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Sea Farm 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

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Sea farming 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.

Work experience

  • Work placement is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
  • Sea Farm 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

  • 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.

2023-24 programs

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

January 2024

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Shelburne Campus/Online Shelburne Full time Blended Delivered 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 amounts are for the 2022-23 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. 2023-24 tuition will be announced in the late Spring.

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.

Subsidized tuition for Indigenous, Black / African Canadian students, and/or women.

  • Tuition funding of $1,810 is available to students who identify as Indigenous, Black / African Canadians and/or women. Applicants must self-identify during the application process to be considered for funding.

Career options

  • Graduates can apply their skills to sea farm operations in coastal Nova Scotia, nationally and internationally, and qualify for many entry-level positions at aquaculture facilities.
  • Jobs include working as a sea farm or hatchery technician, inshore harvester, quality assurance technician and 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.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

AQUA 1200 - Introduction to Sea Farming
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 - Hatchery
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 hatchery setting, 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 - Grow-Out
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 grow-out setting, 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 - Sea Farm 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.

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