Fish farm worker

fish farmer fish husbandry worker fish farm technician

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would breed and rear fish and shellfish, monitor their water conditions and harvest the stock for sale at market.

You could grow fish such as salmon, trout and halibut for the food industry. Some fish farmers rear other types of fish to stock lakes and rivers for angling or for ornamental ponds.

You would:

  • Breed fish by hatching eggs from adult stock
  • Buy in young fish and rear them
  • Feed fish by hand or by fill hoppers that feed them automatically
  • Monitor the health of fish
  • Grade fish or shellfish by size and move them to bigger tanks or other holding units
  • Make regular checks on water temperature and oxygen content
  • Clean filters and screens that trap leaves and other debris
  • Treat water before releasing it back into the river
  • Harvest fish when ready for sale
  • Sell fish to the public and/or trade customers
  • Maintain buildings, equipment and fish habitats

Fish farms are generally located in lochs and in the sea off the coast so you’d need to be able to swim.

Many fish farms only have a few staff so managers often do many of the above tasks, as well as supervising fish farm workers. Some fish farms also provide facilities for anglers.

Working conditions


As fish farms operate seven days a week, your hours may include early mornings, evenings and weekends, perhaps on a rota system. You will normally be expected to work 5 days out of 7 and will be paid overtime for hours worked beyond that.


Fish farms are often in isolated areas. You would work outdoors in all weather conditions, and the job could be physically demanding at times.

UK employment status



Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Working with your hands
  • Using computers
  • Planning and organising

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


Qualifications at SCQF level 4/5 are recommended to get into this role. Entry to the job can be competitive.

Once in the job you can gain relevant Aquaculture or Maritime qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Aquaculture (SCQF level 5-7) or a Diploma in Maritime Studies (SCQF level 5).

If you are interested in gaining additional qualifications, it is possible to study an HNC in Fish Farming (SCQF 7) or a Degree in Aquaculture (SCQF 10).

Useful subjects

  • Maths
  • English
  • Science subjects
  • Practical technologies
  • Health and food technologies

Helpful to have

  • A good swimming standard
  • Previous work experience with animals
  • A driving licence
  • An awareness of health and safety precautions

Skills for Work Maritime Skills (SCQF level 5) may be a helpful introduction to the industry.