A Fish Feed Technician (also known just as a Feed Technician), has an important role in the aquaculture industry, as they ensure fish are fed and monitor their growth progress. Without them we wouldn’t be able to access to the same range and quality of fish produce we see in supermarkets, fish markets or fishmongers.
Much innovation has been happening in the aquaculture sector recently, especially when it comes to making large-scale seafood production more sustainable. One area the sector has looked at making more eco-friendly is fish feed. From using upcycled fish by-products from production to low-carbon alternatives like black soldier flies and hemp seeds, fish feed design is changing for the better. Following the career path of a Fish Feed Technician could offer you that chance to bring greener changes like these to the industry, as more companies begin seeking alternatives that are better for the environment.
What are the responsibilities?
- Overseeing how fish respond to feed and their behaviour
- Designing fish diets/feed to figure out how they could improve fish growth, or how they could include more sustainable ingredients
- Adjusting feed based off of feed response analysis
- Liaising with site managers to make sure the correct feeding regimes are being followed
- Using high-tech computer-based technologies to collect data on the farming site and fish feed responses
Who might your employers be?
Fish Feed Technicians are typically employed by small, but also large-scale fish production companies such as Bakkafrost Scotland, which is one of the leading salmon producers in the Scottish Highlands and Islands region.
What qualifications do you need?
Having a degree in any of the following subjects will help you stand out to employers:
- BSc Biology on offer at a range of locations in the UK, including University of Sussex, University of York and Imperial College London
- BSc Chemistry, taught across the country including University of Manchester, Kingston University, and University of Birmingham
- BSc Environmental Sciences, on offer at several spots in the UK including, University of Portsmouth, University of Leeds or Nottingham Trent University
- BSc (Hons) Marine Biology at University of Sterling
You can also study undergraduate and foundation courses which are even more closely related to the aquaculture field in the UK, these include:
- BSc (Hons) Aquaculture and Fishery Management at Sparsholt College Hampshire
- FdSc Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, University of Greenwich (based in Hadlow)
There are also a selection of Masters degrees on offer in this field:
- MSc Sustainable Aquaculture at University of Plymouth
- MSc Aquaculture (Sustainable Aquaculture) at University of Stirling
Alternatives to university are also available such as the Higher National Certificate in Fish Farming, offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority at various locations across Scotland.
It is possible to start working on a fish farm without work experience, but it could help you figure out if it’s the right role and sector for you. The best way to source work experience or an internship is by contacting fish farms directly or recruitment firms that work with these companies.
What is the salary like?
The role of a Fish Feed Technician can range from up to £25,000 to £28,000, depending on your level of experience and the location of your employer.
Where will you be working?
Most aquaculture work in the UK takes place in the shoreline water regions around the Scottish Highlands, with some smaller farms also existing in the north of England, as well across southern England and in northern regions of Wales. As a Fish Feed Technician is quite a practical role, it is likely you will have to live in or near these areas.
Some work might be done remotely using computer-based technology, but you could also be required to work at the fish site on the sea from time to time, depending on the size of the farm and company you work for. Full sea safety training will probably be essential wherever you work, and you need to be comfortable being in the outdoors for long periods of time.
What is career progression like?
The role of a Fish Feed Technician offers several opportunities for career progression in the aquaculture industry. You may find that you enter the sector through a different role first. Other starter roles may include a Fish Farm Technician, through which you can earn between £17,000 to £22,0000, or a Fish Husbandry Worker, which has a salary ranging from £14,000 and £21,000, according to Lantra.
You can also take on a Modern Apprenticeship (MA) while working in the industry which gives you the chance to build on your skills and earn further qualifications. The MA is currently offered by West Highland College UHI.
Working in this industry allows you to move into other roles too, such as a Fish Hatchery Technician through which you can earn a salary of up to £34,000. With more years under your belt, you could move into a more senior role such as a Fish Hatchery or Farm Manager, which could earn you between £20,000 and £35,000 with four years of experience, and up to £55,000 with around 10 to 15 years in the role.
Is there demand for the role?
The aquaculture sector is one of the fastest growing food industries worldwide and the World Resources Institute has predicted it will likely double in size by 2050. The sector has a production value worth over £590 million to the UK economy. As it continues to grow, the demand for jobs across the industry, let alone for Fish Feed Technicians will be extremely high.
For more jobs in the food industry, visit Food Matters Live’s Preparing for a career in food