Skip to main content Skip to site utility navigation Skip to main site navigation Skip to site search Skip to footer
2021-22 program delivery

To ensure we can safely offer the high-quality learning you expect, we’ve changed how some programs will be delivered. Please visit the “locations & availability” tab to view current program delivery.

Aquaculture Operations

Get the skills needed to work at fish hatcheries and marine farms.

A man in rubber boots and hip waders farms and harvests shellfish in shallow ocean water.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
19 Weeks
College Certificate

Apply Now


Aquaculture is a significant economic driver for rural and coastal communities in Nova Scotia. With the value of seafood exports expected to double by 2024, a skilled workforce is needed to meet labour demands within the aquaculture sector.

In this 19-week program, you get the skills needed to support freshwater and marine farming and land-based operations. You learn about equipment and procedures used to produce high-quality aquaculture products. Both shellfish and finfish operations will be covered through the courses in this program to provide training on a wide range of species that are farmed within Canada.

Specific topics include:

  • fish biology and husbandry
  • fish health and welfare
  • how to care for aquaculture species inland and in sea-based environments
  • the aquaculture production cycle
  • fish feeding and nutrition regimens
  • aquaculture business fundamentals
  • site maintenance
  • regulations
  • workplace and marine safety

Work experience

  • Field experience (work placement) is a mandatory credit course completed at the end of your program. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
  • Aquaculture Operations has two 2-week work placements, one in land-based operations and another in marine-based operations.
  • Opportunities are typically unpaid.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • The aquaculture industry is experiencing sustained growth in the province of Nova Scotia. It's anticipated that aquaculture, and supporting industries, will be a driver of economic growth in the province.
  • This new program has been developed in partnership with industry, and industry representatives are directly involved in your hands-on training at NSCC.
  • Courses are designed to give you a well-rounded experience that parallels industry workplaces.
  • You have opportunities to collaborate with the Oceans Technology program on applied research projects involving the application of new technologies in aquaculture, such as robotics, automation, environmental health, fish health and feeding patterns.
  • You gain practical experience and apply your skills during a work experience.
  • You graduate with a portfolio that captures your skills and achievements – a definite asset in a competitive job market.

2021-22 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

January 2022

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Shelburne Campus/Online Shelburne Full time Blended BlendedDelivered through a combination of in-person and scheduled online classes. Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details

Program requirements

Portfolio Development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition is valid for the 2021-22 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Funding available for tuition and program costs
The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is sponsoring bursaries for students enrolled in aquaculture and fisheries programs while working in the seafood sector. View bursary details

Career options

Graduates can apply their skills to aquaculture operations in coastal Nova Scotia, nationally and internationally, and qualify for many entry-level positions at aquaculture facilities. Job titles may include:

  • Aquaculture technician
  • Hatchery technician
  • Farm technician
  • Harvester
  • Deck hand

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

AQUA 1200 - Introduction to Aquaculture
This occupational level course introduces the aquaculture industry in Atlantic Canada with emphasis on the monitoring and management of nutrition and welfare of fish. Finfish and shellfish species will be covered, including both land-based and marine applications. Topics include: understanding water quality/physiological requirements and how to monitor/test for them; understanding environmental interactions including their monitoring and mitigation plans; feeding, diet formulation, and feed conversion; fish health and welfare and their promotion through management, surveillance and biosecurity procedures; and finally the issues faced by the aquaculture industry and the opportunities the industry presents for sustained economic growth in coastal Atlantic Canada.

AQUA 1300 - Aquaculture Husbandry
This occupational level course details aquaculture husbandry and the operation of marine and land-based systems. Topics include forms, functions, and design of equipment and infrastructure for both land-based and marine environments; day to day procedures; and how to monitor and manage fish wellness and behaviour to influence the healthy and sustainable development from egg to plate.

AQUA 1400 - Operations and Site Management
This occupational level course applies the knowledge learned and develops skills pertinent to work on an aquaculture farm. Most of this course will be delivered in an applied format.

AQUA 1500 - Work Experience - Land-based
This work experience is intended to expose the learner to their chosen career field of aquaculture. The learner will have the opportunity to apply, learn and enhance their skills and knowledge in a land based operation, experience new applications and processes, develop their abilities in the areas of working life regarding personal growth and enrichment, and demonstrate employability skills.

AQUA 1550 - Work Experience - Marine
This work experience is intended to expose the learner to their chosen career field of aquaculture. The learner will have the opportunity to apply, learn and enhance their skills and knowledge in a salt-water, marine environment, experience new applications and processes, develop their abilities in the areas of working life regarding personal growth and enrichment, and demonstrate employability skills.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1033 - Aquaculture Safety
This professional level course covers basic seamanship and radio operations that support the knowledge and skills fundamental to work within aquaculture. Topics include: General workplace safety, Small Vessel Operator Proficiency, Marine Emergency Duties, and procedures and equipment used for radio communications.

Apply Now

Have Questions? Contact Us.

Fill out this form and we'll be in touch.

Required fields are marked with a red symbol (*)

Yes No

Thank you for contacting us.
We will respond to you within three to five business days. While you wait, feel free to browse our list of Programs & Courses or visit our Admissions information section.