In an effort to help teach students about aquaculture, Dan Conner, an aquaculture teacher and member of the board of directors for the Florida Aquaculture Association (FAA), has helped spearhead a certification program.
Conner says he feels this program needs to be available to students due to the popularity of aquaculture in the state. The program also helps aquaculture farmers have more people available for labor at their operations. Conner, who grew up on an aquaculture farm, says unqualified labor is an issue.
To obtain the certification, students must complete high school courses and pass an exam. High school students must take and pass the entire aquaculture 2 class, as well as complete 75 percent of the aquaculture 3 class to be eligible to take the exam. Conner says between these two courses, the students will acquire approximately 300 hours of aquaculture lab time.
Eric Cassiano, an assistant Extension scientist at the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, says attempts are being made to ensure the program is mainly standardized throughout the state. However, some exceptions will be made since different species are grown through aquaculture in different parts of the state.
“Having a general knowledge throughout the state that’s sort of universal is going to be advantageous to projecting this program further and possibly even beyond the state of Florida, to other states as well,” Cassiano says.
Efforts are also being made to improve other pieces of the program, says Cassiano, including the practice test and study guide, which can be found on the FAA’s website.
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