Providing qualified, educated individuals to sustain an industry is important in all facets of business and aquaculture is no different.
Therefore, academic positions in aquaculture are critical to the industry’s sustainability. Roles as college professors are required worldwide and cover a broad range of disciplines.
Most college programs are not coined as aquaculture specifically, but usually involve more specific disciplines. Biology, water chemistry and hydrology, environmental engineering, natural resources and other science-related fields all contribute personnel to the aquaculture industry. Most university professors are involved with teaching to undergraduate and graduate students, along with managing specific research facilities and laboratories. In addition to teaching responsibilities, most academic positions also involve a fair amount of research. Aquaculture businesses often work with and look to academic institutions to assist with solving challenges they experience in their day-to-day operations. Current hot topics include sustainable aquaculture, climate change and aquatic species disease prevention.
Most professor positions require individuals with doctorate degrees in fields relevant to their program. Some positions may begin as assistant professors for individuals with a scientific bachelor’s degree if the individual has a significant amount of pertinent experience in some form of aquaculture. The experience required will depend on the educational institution, but time spent dealing with hydrology and fish farming is general examples.
Most professor and assistant professors will be expected to develop funding sources from external sources to keep their academic programs going, so experience in writing and achieving grants or other funding sources is highly desired in applicants.
A professor can expect to earn a median salary of about US$50,000 annually, but initial positions can be as low as US$20,000. Many positions allow for the individual to supplement their income through relationships built with relevant businesses that do not interfere with the educational institutions objectives. Many professorships begin on a contract basis of two to five years, after which the individual attains tenure based on performance.
Many professorships are very similar to actual aquatic species farm managers. Most aquaculture educational institutions either own or are associated with a research facility. The professor is generally required to manage a small number of assistants or technicians involved in running the facility, including equipment maintenance, water quality management and species culture. Public relations is also an important part of a professor’s role, as communicating experimental results to obtain funding to support research is critical to ongoing operations. The ability to work well in diverse settings and manage both local and international relationships is critical towards keeping a successful academic position.