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NAFC fish welfare course goes global. Online learning is enabling the NAFC Marine Centre UHI in Shetland to deliver its Fish Welfare training course to a global market, with students from Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Canada among the more than 200 who have enrolled since the online course was launched.

The new Fish Welfare training course was developed by NAFC’s aquaculture training staff at the request of the aquaculture industry to help them maintain high standards of fish welfare and meet the training and compliance requirements of various certification schemes and codes of practice, including the RSPCA welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon and GLOBALG.A.P.

The course is relevant to all forms of finfish aquaculture and covers a range of topics relevant to the welfare and product quality of farmed fish, including legislation and codes of practice, water quality, husbandry, fish handling and harvesting, and diseases and treatments (including sea lice).

Course lecturer Saro Saravanan explained that “the course was developed in collaboration with the aquaculture industry and we have continued to work with them since it was launched to make sure that it remains relevant to their operations and the changing regulatory and certification requirements that they face. We have also adapted the course to meet the needs of staff working in different sectors of the industry, including hatcheries, marine and freshwater on-growing sites, and live fish transport. Most recently we have started supporting candidates from the aquaponics sector, where fish and plants are grown together in the same system.”

“Online delivery is allowing NAFC to overcome geographical and other barriers to training”, says NAFC’s Head of Aquaculture Training, Stuart Fitzsimmons. “Many of those who sign up for online learning work irregular hours in remote areas and would find it difficult to attend normal college classes. Instead they can study this and other online courses on their smartphone or other internet enabled device at times and places that suit them. Online delivery is also allowing us to offer the training to students outside our traditional catchment area and we have seen a growing number of enrolments from throughout Europe and across the Atlantic.”

The Fish Welfare course is also available as a traditional taught class which NAFC’s aquaculture training staff have delivered to hundreds more students throughout Scotland.

A number of other NAFC aquaculture training courses are also available online including Introductory Fish Farm Containment, and the Technical Apprenticeship in Aquaculture Management. All are delivered via the University of the Highlands and Islands’ virtual learning environment (Blackboard Learn+, which is to be replaced by Brightspace later this year). The Centre plans to launch an online version of its RAS Water Quality Awareness course later in 2019, along with a new CPD course in Aquaculture Management and a new Fish Vaccination course.

Further details of the Fish Welfare course and NAFC’s other aquaculture training courses are available at www.nafc.uhi.ac.uk/aqua