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Marine operatives work in the production of fish and shellfish farmed at sea. Offshore fish farms produce and rear fish in the sea for its eventual sale to the food market. Marine operatives are responsible for rearing fish to a good size and health and ensuring high productivity, whilst also maintaining standards of health and safety on the site.
The main type of fish that marine operatives are likely to farm is salmon, particularly for large salmon farming companies. Atlantic cod, halibut and sea trout are also farmed at sea, as well as shellfish farmed using open systems.
Marine operatives are responsible for monitoring the health and welfare of the fish that are being reared. This involves feeding fish, checking them regularly and working to prevent diseases. Other duties include site maintenance, net-changing and checking the boats and equipment to ensure health and safety regulations are adhered to.
Marine operatives need to know more than just the basic principles of sea fish farming and will know about the fish themselves, as they must inspect, sample and grade the fish according to size and type. They may need to move fish into different enclosures where necessary and harvest them, if required. Most operatives will also have experience in boat-handling.
Sustainable fishing has become a subject of growing importance in consumer society, so all fish farmers must be environmentally aware and take care to meet regulations. Marine operatives must ensure that the salmon, or other sea fish that they are responsible for, are cared for according to animal welfare laws.
Marine operatives often have to work as part of a small team, so teamwork and reliability are valued qualities. With more experience and applicable qualifications, marine operatives can become marine site managers, who organise teams and take on a more supervisory role.