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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Aquaculture Operators and Managers (0823)

Aquaculture operators and managers manage operations of facilities which cultivate and harvest fish, shellfish or marine plants for replenishment of wildlife stocks or for commercial sale. They are employed by public or private fish hatcheries and commercial aquatic farms or they may be self-employed.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read e-mail from co-workers or colleagues. For example, they may read e-mail from biologists describing unusual oxygen level readings or e-mail from head offices about workplace safety issues such as the importance of wearing life jackets while working at farm sites. (2)
  • Read preventative and first aid measures in the Material Safety Data Sheets for chemicals such as cleaners and disinfectant sprays. (2)
  • Read government regulations and policies to ensure that their farms' operations and procedures meet standards. For example, they read national aquaculture legislation to get information on a number of topics including the export or import of live fish; restrictions on the use of feed, chemicals and veterinary drugs; authorization system to engage in and set up an aquaculture facility; water quality and discharge of wastewater, and measures related to food safety. (3)
  • Read variety of trade publications such as Atlantic Fish Farming, Aquaculture and Fish Farming International, and fish culture manuals. They read to learn about industry trends, aquaculture research findings, and new products and procedures that could apply to their settings. For example, managers of mussel farms may read about new mussel farming technologies used in other countries to consider if these new methods can be implemented in their locations. (3)
  • Read operating manuals when repairing or installing parts of a machine. For example, they may need to replace a pump that failed following a power outage. (3)
  • Scan research reports to find new information relevant to their own practices. For example, aquaculture operators and managers facing specific problems such as high mortality rates or low growth rates might read research articles published in scientific journals to find out about new procedures to resolve these problems. (4)
  • Read lengthy engineering study reports to understand the design and construction needs of aquaculture production facilities. For example, an aquaculture manager may review an engineering study to learn about recommended water control measures, predator control requirements, inventory of equipment to be purchased and escape prevention measures. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Record data on data collection forms and activity logs. For example, they record information such as fish weight, feed amounts, times of feedings and oxygen levels. (1)
  • May use assembly diagrams to install or repair equipment. For example, a fish farm operator may install a new conveyer belt with a pressure wash system by following the sequence in an assembly drawing. (2)
  • Complete questionnaires and surveys for government authorities collecting statistical data. For example, they may report on aspects of the farm such as existing infrastructure, current water treatment systems, type of feed and fish health. (2)
  • Use a variety of images to monitor fish and equipment, and detect potential problems. For example, they examine photographs and videos taken with underwater cameras to check if nets need to be repaired and to observe fish behaviour. They also interpret ultrasound images of fish to determine when to collect ova and semen. (2)
  • Locate data on several forms with multiple tables. For example, a fish operator may read tables of recorded temperatures and data such as mortality, feeding and growth rates to determine if lowering the temperature of the holding tank has helped to increase the feeding behaviour of fish. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write notes in log books to report any fish behaviours that might be of concern, describe repairs that were done and activities that need to be completed. (1)
  • Write e-mail to co-workers, colleagues, suppliers and community groups. For example, they may ask other operators for advice on how to deal with flatworm infestation or accept invitations to speak at community group luncheons. (2)
  • May write guidelines to standardize farm operations. For example, they may write detailed and simple instructions of a page or more for staff on how to operate the aquaculture equipment. (2)
  • May write a short text to inform and express opinions on issues related to the aquaculture farm operation. For example, they may write a document of one to several pages to describe and inform their superiors of potential environmental issues and recommend proposed action plans. (3)
  • May write proposals to government agencies to request research funding or seek approval to set up new farms. For example, the proposal may include the purpose, the design, the activities and budget requirements of the research project, and potential benefit to industry. (3)
  • May write technical and research reports. For example, they may publish research findings for an audience of colleagues and aquaculture industry professionals about topics such as the effect of winter food deprivation on the growth and the sexual maturity of Atlantic salmon in seawater. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May purchase supplies and equipment using cash and credit cards. (1)
  • May calculate invoice amounts. For example, they may prepare invoices by multiplying the price per kilogram by the total weights of deliveries and then calculate sales taxes. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Set fish feeding schedules. For example, they develop production plans that schedule times and amounts of feedings from spawning to harvesting. (2)
  • Schedule the tasks of regular staff and calculate the number of extra seasonal people to hire for harvest. Activities are delegated to staff on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, based on the production cycle. (2)
  • Establish and monitor budgets. They monitor their monthly financial results to determine if their operational expenses are within budgeted amounts. If required, they may make adjustments such as postponing planned equipment purchases. (3)
  • Prepare annual budgets. They identify details of production costs, including fixed and total costs, total cash returns, resource requirements and capital investments. They use the information to project cash flow and project revenue. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure and weigh fish and other aquaculture products. (1)
  • Calculate the amount of food required by populations of fish. They use feeding rates that depend on factors such as fish size, fish weight and life stage. (2)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare the fish growth rate with average growth rates presented in industry charts to see if anticipated time to maturity or size at delivery date is as expected. (1)
