Fisheries science is an academic discipline in fisheries management and understanding. It is a multidisciplinary topic that includes the biological study of different fish species’ lives, habits and breeding. A career in fisheries and aquaculture also includes farming and husbandry in freshwater, brackish water and marine habitats for essential fish and aquatic species.
The contribution of fisheries to GDP is about 1.1 per cent and the contribution of the agricultural sector as a whole to GDP is about 5.15 per cent. Indian fisheries and aquaculture are an important food production field, providing food baskets with nutritional protection, contributing to agricultural exports and engaging about 14 million people in various activities.
As a highly remunerative field in various branches of fisheries and aquatic sciences, it has been considered a major source of job growth and career paths.
Need for experts in fisheries and aquaculture
- To make available the much needed technically qualified extension staff for Transfer of Technology.
- To make the available staff help in teaching, research and development.
- To promote the preparation, production and execution of the Fisheries Development Plan by the manager.
- To establish farm managers, exporters, traders, breeders and new fishermen.
- An aquaculturist may also develop a career in fisheries science.
Eligibility for a career in fisheries and aquaculture
For a degree in fisheries, one must have studied biology until class XII. One has to pass a four-year degree from State Agriculture Universities to become a fisheries graduate.
One can apply for admission to B.F.Sc (Bachelor of fisheries science) courses after having a PCB group of 10 + 2. Admission takes place either on the basis of the State Level Entrance Test or via ICAR.
The applicants who have passed the ICAR entrance exam and are also receiving a fellowship are allowed a special quota for outside state candidates.
For Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland, specially reserved seats are available.
MFSc (Master of Fisheries Science) candidates can become candidates after the completion of BFSc.
One has to appear for the All India Level Common Entrance Test conducted by ICAR, New Delhi, to admit admission to central institutes.
Courses and programmes in fisheries
Fisheries education in India started with the establishment of the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai in 1961 for the in-service training and later with the establishment of the first Fisheries College in Mangalore under the State Agriculture University (SAU) System in 1969.
Since then, this branch of education has grown manifold in the last six decades as a professional discipline consisting of bachelor’s, masters and doctoral programmes in various branches of Fisheries Science.
At present, 21 fisheries colleges offer a four-year program in Bachelor of Fisheries Science (B.F.Sc.), while 10 of them offer Masters of fisheries Science (M.F.Sc.) in various disciplines and six offer doctoral programmes.
There are various undergraduate and postgraduate courses available in the field of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
One can learn about managing and understanding fisheries in the academic education of fisheries science.
On the basis of eligibility one can pursue the following course in fisheries science:
- Bachelors of Fisheries Science (B.F.Sc): 4years
- Bachelors of Science (Industrial Fish and Fisheries) : 3 years
- Master’s of Fisheries Science (M.F.Sc): 2 years
- Master’s of Science (M.Sc. Applied Aquaculture): 2 years
Higher education in fisheries science
After completion of BFSc candidates can opt for MFSc (Masters of Fisheries Science) for taking admission in Central Institute of India through all India Level Common Entrance test conducted by ICAR.
The important fisheries institutes under the ICAR set up in India are mainly CIFE, CIBA, CIFA, CMFRI, CIFT, CIFRI, NBFGR and DCFR.
These institutes are engaged in capture, culture, value edition, processing, conservation and biodiversity addressing educational and legal issues in addition to their mandate of the research programme.
Students can avail opportunities for masters and specialised education up to the doctoral level in these institutes.
Students can choose sub-branches/disciplines of fisheries science that fit their interests in subjects’ areas viz. fish nutrition and biochemistry, inland aquaculture, mariculture, fisheries resource management, fish genetics and biotechnology, post-harvest technology, fish pathology and microbiology.
Career opportunities in the fisheries sector
Career for fisheries and aquaculture graduates are available with a variety of employers, including state and central government agencies, academic institutions and fish farms.
Government agencies and industry organisations recruit positions like aquaculture manager, shellfish culturist, hatchery technician, biological science technician and fish research assistant.
Many career options exist in this field in both public and private sectors in aquaculture to sea farming of fish, shellfish and marine organisms.
Entry-level aquaculture jobs require a diploma or an undergraduate degree in aquaculture and fisheries, but more advanced positions require a master’s or doctorate degree.
Some sectors that offers job opportunities for fisheries graduates
State government jobs
Every state government has a fisheries department in which fisheries graduates can apply for the post of assistant fisheries development officer (AFDO)/fisheries extension officer (FEO)/inspector of fisheries and district fisheries development officer.
One can apply for the post of deputy managers, managers, project officers and fisheries officers in in-state fisheries development corporations.
Eligibility criteria vary for each state and can be known from respective Public Service Commission/ Service Selection Boards.
One can get job in central agencies as technical officers and assistant directors in Maine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Export Inspection Agency (EIA), Coastal Aquaculture Authority of India (CAA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSI) and as Technical Officers and Scientists in Fisheries Survey of India (FSI), National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Indian National Centre for Ocean and Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, etc.
Candidates having completed (BFSc) can apply for the post of instructor, research assistant, biochemist, biologist and technicians, in some conventional universities.
Candidates having a post-graduates (MFSc) degree can also apply for the post of assistant professor, in the faculty of fisheries.
For the recruitment of scientists in various agricultural and fisheries institutions under the ICAR, Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board (ASRB) conducts an All India Competitive Exam, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) followed by viva voce.
Fisheries graduates are able to work in nationalised and private banks as assistant development officers in NABARD, rural development officer and field officer and managers in the agricultural loan section.
They are successful aqua consultants due to the technical expertise of the professional fisheries graduates. As an entrepreneur, after graduating with a degree in BFSc, candidates can start a business of their own.
The financial support can be accessed through NABARD or through other nationalised banks. Feed production, feed sales, ornamental fish cultivation and breeding, aquaculture, hatchery and seed production, commercial pearl production, fish processing and marketing, net production, the establishment of agri Clinics for the diagnosis of fish diseases and for the testing and supply of farm inputs are the key areas in which the fisheries enterprise can be established.
The fish processing industry in the country is well developed and graduates can work as managers or officers in the processing and exporting units of seafood, aquafeed, fishing gear and pharmaceutical industries.
Many fish/shrimp farms, as farm incharge, employ skilled fisheries graduates. There is a great paucity of skilled manpower in the area of designing, construction, management of fish farms and hatcheries.
Jobs abroad for fisheries
There is a demand for fishery professionals in the aquaculture and processing sectors in the Gulf and African countries, in addition to the scope of higher education in fisheries in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and European countries.
Depending on the area of specialisation chosen, remuneration in this field varies widely. In the private sector, the wage varies according to the candidate’s form of work and specialisation.
In the private sector, the pay varies according to the type of job and specialisation of the candidate.
But in the government sector, the salary range may be different but it offers stability.
In this field, the research positions are quite lucrative but these are usually reserved for doctorate holders with experience.