Fisheries specialists study fish populations to improve disease control, maintain habitat quality, and develop conservation methods and safe industry practices. They often specialize in fish biology, habitat management, or population dynamics. A large part of the job involves working to consult with and educate, the public on a variety of environmental issues that affect agriculture, forestry, and watersheds.
Imagine you are standing in shallow salt water, looking out over the water just off the coast of Western Canada. This area has recently been polluted by a nearby plant, and you have been working at determining how the pollutants have affected the fish and their habitats. You have been conducting numerous assessments on the fish populations and habitats, and will report on the impact of the environmental changes, the human activities that have caused it, and how this event may be avoided in the future.
As a fisheries specialist, you conduct research projects, write and implement programs to monitor fish, and participate in educating the public on environmental issues. You have a vast understanding of a variety of fish types, the distribution of the fish, and the importance of the species and their habitats. Not only this, but you have extensive knowledge of water, oxygen, fish diseases, fish food, fish transportation, and the handling of fish. You are also capable of operating the equipment used in fish management.
Your work is not confined to the office or the field. You spend some days inside researching or writing reports, and some days outside testing water levels or transporting fish. Humans are one of the largest threats to fish populations. You go home every day feeling as though you have contributed to saving a very important species.
Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a fisheries specialist:
Fisheries specialists work in a variety of locations, including, but not limited to:
In the office:
In the field:
In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as a fisheries specialist is an undergraduate degree. For consulting positions, a Master’s degree is recommended. The following post-secondary programs are most applicable to a career in this field:
It is required that practitioners working as fisheries specialists register with their provincial or territorial professional biology association.
If you are a high school student considering a career as an environmental manager, you should have a strong interest in: