Careers in Fish Hatchery Management

Research what it takes to become a fish hatchery manager. Learn about education, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Fish Hatchery Manager Do?

Fish hatchery managers use their knowledge of fish biology, ecology, chemistry and aquaculture technology to raise fish and shellfish in a wide range of settings. For instance, they may stock and manage fish in ponds, raceways, commercial net pens and recirculation systems for the purpose of food or recreational fishing. In addition, mangers employ administrative skills to manage a hatchery's business activities, such as ordering supplies, maintaining equipment, keeping financial records and overseeing workers.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor of Science; advancement through work experience in some cases
Education Field of Study Fish hatchery management, aquaculture
Key Responsibilities Manage fish care, worker schedules, maintenance, budget, environmental regulatory compliance
Job Growth (2014-2024) -2%* (for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers)
Median Annual Salary (2015) $64,170* (for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Fish Hatchery Management?

Fish hatcheries are organizations that fertilize and hatch fish for commercial use. Either commercial companies or government agencies can own them. As a fish hatchery manager, you'll oversee the daily operations of an entire hatchery.

Some of your specific responsibilities as a fish hatchery manager might include coordinating the schedules of manual laborers and other employees. You'll oversee activities such as egg incubation, fish spawning and fish rearing. You'll also oversee the maintenance of facility equipment and structures, set budget plans, train crew and adhere to environmental regulations.

What Education Might I Need?

Not all fish hatcheries require you to have a postsecondary education to advance to a management position. In some instances, you might be able to earn an entry-level position in a hatchery and then work your way up the ladder to a supervisory role. However, many hatcheries do require managers to hold at least a bachelor's degree.

A Bachelor of Science in Aquaculture or a Bachelor of Science in Fish Hatchery Management can prepare you for such a position. Each of these degree programs should provide you with a broad understanding of biological sciences and aquaculture technology while also supplying you with an overview of management and business principles. You should also learn the basics of fish orientation, fish population assessment, ecology, limnology, chemistry and aquatic resources.

What is the Job Outlook for the Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers - a group that includes aquacultural and fish hatchery managers - is predicted to decline by 2% from 2014-2024. This decline is in contrast to an average of 7% growth for all occupations during that decade.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

The BLS reported that in 2015, aquacultural managers, including fish hatchery managers, earned a median annual salary of $64,170. The BLS states that incomes might change from year to year due to fluctuations in market prices and influences on production by weather.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Rather than focusing on aquaculture, you could choose a different specialization within the field of agricultural management. For instance, you could pursue a career as a crop farmer, livestock manager, rancher or horticultural specialty manager. Like fish hatchery managers, these jobs are available to individuals who've acquired significant work experience, though in some cases an associate's or bachelor's degree could be necessary. If you're interested in agriculture, you might also consider a job as a food scientist, where you could conduct research related to farming efficiency and product improvement. For an entry-level food science job, you need to have at least a bachelor's degree.

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