  • Analyze research findings published by universities, government funded organizations, government agencies or their own research to develop best management or operational practices. For example, they may adopt proposed measures that reduce pollution such as selecting feeding regimes reduce the amount of waste produced. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the time required for fish to achieve full maturity. They take into consideration a variety of data such as water temperature and amount of food they have been consuming. (2)
  • Estimate amounts of food that will be needed to nourish fish during the growth cycle using the number and size of fish in ponds and holding tanks. Estimation errors have significant consequences on financial results. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Participate in regular group or one-on-one meetings with junior staff and co-workers to coordinate work, identify solutions for operational problems and to discuss security and staffing. (2)
  • Interact with service providers and suppliers to order supplies, follow up on missing orders, request services, obtain technical information and find out how to make mechanical repairs. (2)
  • Exchange information with clients to determine their needs, respond to complaints about deliveries and resolve invoicing issues. (3)
  • Discuss research findings with junior staff, co-workers and peers. For example, they may discuss potential treatments to eradicate parasites and innovative techniques for parasite control with their staff to identify the best courses of actions. (3)
  • Exchange information with government representatives. They discuss industry concerns and lobby for changes to existing legislation and regulations. They may also represent the aquaculture industry on government missions to other countries to compare operations and learn how other countries have tackled environmental issues. (3)
  • Make presentations on a wide range of aquaculture issues to small and large groups. For example, they may make presentations to municipal councils to obtain applications for new farm operations, or to community residents to address environmental concerns and highlight benefits. They may also make presentations on environmental issues to university classes or deliver presentations on research findings to conference participants. (4)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Find that employees will be off work for extended leave or that there are not enough workers on duty to complete orders. They reassign employees to ensure that operations are not disrupted and contact employees off duty to work overtime shifts. (2)
  • F ind that they cannot fill client orders as requested. For example, their inventories may not have the number of fish in the sizes requested by clients. They may offer a different product at a reduced rate. (2)
  • Discover that predators have invaded production areas. For example, they may discover that wild fish have invaded salmon pens. They transfer the salmon to other pens and immediately remove the wild species from the affected areas. (2)
  • Handle breakdowns of essential equipment and malfunctions in critical systems such as filtration systems. They make repairs immediately to minimize disruptions and prevent high mortality rates. (2)
  • Manage infestation by parasites and viruses in fish populations. For example, an aquaculture operator may discover that a virus is killing fish. If the virus is untreatable with antibiotics, the operator will order the extermination of all fish in the affected ponds to prevent the spread of diseases, send samples of the fish to pathology departments for analyses and disinfect the ponds thoroughly before restocking them. (3)
Decision Making
  • Make decisions about staff and work assignments. They identify human resource needs, assign tasks to staff, allocate training resources and make hiring decisions. (2)
  • Decide to renew contracts with suppliers. They consider the ability of suppliers to provide high quality products, deliver the requested quantities and their past performance. (2)
  • Decide to implement new processes and techniques to increase production. For example, they may decide to adopt new innovative techniques based on limited available information considering a number of factors, such as cost of adopting new techniques and resulting quality of product and expected financial results. For example, they may decide to use new harvesting procedures such as attaching scallop shells to down lines instead of placing them in nets. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of various types of feed. For example, they may assess the benefits of changing the type of fish food. They consider the cost of the products, the effect of the new feed on fish growth rates and reductions to waste and environmental damage. (2)
  • Evaluate the health of farm stock to determine if feeding schedules and nutrient quantities are optimal. They conduct visual assessments to locate physical evidence that might suggest potential health problems. (2)
  • Evaluate the impact of increasing production. For example, they need to establish a human resource plan to ensure there are enough staff to support the additional activities and they need to review the current machinery and equipment to determine if it will meet the new demands. (2)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of cultivation procedures by analyzing operational data such as quality and quantity of product. For example, they consider water temperature, the time period allocated for the growth to maturity, and the location of the seeds. (2)
  • Assess the financial risk of transporting fish from one area to another by evaluating distance to be travelled, the time when the fish must be fed and temperature. For example, they need to use their judgment and past experiences to estimate if the conditions are likely to impact survival rate to decide whether or not to complete the sale. (3)
  • Analyze information from research data to find solution to specific problems. For example, they use the information to select new techniques that will help achieve operational goals such as optimization of production and decrease of the mortality rate. (3)
  • Evaluate farm operations to optimize financial outcome and sustainable use of the available resources. For example, they need to understand and integrate provincial and national management plans to resolve problems that result from trying to balance the farming of sea fish in cages with the demands of tourism or fishing. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Aquaculture operators and managers may work in small or large organization. They plan their own activities on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. They establish work schedules of all staff to optimize production. They establish a sequence of activities to meet the requirements of the production cycle. They design integrated work plans to allow them to control and monitor the human and financial resources of fish farm operations. They modify existing processes to deal with unexpected production issues. They establish priorities that are aligned with the goals and objectives of the farm operations.

