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Fisheries and Aquaculture

Program Highlights

Degree Options

Fisheries and Wildlife Technology, Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

Fisheries and Aquaculture, Bachelor of Technology (BS)


Aquaculture is the fastest growing segment of the agriculture industry. This rapidly changing and expanding field is on the cutting edge of technology. With the demand of food fishes on the rise, aquaculture provides quality fish for public consumption, while at the same time reducing over-fishing of the native species found in our country’s rivers, lakes and oceans. As a result, a demand has been created for technicians skilled in operating fish hatcheries and biologists trained in fisheries resource management.

SUNY Cobleskill’s Fisheries and Aquaculture program gives students a hands-on experience raising salmon, trout, arctic char, and diverse fisheries management field experiences. Students work in one of the largest and most diverse academic aquaculture facilities in the Northeast, including a 40,000- gallon coldwater hatchery, quarantine hatchery, warm water fish hatchery and earthen grow out ponds.

Students receive hands-on training, along with the opportunity for multiple field-based courses. As an example, Fisheries Techniques is a course that covers a wide range of laboratory and field techniques relating to chemical, physical and biological sampling of fish and their habitat. Students will be provided with first-hand experience in small boat operation, care and handling of live fish, capture and observational techniques, sonar, biotelemetry, hydroacoustics, tagging and marking, aging, habitat and water quality measurement, surveys and collections, and analytical equipment maintenance.

Sample courses include:

  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Terrestrial Ecology
  • Chemistry
  • Fisheries Techniques
  • Fisheries Science
  • Natural History of Vertebrates
  • Natural Resource Conservation
  • Wildlife Law Enforcement
  • Wildlife Management
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Woody Plant Materials

Upper Level Courses:

  • Marine Ecology
  • Environmental Law & Regulation
  • Aquaculture Techniques
  • Fish Nutrition
  • Production Aqua/Mariculture
  • Hatchery Techniques
  • Aquaculture Engineering
  • Wetlands Assessment & Delineation
  • Aquatic & Marine Resource Management
  • Fish Hatchery Management
  • Pond Management

Graduates of the Fisheries and Aquaculture program will be fully prepared for technician, culturist or manager positions, or for entry-level biologist positions with state, federal and private organizations including:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts
  • Private consulting firms

Graduate degrees (M.S. or PhD) are often required for more advanced jobs in the fisheries profession, and students graduating with a SUNY Cobleskill degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture will have the necessary qualifications to pursue graduate studies at other institutions.

FWES Job Board

Students are highly encouraged to expand their real-world experiences by spending their summer break in seasonal positions with field-relevant organizations around the country. Our faculty and Center for Career Development is able to help students find internship positions to match their career goals.

Because we work closely with the NYSDEC, each of the nine regional offices opens up two internship positions every summer that are exclusively available for SUNY Cobleskill students to apply.

Our program provides students with access to a full complement of modern technology and resources for studying fisheries as well as aquaculture. This includes:

  • Electrofishing boats
  • Electrofishing backpacks
  • Jon boats
  • Multiple seine nets
  • Water quality monitoring equipment
  • Radio telemetry equipment

Diverse teaching collections including:

  • Freshwater/Marine Fish
  • Freshwater/Marine/Terrestrial Invertebrates
  • Freshwater/Wetland/Marine Plants and Algae/Plankton and other Microorganisms

Our extensive, on-campus aquaculture facilities include:

  • An indoor 40,000-gallon recirculating cold-water hatchery
  • Warm-water and shellfish hatcheries
  • Endangered species and tropical ornamental hatcheries
  • Experimental earthen ponds and high-tunnel greenhouse ponds
Diverse study abroad opportunities are available annually to students in the Fisheries and Aquaculture program. Recent trips have been to Peru, the Galapagos Islands, Panama and South Africa 

Our Senior Capstone project in Fisheries Research begins in the spring semester of a student’s junior year. Each student undertakes a project, focused on fisheries or aquaculture that will require them to engage in original research to answer a specific question they have formulated.

Students ultimately present their research via poster or oral presentation, then either get their work published or receive a grant. As testament to their outstanding efforts, many of our students have won awards for their entries at a number of professional conferences.

The wide variety of clubs that students can join include the American Fisheries Society, Trout Unlimited, Bass Fishing Team, Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Wildlife Society. Many of these clubs make it possible for students to attend state and national conferences where they can meet with professionals in the field and begin to establish a network of valuable contacts.

Graduate degrees (M.S. or PhD) are often required for more advanced jobs in the fisheries profession, and students graduating with a SUNY Cobleskill degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture will have the necessary qualifications to pursue graduate studies at other institutions.

While our students are free to pursue any graduate opportunities they choose, it’s worth noting that our Fisheries and Aquaculture program enjoys an articulation agreement with SUNY Oneonta for both their Lake Management and Biology Master’s Degree programs. 

Mark Cornwell
Department Chair, Associate Professor

Brent Lehman
Hatchery Manager


Samantha Carey
Instructional Support Assistant