Aquaculture is defined as the farming and husbandry of aquatic organisms. In practice aquaculture or mariculture (saltwater aquaculture) involves commercially growing seafood for consumers. It also involves the sciences of natural resource management and enhancement, collection methods, aquarium technology, facility construction and maintenance, and biotechnology production from marine organisms.
Carteret Community College offers the Aquaculture Technology program and emphasizes applied marine sciences and mariculture. The focus of the program is on salt-water species like oysters, clams, soft-shell crabs, and marine finfish like flounder, drum and bait minnows but some freshwater aquaculture species are also covered.
Students learn hands-on skills through the Aquaculture Practicum series. Skills such as water quality testing, system construction and maintenance, species collection methods and treatments, feeding and breeding technology are part of the practicums. Students also work with program partners in the industry in practicums and in the cooperative work experience course. Partners include university and government marine sciences laboratories, fishery management agencies, public aquariums, environmental non-governmental organizations, as well as commercial aquatic businesses. The CCC facility is a 5,000 square ft. state-of-the-art showcase for applied marine science, aquatic hatchery and marine biotechnology work.
Graduates of the program may find employment on private farms and government hatcheries or at public aquariums. They may also start new businesses in fish, shellfish, or aquatic plant farming, aquatic management services, home/office aquarium or water gardening services. Graduates with the AAS in Aquaculture Technology from CCC can pursue Bachelor's degrees through 2+2 articulations with UNCW and ECU.