Aquaculture employment demands forecast to increase

Accounting for more than half the fish supply for human consumption, aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing food producing sector and this growth is likely to continue.

Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms in inland and coastal areas, which involves intervention in the rearing process to enhance production and cultivate stock. There are around 25 aquaculture businesses in Northern Ireland which employ approximately 150 people*. The aquaculture industry is part of the land-based and environmental sector, represented by Lantra Sector Skills Council. David Seffen, Partnership Manager said: “Worldwide fish stocks are declining each year, yet there is increasing consumer demand for fish. Aquaculture production helps supplement and replenish the wild reserves in order to satisfy this demand. Due to this increased production, employment demands in aquaculture are forecast to increase, with a need to attract new entrants while also retaining current staff. Robert Wyvill has worked in the aquaculture industry since he was just 14 years old, initially on a part-time basis and then choosing to pursue a career in the industry. A farming technician, Robert enjoying the diversity of his job: “Each day is different, some days I’m looking after the salmon and involved in feeding, grazing, harvesting or sampling the fish; others days I could be operating the barge, or undertaking forklift work.” With an increasing need for skills, the aquaculture industry is initiating a programme of best practice and in conjunction with Lantra Sector Skills Council has developed National Occupational Standards which can be used by employers to highlight best practice, identify the skills needed, develop training and recruitment plans and develop job descriptions. Robert continued: “Skills are becoming more and more important, with a real need for planning and good awareness of safety regulations, as well as good communication skills and confidence in what you do. The availability of training within the industry is good, and over the years I’ve attended a number of courses, which have ranged from chemical handling, gas awareness and onsite training for tool awareness right through to leadership.” David Seffen concluded: “With climate change comes a prediction of water scarcity and a reduction in global productive land. We need to use our marine resources more effectively to feed the world’s population, and that means through aquaculture.” ENDS ISSUED BY: Paula Smyth, Marketing, Communications and Project Co-ordinator Tel: 028 7963 1304 or email ni.media@lantra.co.uk CREDIT FOR PHOTO Robert Wyvill at work EDITORS NOTES • *Lantra AACS LMI report (March 2010) • Lantra is the Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries, working to ensure these businesses access the training, qualifications, skills and knowledge they need. • An independent UK organisation, Lantra works with employers and the UK’s governments to address the skills and productivity needs of approximately 230 businesses (one in every ten UK businesses) in: agriculture; animal care; animal technology; aquaculture; environmental conservation; equine; farriery; fencing; fisheries management; floristry; game and wildlife management; land-based engineering; horticulture, landscape and sports turf; production horticulture; trees and timber and veterinary nursing. • By working together with the sector, Lantra leads research on skills issues and business needs, sets national standards and develops qualifications to meet modern business needs and help businesses grow through skills. • For more information see www.lantra.co.uk.

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