Most of us probably cast out our lines without giving a whole lot of thought to the fisheries jobs that keep our public waterways stocked and healthy. We might be asked by fisheries management personnel to participate in a creel study or offer input on proposed regulations changes, but there are also fisheries management jobs that involve plenty of work behind the scenes, in state hatcheries and administrative offices.
State Fisheries Management Jobs
Find out about four fisheries jobs that are crucial to maintaining our state fish populations. Precise titles and job responsibilities can vary from state-to-state of course, but this can give you a general idea about fish conservation jobs.
While there are different levels of biological scientists that work for our state agencies, they all conduct fisheries research and collect data from public waterways. Once data is collected from the field, they convert it into metrics that help them monitor and manage our aquatic resources.
For example, biological scientists can determine what the "catch per unit of effort" is for a given body of water. By Florida freshwater fisheries standards, if a scientist determines that a particular lake has a 1 fish per hour catch rate, that's a good rate and the waterway is considered productive for fishing. Aside from studying fish populations, scientists who work in these conservation careers also assess water quality and fish habitat.
The responsibilities of fisheries administrators include the oversight of a region and providing direction to the biological scientists. Specific tasks might include budgeting for projects, ordering of research equipment, and submitting stocking requests.
In addition, fisheries administrators often take calls and respond to emails from the public or media regarding any notable or unusual occurrences in a waterway. For example, if someone notices that fishing has been unusually slow, or that there has been a fish kill, administrators will handle these types of calls and determine how to proceed.
Who helps to ensure that public lakes and ponds stay stocked with plenty of panfish or channel catfish for kid's fishing events? Our state hatchery managers have this important fisheries management job. While the administrators submit orders for the precise waterways that are to be stocked, the hatchery manager has the responsibility of overseeing breeding efforts, hatching, and raising juvenile fish until they are ready to be released.
Some hatcheries, such as the Florida Bass Conservation Center, offer tours. In this case, the hatchery manager may also lead tours of the hatchery and help educate the public about the different species that are produced there.
Fish Health Specialists
Another type of hatchery-based fish conservation jobs is the one of a fish health specialist. This behind-the-scenes position requires an extensive knowledge of fish pathology and prevention. Because successful fisheries management begins with prevention, rather than treatment, they may be involved in the development of hatchery programs and drafting recommendations for meeting short and long-term conservation goals.
Special thanks go out to Eric Johnson, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Freshwater Fisheries Administrator, for providing helpful information about each of these fisheries jobs. Learn more about fisheries management jobs and stocking efforts by attending a fishing event in your state.