- In which countries could I work on fish farms as soon as possible? Where are most of them?
As mentioned in the Blue Career Guide, the EU aquaculture production is mainly concentrated in 5 countries: Spain, the UK, France, Italy and Greece with 75% by value in the EU total. But of course, fish farms are also spread all over Europe. For example, in the landlocked countries of Central Europe many countries have longstanding tradition with pond farming (especially carp), such as Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic). In Norway or the United Kingdom, marine aquaculture is predominant. Most farms are small businesses or micro-enterprises in coastal and rural areas. In any case there is a demand for workforce and skills can in some countries be obtained through national curricula. In order to get more concrete information about job opportunities on fish farms you can contact the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP), an organization that represents the European fish farming profession. FEAP is composed of 24 national fish farming associations from 23 European countries, both EU and non-EU.
Please also check also the career guide for further inspiration.
- I am a high school senior, and I am thinking of a relevant school because I am interested in the fish farming industry, but there are positive prospects so that it is worth investing in my future?
It is definitely worthwhile considering to embark in a career in the fish farming industry, as aquaculture is the one of the fastest growing industries in Europe’s food sector, as also EUROSTAT data clearly indicates. Moreover, the development of the aquaculture sector is also receiving political support on the European level: The European Commission published in Strategic Guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture for the period 2021 to 2030 takes into account the future of the aquaculture sector referenced in the context of important policy developments such as the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy. The Strategy also points out that an innovative aquaculture sector also demands the development of appropriate skills and that this could be achieved through the promotion of specialized curricula and knowledge on aquaculture (e.g., specialized veterinary studies for fish and training on fish health for aquaculture operators), as well as life-long training for farmers on innovative approaches for the aquaculture sector and calls the EU Member States to take action in that respect. But already now, there are many possibilities to use existing curricula which open the path to a career in the aquaculture sector, such as marine biology or agricultural engineering. In some countries, skills are provided through vocational training courses (Example Germany, description in German) Some schools also offer specific aquaculture courses, e.g. marine biology, and training on the job should be considered at any stage. You might get inspired by the European Aquaculture Society Student Group which brings together students in aquaculture and related fields from more than 20 countries
Please also check also the
- I am unskilled, in which branch of “Aquaculture” it is more likely to find a job?
Check your local area and see what opportunities arise among in companies and ask them what are the prospects and requirements that exist for entry-level positions, or BlueGeneration Project Job Portal to get a training. Take a few courses, or match with hobbies to show your interests.
- I am a graduate from the automation department, can I work in fish farming?
Yes, of course. There is an ever-increasing interest and investment in automation and AI in fish or shellfish aquaculture, so there are many opportunities. In aquaculture skills are needed for the maintenance of machinery, tanks, and sensors as well as for the water quality control, fish processing etc.
- I’m a refrigeration engineering technician. Can I work in “Aquaculture”?
Cooling and heating are important parts in aquaculture systems, both in production and in processing. Aquaculture businesses might also need skilled staff for cold-chain management in logistics. Refrigeration engineering technicians are therefore generally welcome to apply for jobs in the sector.
- What jobs in “Aquaculture” can you get after majoring in management?
As in any other small or medium-sized enterprise, or even large enterprises, staff with management skills and respective degrees is indispensable. The positions offered depend on the needs of the individual companies. Please also note that this fast-growing sector is prone for start-ups with innovative ideas and interesting business ideas. The European Aquaculture Society Student Group which brings together students in aquaculture and related fields from more than 20 countries, might be an interesting interface to contact. Courses specializing in managing HORECA sectors or leading to ISO certification for quality standards, might help you land a relevant job.
- What level of English language is required for the “Aquaculture” subsector?
To start a career in an aquaculture business in your country you do not necessarily need a high level of language skills. Skills in English are needed as soon as there are international contacts and depend on the type of job you perform. In any case, the ability to communicate in English on a basic level is an asset as in any other economic sector.
- Will the housing be free of charge, if I am hired for one of the job positions in the “Aquaculture” sector in my country?
This will not necessarily be the case. This very much depends on the specific employment conditions. You will need to find out when you apply for a specific job opening.
- Can I receive funding for accommodation, if I emigrate from my country and work in one of the countries included in the project?
In principle you can make this part of the negotiations with the employer, as this also depends on the specific employment conditions. You will need to find out when you apply for a specific job opening.
- What documents are required for the job application if I want to become an Aquaculture specialist?
Depending on the level of education obtained, you will have to provide evidence of the needed diplomas, and/or degrees to fulfill the requirements of the job opening, apart from any other administrative documents or certificates. In general, in order to apply for a job opening, you need a CV (resume) that is profiling you and cataloguing your past experience and training, and also an accompanying letter in which you describe why you are good fit the job opening.
- Can I apply online and work from home in “Aquaculture”?
The possibility to organize an online recruitment process depends very much on the readiness of a business to do so. Regarding remote working: As in any other primary production sector, this very much depends on the type of job. The probability that you will find an opportunity to work remote is relatively low, since most of the tasks will be somehow linked to production, but on the other hand not fully excluded.
- Where can a startup company in “Aquaculture” find funding opportunities?
Funding opportunities for aquaculture start-ups are many-fold both coming from EU and also increasingly at national resources. National funding opportunities depend on the country you place the startup. Many European funding opportunities are released by the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF, previously known as EMFF), which are accessible through national innovation fund calls.
Between 2016 and 2021 the EMFF awarded over EUR 65 million to projects with market- and investment-ready SMEs - small and medium enterprises - to develop innovative products, technologies, and services for the blue economy. Close to 60 projects were funded, some of which were operating in aquaculture sector. For more information on these projects: https://emff.easme-web.eu/
Also, increasingly there are “blue” incubators and accelerators that cater the aquaculture startups at various stage of development. To find them, check the innovation ecosystem in your country. At international level, there are popular Accelerators that offer funding and other type of support to aquaculture startups, such HATCH Blue, Blue Invest.
- Are the effects of all activities connected to “Aquaculture” eco-friendly?
Not necessarily. Aquaculture has been a controversial sector in the past, due to the generation of negative impacts on the environment. But in recent years, there is a trend and also a political will to make aquaculture more sustainable and therefore environmental-friendly could be observed on an overall European level. If the cultivation of fish species is carried out by means that have a neutral, if not positive, net impact on the environment, contribute to local community development, and generate an economic profit, it can be considered as sustainable.
- What does a marine biologist do in aquaculture?
The topics a marine biologist deals within aquaculture can be many-fold. They reach from fish health and fertility, metabolism, and hatcheries to feed composition, daily monitoring of parameters, safety amongst others. For more information on professions and duties in aquaculture, check the interviews at the career guide in Blue Generation: https://bluegeneration.guide/aquaculture/
- How is aquaculture more sustainable than fishing?
Traditionally aquaculture was developed to produce fish and seafood products at scale to feed the people, as overfishing activities have resulted in “empty” oceans from fish. But at this time, there is no simple answer to whether a wild versus a farmed fish is more sustainable. It depends on many variables ranging from the particular type of fish you are looking for to the type of fishing gear used, fishing/ aquaculture practices etc. Further, the answer will change over time as some fish stocks replenish, fishing equipment is re-designed to catch fish with less damage, and data about fish populations get better.