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Maine Aquaculture Association releases standards for aquaculture workforce skills and training

October 19, 2021  By RAStech Editorial Staff

Maine Aquaculture Association releases workforce training and skill standards for occupations related to marine shellfish and finfish. Photo: Maine Aquaculture Association

The Maine Aquaculture Association has released the Maine Aquaculture Occupational Standards, which specify the current workforce skills and training necessary in Maine’s aquaculture sector. Altogether, four standards have been released, which focus on occupations related to: marine shellfish and sea vegetables; marine finfish; land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS); and land-based shellfish hatcheries.

The Maine Shellfish Aquaculture Career Pathways map, a supplementary document, has also been released and designed to provide an overview of the most common job types, entry points, and career pathway opportunities in Maine’s current shellfish aquaculture sector.

Completed in collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Educate Maine, and support from FocusMaine, the occupational standards intend to:

  1. Present education and training providers with clear and comprehensive understanding of specific technical skills and knowledge that are critical for the most common careers in the sector
  2. Standardize workforce training in the state
  3. Establish an industry-led process to align training with workforce needs as the industry, and workforce needs, evolve

“Based on a strong collaboration between the farmers and the educational community, these standards will help ensure that Maine aquaculture businesses have the skills and training needed to compete in a global market,” noted Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association.

The 2020 Maine Aquaculture Workforce Development Strategy identified occupational standards to inform and standardize aquaculture training as a pillar of its recommendations. These standards, which are built on top of the findings included in the workforce development strategy, are based on extensive one-on-one interviews with aquaculture businesses and educational institutions across Maine.

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