Education and training for fishers and aquaculture producers

Educational requirements range from basic fish biology and water quality testing and system designs for fish farms, to marine vessel operation and safety and diver training. 

With over 100 wild and cultured species from B.C., the seafood sector is highly diverse and relies on a wide range of technologies. Fish farms can range from simple ponds, to large net-pen arrays anchored in the ocean, to highly complex automated recirculation systems (RAS) on land. B.C.’s fishing fleet includes some 2,500 vessels, mostly consisting of vessels 10-25 metres in length, but also including smaller vessels such as dive boats and larger vessels such as freezer trawlers.

Post secondary programs and short courses in B.C.

Camosun College

Nautical training

Programs and courses toward achieving Fishing Master designation.

Excel Career College

Aquaculture Technician Diploma Program

Get the training you need to become an integral part of the growing aquaculture industry. The program is 25 weeks (approximately 500 hours) total, including 23 weeks of classroom training and a 2 week practicum placement.

North Island College

Aquaculture Technician Certificate

Learn essential skills to support aquatic food production for marine, freshwater, and land-based systems. This industry-informed training program prepares you to work as a farm or hatchery technician, maintenance, harvest, and new cleaning crew positions, or as a deckhand on harvest vessels, well-boats, feeding and site maintenance vessels. As an Aquaculture Technician certificate graduate, your skills are applicable to aquaculture operations in coastal BC, nationally and internationally 

Aquaculture Technician Diploma

Advance your aquaculture career and expand your skills. This industry-informed training includes equipment and facility maintenance, grow-out and hatchery production and a directed research project. You’ll be prepared to work as an aquaculture technician, site worker, hatchery or site manager, fisheries researcher, or environmental monitor.

Marine training

Transport Canada Marine Safety approved education and training, which includes marine emergency duties, Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP), Fishing Master courses, and others.

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Graduate Certificate in Aquaculture

The certificate program is a one semester/4-month specialized program that is ideal for students interested in entering the aquaculture industry and for those who are ready for a career transition. It explores principles across the broad scope of fields involved with food production from aquaculture. The curriculum has a strong focus on finfish aquaculture (including salmon).

Vancouver Island University (VIU)

Fisheries and Aquaculture Program

  • 2 – year Diploma
  • 1 – year Post-Degree Diploma
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Fisheries & Aquaculture (4 years)

Natural Resource Extension Program

Short courses and certificate programs are offered in locations around the province, Topics include:

  • Fisheries monitoring & surveying methods
  • Marine safety
  • Water quality monitoring (freshwater)
  • Fisheries field skills
  • Environmental monitoring, and others

Workshops and seminars

Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences (CAHS)

Fish Health Workshop (Freshwater/Marine)

Gain a better understanding of the practical applications of fish health techniques, through a combination of lecture, hands-on experience and discussion to advance the fish health knowledge and skills you already possess.

Sea Lice Identification Workshop

This workshop combines lectures and group discussion with hands-on experience to increase understanding of sea lice biology and current management practices.

Fish Safe BC

This industry-driven initiative focuses on providing safety training and tools to commercial fishers. It includes the Safest Catch Program, Stability Education Course, Safe on the Wheel (SVOP) Course, and Restricted Operator Course Maritime (ROC-M).