Planning and Organizing for Others

Aquaculture operators and managers plan and coordinate the work of their employees. They plan the work of their staff and the use of material resources to optimize the financial success of their operations. They develop, implement and monitor day-to-day work activities. They delegate activities and tasks to others to meet operational needs, and monitor the quality of the work they perform. They are involved in establishing the short and long terms goals of the organization.

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember names and contact information of clients, government officials and staff members.
  • Remember recommended feeding rates and other frequently used specifications.
Finding Information
  • Locate and analyse information from legislation and regulations from various government levels to establish sound operational practices. (2)
  • L Find possible solutions to problems by reading newsletters, government and industry websites, scientific research and talking to industry specialists. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use databases. For example, they may enter or extract information from databases to monitor feed inventories, water quality and fish stocks. (2)
  • May use spreadsheets. For example, they enter data in existing spreadsheet templates to record daily feed amounts as well as mortality and growth rates. They also enter financial information to keep track of expenditures. (2)
  • May use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, they use specialized accounting software to record financial information. (2)
  • Use communication software. For example, they sort and save e-mail in appropriate folders and send out messages using distribution lists and personal mailing lists. They may attach documents. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they navigate the Internet to locate information in online journals and articles to find out emerging trends in the aquaculture industry. They search the Internet to locate other fish farming enterprises around the world to find out about best practices and also identify new and innovative technology and products. (2)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, they use specialized software to distribute and monitor daily feed. They use computer-operated machinery such as the Akva Doppler and camera systems to monitor underwater fish activity and ultra sound equipment to locate eggs and sperm in brood stock. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they format short letters and memos to government agencies, suppliers and co-workers. They may create longer documents such as research reports or funding proposals with tables of contents, footnotes, bibliographies and appendices. (3)
  • May use graphics software. For example, they may use software such as PowerPoint to create presentations for industry association meetings and training seminars. They may insert tables, charts, video clips and diagrams into the presentation to make them effective. They may also use page layout software such as Publisher to create internal publications, importing pictures and icons to create attractive layouts. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Aquaculture operators manage human resources to ensure that their operation is effective and financially sound. They design work plan that integrate their own work and the work of their staff. Aquaculture operators and managers may be members of a management team or owner-operators. They consult their peers and other specialists from multidisciplinary areas such as lawyers, government administrators and engineers. (3)

Continuous Learning

Aquaculture operators and managers participate in a number of continuous learning activities. They learn on the job from discussions with specialists from multidisciplinary areas such as engineers, lawyers and government regulators. They also read trade and academic publications that relate to the aquaculture industry and management. They research information on the Internet and industry specific websites. They keep up-to-date with legislation and regulations governing the industry. They participate in seminars, conferences and workshops to maintain a network of professional contacts and keep abreast of new innovative technology and research findings. They maintain membership in professional associations to benefit from exchanges of information. (3)

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