ACS DIstance Education

Detailed information

Learn and gain skills in salt water aquaculture

- Deals with the farming of salt water species of fish, shellfish, seaweed and other marine products
- Learn to plan and manage the farming of a wide variety of marine life
- Self paced study, expert tutors, start anytime, 100 hours of learning to give you a sound foundation in marine aquaculture.

The term “Mariculture” refers to a sub-category of Aquaculture that deals specifically with Marine Aquaculture.

Any business, and fish farms are one of them, need to be started with a decision that has considered the financial aspects closely. How much is needed to be started, what will be the return and how long will it take to break even, what are the annual operating costs, etc. The economics of production can be very variable depending on the species to be farmed, the land and environment where it is to be developed, labour and materials costs, and other business running costs (administration, taxes, etc).
Mariculture is a complicated business and anyone who intends entering it should undertake extensive research on the topic. It requires a large investment of time and money over a period of years. By conducting a feasibility study before starting a farming venture, you can determine how much it will cost to operate a farm and if the right conditions for growing a particular species are available.

Given the high start-up costs, most successful mariculture operations target high-value fish, such as ornamental fish, as well as food fish, such as red snapper, salmon, and eels. Shellfish mariculture has a broader product range including clams, oysters, shrimp, scallops, and crabs. Algae are often produced with finfish or shellfish to provide a food source for the primary product.

A major cause of failure in any aquaculture or mariculture operation is poor marketing. In mariculture, farmers are competing with wild-caught commercial species. This can be beneficial, given wild stocks are declining and seasonal availability can produce supply shortages that a producer can fill if he or she can arrange harvests for the times of shortages. However, if wild catches are plentiful, the producer may not be able to sell the product at a price that covers costs.

Since supplies from capture fisheries are unlikely to increase in the coming decades and the world population is currently over six billion and growing, aquaculture producers will have a significant role in producing much needed animal protein to feed future generations. Due to freshwater scarcity in many areas of the world, mariculture is expected to be the future of aquaculture. Where this occurs will depend upon:

- the availability of natural resources to support production,
- availability of seed stock
- access to feeds and production technology (processing facilities)
- access to equipment and supplies such as boats, farm platforms, SCUBA gear etc
- access to markets
- access to health management, consultants, and technical services (i.e. grafting technicians for oysters) services
- a supportive regulatory environment, and
- Public acceptance of the environmental impacts that inevitably accompany any food-producing endeavour.
Method:Distance learning
Duration:100 Hour

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Course program

Lesson Structure

There are 11 lessons in this course:

Aquaculture Production Systems
What is Mariculture
Purposes of mariculture
Classification of culture systems
Extensive production (Ep)
Intensive production (Ip)
Classifications based on system input
Open systems (off-shore and near-shore)
Semi-closed systems
Closed systems (on shore)
Common culture method for each marine category
Cage culture
Cage design: Floating flexible, floating rigid, semi-submersible and submersible
Hanging Culture: Raft and suspended trays
Long-line culture
Vertical or rack culture
Bottom culture: Bottom sowing and cultch lines
Stone, stake culture, net and umbrella culture
Semi-enclosed: flow through tanks
Closed Systems (CAS): Recirculating, raceways, and inland ponds
Starting a Marine Aquaculture (Mariculture) Business
Economics of establishing and running a farm
The need for a feasibility study
Economic analysis
Requisites for establishing a business
Factors to consider
Industry competition
Availability of leased and quotas
Economy of scale
Site selection and water quality
Properties of salt water
Water quality management
Environmental impacts.
Food chain problems
Using wild broodstock
Nutrient pollution
Chemical pollution
Spreading pathogens
Habitat effects
Managing environmental impacts
Improving the genetic quality of fish
Choosing a Species
Choosing a marketable species
What information is available?
Understand your competition before selecting a species
Common mariculture species
Selection criteria
Water resource
Scale of operation
Market demand and access
Availability of animals
Risk considerations
Product markets
Product, price and promotion
Industry overview
Types of mariculture
Broodstock/seed supply
Commonly cultured species
Atlantic salmon
Steelhead Salmon (Saltwater rainbow trout)
Yellowtail (Japanese Amberjack)
Sea Bass
Gilt-head sea bream
Water quality management
Industry overview
Types of mariculture
Broodstock/seed supply
Commonly cultivated species
Penaeid shrimp (prawn)
Graspid Crabs
Molluscs and Echinoderms
Industry overview - molluscs
Types of bivalve culture
Broodstock/seed supply
Cultured mussels
Giant clams
Industry overview - echinoderms
Types of mariculture
Breedstock/seed supply
Commonly cultivated species
Sea Urchins
Sea cucumbers
Seaweeds and Aquatic Algae
Industry overview
Types of mariculture
Broodstock/seed supply
Land-based cultivation systems
Sea cultivation
Farming methods
Vegetative cultivation
Cultivation involving a reproductive cycle
Commonly cultivated species
Laminaria japonica
Porphyra sp.
Undaria sp.
Eucheuma seaweed
Pharmaceutical value of marine organisms
Examples of species used in marine biotechnology
Sea urchin
Sea cucumber
Marine sponges
Seaweeds (algae)
Diet Formulation and feeding
Feeding strategies
Nil input
Water fertilisation
Supplementary feeding
Complete diet feeding
Fish feed
Feeding and feed components
Environmental problems associated with fish feeding
Mycotoxins in feeds
Managing mycotoxins in prepared feeds
Health Management – Diseases and Parasites
Causes of disease
Health management and mitigation strategies
Treatment of diseases and parasites
General principles
Common signs that fish are unhealthy
Common diseases of finfish
Emerging pathogens
Common diseases of crustaceans
Common diseases of bivalves (molluscs)
Harvest and Post Harvest Handling
Examples of product forms
Harvest/post harvest handling of selected species

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Course location

ACS DIstance Education

ACS Distance Education is a distance learning college offering over 600 courses to learn while you earn. Study horticulture, psychology, creative writing, agriculture, marketing and much more.

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