but must be physically fit, able to use your initiative and, for many jobs, have a driving licence. You may be able to start in this job by doing an apprenticeship.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • IT
  • Organisation
  • Physical fitness
  • Teamwork

Vocational route

  • Apprenticeship in fish husbandry and fisheries management
  • Level 1 Award/Certificate in fisheries management
  • Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in fish husbandry

Related subjects

  • Biology

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You'd be working on a fish farm – often in isolated areas. You would work outdoors in all weather conditions, and the job could be physically demanding at times.  

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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