Callum Duggan - Freshwater Technician

Callum Duggan - Freshwater Technician

I’ve always been interested and passionate in fish management so I am enjoying my current role at the Ardtaraig hatchery on Loch Striven. It’s a freshwater, flow-through Atlantic salmon hatchery. We receive fertilised eggs twice a year, hatch and raise them in tanks, on land until they’re ready to go to sea. We’re at the top of a loch and it’s a stunning place to work.

The main things I do each day are fish husbandry, checking equipment, monitoring feed and oxygen to the fish and grading and vaccinating them. I also have responsibilities as fire marshal, forklift operator, fish care and training new staff.

Teamwork’s really important, and you have to be good at problem solving and working independently under pressure too. We all get on really well and are a great team, so working here is rewarding.

While the honours degree in marine biology I have is relevant to my job, I wanted to do something a bit more hands-on, so was delighted to be given the chance to do a Modern Apprenticeship. It’s a great way to improve your knowledge, skills and experience while you’re still working full-time on site.

I’m learning about team and site management, aquatic production, fish feeding and health care regimes and treatments, as there’s a big focus on fish health and providing the best care that you can. You sometimes have to be prepared to cancel personal plans at short notice, because the fish always come first.

The most rewarding part of the job for me is getting feedback from the sea site how chuffed they are with the fish we produce for them. Once we know the salmon are healthy and in great condition, it makes all the hard work worth it.

Callum’s route into aquaculture

  • Did work experience at a salmon hatchery on a local estate and loved it
  • Went to university and did honours degree in marine biology
  • Joined Cooke Aquaculture Scotland and did a Modern Apprenticeship through NAFC Marine Centre UHI
  • Now doing a Technical Apprenticeship in Aquaculture Management