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Fish Hatchery Supervisor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 20, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a fish hatchery supervisor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and employment growth projections to find out if this is the career for you.

In addition to various administrative duties, such as scheduling and budgeting, a fish hatchery supervisor can be responsible for maintenance and repairs as well as water treatment. Some supervisor positions require about three years of work experience at a fish hatchery and a high school diploma. A postsecondary education is not required; however, related biology or agricultural science coursework could trump work experience when trying to get a foot in the door.

Essential Information

Fish hatchery supervisors manage everything from finance to fish health for facilities that raise and farm fish. While supervisor positions often require previous fish hatchery experience, postsecondary education may substitute for work experience. Many associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available in areas such as aquaculture or fisheries management.

Required Education High school diploma or GED certificate, plus hatchery work experience OR associate's or bachelor's degree
Licensure Commercial driver's license (CDL) sometimes needed
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -1% decline for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers
Median Salary (2018)* $67,950 for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Description of a Fish Hatchery Supervisor

Fish hatchery supervisors oversee the daily operations of one or more hatcheries, including monitoring fish production, staff activities and finances. Those who work for state governments may also help influence policies and work with other government agencies and private groups on fish production issues.

Job Duties of a Fish Hatchery Supervisor

Supervisors at fish hatcheries may hire and train employees, assign tasks, manage work schedules and evaluate performances. Other duties include budgeting for materials and supplies, overseeing vendor contracts and leases, keeping costs down and preparing reports.

Fish hatchery supervisors may also have fish production duties, such as repairing and maintaining equipment, diagnosing and treating disease, trapping and distributing fish, inspecting facilities, using chemicals to treat water, consulting on new hatchery plans and monitoring spawning. They may also conduct tours and educate the public.

Job Requirements for Fish Hatchery Supervisors

According to a November 2014 posting about state government jobs in Idaho, fish hatchery supervisors are required to have at least three years of relevant work experience in fish hatchery operations. Previous management experience may also be required. Fish hatchery supervisors may need to obtain a commercial driver's license.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes fish hatchery supervisors in the larger category of ranchers, farmers and agricultural managers. The larger group was expected to see a decline in employment opportunities between 2018 and 2028. This was due to productivity improvements and a consolidation of ownership. The mean salary earned by agricultural managers, ranchers and farmers was $79,940, the BLS reported in May 2018.

Education Requirements for Fish Hatchery Supervisors

Many employers have no postsecondary education requirements for fish hatchery supervisors, but a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Relevant college-level coursework in the biological sciences - such as aquaculture or fisheries management - may be substituted for work experience.

Many colleges and universities offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in these fields. Some programs may include internships. Their curriculum often includes coursework in fisheries conservation, fish biology, water quality management, ecology, fish health, aquaculture production, fish hatchery methods and fish toxicology.

A supervisor at a fish hatchery needs leadership and communication skills in order to perform job duties that could include training and overseeing staff, contacting vendors about supplies and contracts and educating the public about hatchery operations. Some of the postsecondary coursework that could be useful when entering this field includes aquaculture production, fish toxicology and fish biology. The BLS reports that the decade of 2018-2028 will see a slight decline in new jobs for a broad range of farmers and agricultural managers, which includes fish hatchery supervisors.

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