Nova Scotia Community College – Sea Farm Operations


Program Summary

Sea Farming is a significant economic driver for rural and coastal communities in Nova Scotia. With the value of seafood exports expected to double by 2024, a skilled workforce is needed to meet labour demands within the aquaculture sector.

Specific topics include fish biology and husbandry, fish health and welfare, how to care for sea farmed species both land-based operations and in sea-based environments, the aquaculture production cycle, fish feeding and nutrition regimens, aquaculture business fundamentals, site maintenance regulations, workplace, and marine safety.

Field experience (work placement) is a mandatory credit course completed at the end of your program. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom. Shellfish, finfish, and sea-plant operations will be covered through the courses in this program to provide training on a wide range of species that are farmed within Canada.

Graduates can apply their skills to Sea Farm operations in coastal Nova Scotia, nationally and internationally, and qualify for many entry-level positions at aquaculture facilities.

Admission Requirements

High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country.

Program Length

This is a 19-week blended program. 13 weeks takes place on-line, 2 weeks takes place in-person at the Shelburne Campus, and 4 weeks at a work placement in land-based operations and in marine-based operations. Learners get the skills needed to support all types of sea farm operations.

Equity and Diversity

NSCC’s Human Rights and Equity Services is committed to fostering an environment that’s welcoming and inclusive to our NSCC community and others. The team leads and supports various educational and awareness activities throughout the year that highlight the value and importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and the promotion of a respectful working and learning environment.

Industry Partners

The sea farm industry is experiencing sustained growth in the province of Nova Scotia. It’s anticipated that aquaculture, and supporting industries, will be a driver of economic growth in the province. This new program has been developed in partnership with industry, and industry representatives are directly involved in your hands-on training at NSCC.

Courses are designed to give you a well-rounded experience that parallels industry workplaces.
You have opportunities to collaborate with the Oceans Technology program on applied research projects involving the application of new technologies in aquaculture, such as robotics, automation, environmental health, fish health and feeding patterns.

Project Highlights

  1. A content-condensed online program was considered more accessible and convenient for people located in coastal and rural communities.
  2. No daily commute during wintertime is a bonus for students.
  3. Providing the seafood labour market with trained workers, not only got them trained to start their careers but also has made them eligible to advance within the companies quite quickly.
  4. The pandemic limited the program with regards to allowing students to go on field trips and learn more about the industry in situ.
  5. In 2022 the faculty was able to arrange one field trip 40 minutes from Shelburne campus, which students clearly enjoyed and wished they had had more opportunities like that one.

Work placements

  1. Matthew (2021) – Pronova Marine Products (technician)
  2. Jack (2021) – Sustainable Blue (technician)
  3. Jason (2021) – Cooke Aquaculture (technician) and Sustainable Blue (supervisor)
  4. Ryan (2021) – North River Fish Farm
  5. Kelly (2022) – North River Fish Farm and Sober Island Oysters (technician)
  6. Carl (2022) – Shellfish hatchery and Premium Seafoods (seaweed farming) (technician)
  7. Hansie (2022) – Silver Creek Aquaculture (technician)


Hired alumni

  1. 60% of the students above were hired upon program completion by the same company.



  1. One of our alumni has started his own company that focuses on shellfish farming (sea scallops) in Cape Breton, NS. (See the video attached to this doc).


Ryan – “Attending the aquaculture course that NSCC provides has been a very eye-opening and educational experience from the very first class. The course provides great insight into the aquaculture industry in Nova Scotia as a whole and provides a great outlook on this fast-paced sector. The level of experience in the aquaculture industry shown by the professors has been outstanding and extremely helpful in understanding the inner workings of the industry as well as future operations. I feel this course provides all the necessary information and training I need for a successful aquaculture career in Nova Scotia.”


Jason – “This course has opened my eyes to the future of the aquaculture and fisheries industries, giving me an appreciation and knowledge that I was not expecting to receive. Our professor has not only got the talent and knowledge required but has gone above beyond to further our experience and connect with all students. I have received more from this course than I could have ever thought possible. If you have a passion for the ocean, fisheries, aquaculture, conservation, wildlife, and/or ocean technology then this is the course for you.”

Jack – “This course went above expectations, allowing me to greatly invest into my future in the ever-growing industry of aquaculture. The teacher has been extremely helpful in every way possible and has a great understanding of all topics. All the modules were well put together and presented in a structured, easy-to-follow manner, with the teacher always making sure we understood every detail before moving on to the next. All in all, this course was highly informative and great for a career in the vast aquaculture industry.”