Researchers are primarily concerned with finding new and innovative ways of improving farm efficiency, or developing new techniques and processes to either streamline operations or develop new farming opportunities.
The exponential growth of aquaculture, both in South Africa and abroad, has led to bigger farms and more harvested species. Increased production has spawned experimental research projects across the globe.
Aquaculture researchers may be employed directly by private aquaculture companies or by institutes or government departments conducting aquaculture research. The sector also offers many international research and training opportunities. The South African government has identified three key research areas: species diversification and competitiveness; animal health and diseases; interaction between the environment and agriculture.
• Research and develop culture technology for finfish and invertebrate species.
• Improve biosecurity of aquaculture activities through targeted surveillance, development of diagnostic methods, epidemiological research, and the development of preventative measures for promoting and maintaining a healthy culture environment.
• Promote understanding of the interactions between environment, economics and aquaculture.
Scientific training and formal qualifications are essential, with a minimum MSc requirement. Post-graduate studies are preferred, depending upon the size of the business. Researchers in this field need a thorough knowledge of aquatic biology and general grounding in scientific research, in addition to experience in running clinical trials.
Researchers at this level can migrate to careers in academia or the international regulatory environment.