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North Coast Institute’s National Fishing Industry Education Centre (Natfish) has been delivering aquaculture courses by flexibly delivery methods since 1995 to service the growing aquaculture industry. The centre has gained a reputation for excellence in flexible distance delivery. A significant proportion of the successful fish farmers in NSW have been studied at Natfish.

The courses offered by the centre are nationally recognised as part of the Seafood Industry Training Package. “National Training packages have been developed by all Australian industries,” said Lisa Terry, Head Teacher at Natfish. “The Seafood Industry training package has just undergone it’s first major review and our courses are set to be updated again in 2005 to reflect the changes in the training package.”

A training package contains a list of skills or competencies that the industry has identified to be needed by workers at different levels. “The advantage of a training package course is that the qualifications that students receive are recognised across all states. We now have courses available ranging from traineeships at Certificate 2 level through to Certificate IV,” said Ms Terry.

Natfish is well known for its first class aquaculture training offered via distance education and flexible delivery. Attendance at compulsory workshops allows the students to gain hands on experiences in many aspects of the aquaculture industry.

“The aquaculture industry is growing rapidly,” said Ms Terry. “Australian aquaculture is worth about $600 million at the farm gate and is rising, new species and techniques are being trialled all the time. The introduction of the new courses have allowed us to broaden our approach to include many of these new species and techniques. The courses now encompass all aspects of growing freshwater and saltwater fish, prawns and freshwater crayfish in ponds We have also seen a rise in number of trainees that are being employed in the industry and have trainees studying with us from across the state.”

Teachers at the centre have been instrumental in developing the new courses and writing the learning guides that students use. “When we first started teaching aquaculture in 1995 we found that there was so little relevant printed information available that we had to write our own textbooks,” Ms Terry said. “We have continued to produce learning guides which allows students from all over Australia to study with us.”

Natfish also regularly runs short courses in areas such as Recirculation Technology, Hatchery Techniques and Seafood Safety.

For more information on Certificate courses in Aquaculture contact:
National Fishing Industry Education Centre (Natfish)
Ph: 02 66414400 and Fax: 02 66447767
Website:  http://www.northcoasttafe.edu.au/natfish