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Save the oceans, save the world

James Cook University’s aquaculture department boasts experts from all over the world, such as Prof Cobcroft (right). PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
James Cook University’s aquaculture department boasts experts from all over the world, such as Prof Cobcroft (right). PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Aquaculture specialists can ensure a sustainable supply of seafood

Imagine a day when Japanese restaurants no longer serve sashimi, and menus no longer feature classic fare such as lobster thermidor or bouillabaisse (French seafood stew).

That could be a reality if sustainable aquaculture is not practised, leaving the world’s oceans slowly being depleted of fish and shellfish.

“If we want to continue to eat high quality seafood, more than half of it will need to come from aquaculture,” says James Cook University (JCU) Singapore’s Associate Professor of aquaculture Jennifer Cobcroft.

According to the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, aquaculture supplies more than 50 per cent of all seafood produced for human consumption globally, and that number is only set to rise in the years to come.

As such, there is a huge demand for graduates with skillsets in aquaculture. Plus, this would complement Singapore’s growing commitment to become a dominant player in the agribusiness industry.

Here is what students can look forward to:

1) It gets you out of the classroom

This is a great course for those who enjoy being outdoors. At JCU Singapore, aquaculture elective subjects such as Feeds and Nutrition, Propagation and Systems Design give students the opportunity for hands-on time in the field.

For instance, they get the opportunity to visit various aquaculture facilities in Singapore for practical fish husbandry sessions.

Aquaculture students even have the option of a 10-day field trip to Vietnam to experience commercial farm systems and practise farming techniques for fish and shrimp.

2) It’s a growing industry

Singapore targets to increase food fish production to 15 per cent of domestic consumption. Today, local farms produce just six per cent of seafood consumed in Singapore.

As such, JCU Singapore is expanding its aquaculture faculty to meet the industry’s rapidly increasing demand for skills training and research and development.

“Aquaculture is the fastest-growing agri-business sector in the world. For industry expansion to be sustainable economically, environmentally and socially, we must have qualified people ready to lead industry innovations,” says Prof Cobcroft.

3) Dozens of career opportunities

Aquaculture-related job positions are not limited to being a fish or kelp farmer.

They include, and are not limited to, being a manager of a production facility, fish health officer, aquatic animal health specialist, feed formulation technologist, and an agri-tech developer.

4) You’ll be learning from the best

JCU’s aquaculture faculty includes some of the best minds in hatchery technology, aquaculture genetics and feed formulation.

Molecular biologist Dr Jose Domingos, nutritionist DrKathelineHua and veterinarian DrGianaBastos Gomez are joining as teaching staff in March.

Alongside Prof Cobcroft and dean of research Prof Dean Jerry, JCU Singapore’s aquaculture faculty is among the most experienced in the region.

5) You’ll save the world

Melodramatic though it sounds, aquaculture research may be the key to the continued survival of the human race, and more importantly, the planet.

The United Nations predicts that the world’s population will hit 9.7 billion by 2050. That’s 9.7 billion mouths to feed, three meals a day, seven days a week.

That is a lot of food — and advancements in aquaculture will help achieve future requirements.

In other words, your degree is integral to the future of our species.

About the programme

Degree Bachelor of Business & Environmental Science (Majoring in Aquaculture)
Duration Two years
Core subjects Business, Environmental Science, Aquaculture and Aquaculture electives
Fees $58,636 (domestic students)/
$61,204 (international students)*

Visit goo.gl/VWyEc4 for more information.

*Subject to change, info correct at time of print