Training - American Aquaculture’s Achilles Heel?

There is little doubt that education and training are vital to maintaining a competent aquaculture workforce, and that in turn a competent workforce is essential for the aquaculture industry to prosper. As outlined in a recent technical report from one of the industrys leading lights, the United States current provision for aquaculture education may be in need of a boost in some areas.

The USA’s foray into aquaculture education and training really took off during the 1970's and into the 1980's. In line with growing job opportunities in the aquaculture industry and interest in the “blue revolution” in these years, post-secondary institutions across the country increasingly offered aquaculture-related and aquaculture-supporting degrees and training programmes.

Credit Norsk Havbrukssenter/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Credit Norsk Havbrukssenter/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Many who graduated from these programmes back then successfully entered the aquaculture sector, but now a large proportion of them are coming closer to retirement. At the same time, the opportunities for the younger generation to study aquaculture appear to be slowly declining.

Several reasons for the decline in educational provision are outlined in a technical report by Dr Gary Jensen, a former National Program Leader for Aquaculture with the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). His findings were recently published in the journal Fisheries – where you can see the full report – and in World Aquaculture, the magazine of the World Aquaculture Society.

This article was written for Sustainable Aquaculture Magazine, and can be read in full at The Fish Site.