Fish, feed and the Chemistry of the water

Aquaculture is not just limited to trained fish or pond farmers. Graduates of Marine Biology, Fisheries Biology, Agriculture, and Animal Science as well as, since 2011, Aquaculture graduates from Rostock University, are also highly qualified for an employment in aquaculture practice or science. Since 2009 the

Master's course Aquaculture

is provided by the University of Rostock and in 2011 the first students successfully graduated.

Education, research and tasks

During the study course of aquaculture at the University of Rostock, knowledge about biology, ecology and behavior of cultural organisms, the chemistry of water as well as the physics of technical culture systems such as recirculation aquaculture systems is acquired. Nevertheless, not only basic principles of natural sciences play a role, but also business competence for the successful operation of an aquaculture enterprise, knowledge of food processing as well as knowledge about legal requirements is content of the curriculum.

In addition to carp and trout production, which leads the aquaculture production lists in Germany, a total of several hundred species belong to the spectrum of global aquaculture: aquatic plants (macro- and micro-algae), invertebrates (crabs and shrimp, mussels and echinoderms) and a variety of freshwater and marine fishes.

In order to be able to operate not only successfully but also sustainable, it is necessary to understand and master the complete life cycle of the cultured organisms and not to rely on natural supplies of stocking material. This includes artificial reproduction under culture conditions, which means the extraction and breeding of eggs, the raising of the larvae, the weaning to conventional feeds, the grow out process up to harvest or the selection of individual animals for later reproduction.

In addition, feed and feeding methods (e.g. floating or sinking) must be adapted to species-specific and age-dependent needs of the cultured organisms as well as to the culturing system.

This means it is of great importance, whether a cultured species is cultivated in a pond, a floating net cage or in a land-based recirculated aquaculture system. Also, alternative protein sources, e.g. from plants or microorganisms as supplementation of fish meal, are under investigation. The feeding and culture technology influences the cultural success decisively and effects the list of components used, such as filters and pumps or the design of the plants.

Job perspectives

Aquaculture specialists can be employed by aquaculture companies or in public and private research facilities. Furthermore, an employment in commercial fish trading companies, authorities (e.g. veterinary offices), or the Ministry of Agriculture is possible.

Additionally, various other professions are now finding a livelihood in aquaculture. For example, veterinarians are responsible for the health of the organisms.

Various engineering professions, such as food, electrical engineering or civil engineering, are nowadays also important players in the field of aquaculture.