Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Core Knowledge Requirements

What are the core areas that aquaculture professionals working in technical service should have knowledge and skills? I think there are of five of them at a minimum for those working for feed companies.

1. Fish Biology & Management: This includes knowledge of farmed species, their basic anatomy what they eat, how they reproduce, their growth patterns, what diseases affect them, etc. A good general knowledge of fish genetics and physiology would be helpful too. The use of the term "fish" here includes shrimp as well.

2. Aquatic Environment: An intimate knowledge of aquatic environment is an absolute requirement for aquaculture professionals. We need to know what water quality parameters are important, how they affect the animals, what are the optimum levels, what are the toxic levels, how do we measure them and how do we manage them. The other important aspect is pond productivity: key nutrients impacting productivity, their interactions, sources, optimum levels, how to fertilize and manage productivity.

3. Farming Systems & Techniques: This area includes all the practical stuff: how to build ponds, how to prepare them for stocking, how to nurse fry to fingerlings, how to select fingerlings for stocking, how stocking density affects growth, how to identify feeds, what feeding rates to use, how to sample the fish, what are the methods to harvest, etc.

4. Feeds: Obviously, those who provide technical service for feed companies need to have a good knowledge of feeds: what are the different types, how are they made, their physical and nutritional quality, what performance each feed can provide in a given farming system, and how to store the feeds correctly.

5. Basic Economics & Extension: Aquaculture professionals require basic knowledge of some social sciences. Farming is an economic enterprise, so they need to know how to consider all the costs of farming and the returns, be able to evaluate various management decisions from a returns perspective, and have a good grasp of risk. They also need to know how to effectively communicate with the farmers, especially the technical matters.

I am posting a PDF of a PowerPoint on the above subject matter in my Google Drive.  

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