You will be working outdoors as part of a team, focusing on all aspects of successful fish production: feeding, grading, harvesting, net changing and other general farm maintenance tasks, including boat handling.
There are estimated to be more than 530 fish farming businesses throughout the UK employing more than 3,000 people. Job opportunities are in rural areas, in southern, western and central Scotland. Salmon sea-cage farms are located in Dunoon in the South, along the west coast to Cape Wrath in the North, and in the Inner and Outer Hebrides and the Northern Isles.
Fish farms operate seven days a week, so farmers usually work flexible hours based around the jobs that need completing at different times of the year. In larger farms, they are likely to work on a rota system with other members of staff. This will include early mornings, evenings and weekends. There may be opportunities for both full-time and part-time working.
You need to be comfortable working over water. Most working time is spent outdoors in all weather conditions. The work itself is active and involves a lot of heavy lifting, standing, bending and carrying.
Husbandry persons may need to collect feed or equipment and make deliveries of fish, so a full driving licence is normally needed.
Alan took up a career in aquaculture at the age of 30 and has since completed a Modern Apprenticeship through Inverness College UHI and Scottish Sea Farms Ltd on the Isle Of Mull.
“I really enjoy being out in the open air. Even on a wet and windy day, I always feel satisfied going home tired, but knowing that I’ve learned something different and would be able to respond to challenging situations in the future. When I started here three years ago, all I knew about salmon was how to cook it with a nice sauce.
Now, when my manager isn’t on site, I’m directly responsible for a quarter of a million fish as well as the infrastructure and staff. That’s enough fish to give over seven million people a nice salmon dinner.”
Salaries vary with experience, qualifications and between companies, but here's a guide to what you can expect.
Experience is an advantage, but training is usually provided.
What employers are looking for
- an enthusiasm for fish, their environment and welfare
- people who like working outdoors
- care for the environment in which farming takes place.
Skills that experienced workers have
- Be able to maintain site bio-security
- Maintain the health and welfare of fish
- Prepare and transport fish
- Be able to grade fish and shellfish.
Personal qualities you should have
- Good time management
- Working alone
- Able to use Initiative
- Attention to detail
- Able to solve problems.