Aquaculturists specialise in large-scale aquaculture and fishery products as cash crops. Aquaculturists catch and harvest, raise and culture, fish and shellfish such as shrimps, clams, lobsters or oysters under controlled conditions for release into fresh or saltwater. 

Many aquaculturists are involved in commercial fish farms and specialise in either freshwater or marine animals. They stock ponds, feed fish, monitor water quality, check for diseases, harvest fish and maintain equipment.

Tasks include:

  • conducting and organising aquaculture or fishery stock examinations to identify diseases or parasites
  • arranging the sale of produce and catches with buyers
  • contracting with fishing skippers or owners of vessels and aquaculture farms for fishing and aquaculture operations, or for management or production
  • coordinating the selection and maintenance of brood stock
  • devising and coordinating activities to improve fish hatching and growth rates, and to prevent disease in hatcheries
  • directing and monitoring the transfer of mature fish to lakes, ponds, streams or commercial tanks
  • directing and monitoring trapping and spawning of fish, egg incubation and fry-rearing, applying knowledge of management and fish culturing techniques
  • establishing and managing budgets, monitoring production output and costs, recording information such as fisheries, management practices, and preparing financial and operational reports
  • monitoring aquaculture and fishery market activity and planning production and fishing activities to meet contract requirements and market demand
  • monitoring environments to maintain or improve conditions for aquatic life
  • overseeing the selection, training and performance of aquaculture or fishery workers and contractors, purchasing machinery, equipment and supplies such as vessels and nets.

Aquaculture has been identified as a critical industry, due to the popularity of its produce and the declining yields world-wide. In South Africa, Aquaculture has been identified as part of the key industries for promotion in line with the country’s Industrial Policy Action Plan II (IPAP II). The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is also lending its support to the sector and encouraging collaboration with stakeholders across the sector.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

There are no specific schooling or training requirements for this career. However, further study in Aquaculture will require a National Senior Certificate (matric) with a Bacehlor's pass or Diploma pass depending on the requirement.  

Compulsory Subjects: Depending on the level of study 
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences


What to Study

Degree: BSc Aquaculture courses, Aquaculture Distance Education Programme.
Once in possession of a degree, it is usual to work as a trainee or technician to gain practical experience. It can then be possible to progress to positions such as manager in small fisheries or hatcheries, assistant manager in larger ones, or staff biologist.

Postgraduate: Aquaculture research.A master’s degree is usually needed for managerial positions at larger facilities, senior scientist positions at large fisheries, or on research projects.  With experience, aquaculture workers can qualify for positions as consultants in private firms or as senior scientists. Aquaculturists with PhDs can also lead research projects.


  • aquaculture farms or businesses
  • Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
  • Department of Agriculture
  • hatcheries
  • private firms

Further Information

Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa
P O Box 71894
The Willows
Pretoria, 0041
Tel: (012) 803-5208

South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)
Somerset Street
Grahamstown, 6139
Tel: (046) 603-5800

Sea Fisheries Research Institute
Foretrust Building
Martin Hammerschlag Way
Foreshore, 8001
Tel: (021) 402-3173

Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Department of Trade and industry

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Programmes by Study Institutions

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