Aquaculture North America

Hands-on learning remains strong despite pandemic

May 3, 2021
By Monica Dick

Brought to you by Fleming College

Fleming College students feeding fish in this file photo. The school’s Aquaculture Co-op program has moved to a hybrid delivery format

Despite barriers to in-person learning brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fleming College’s Aquaculture Co-op program has quickly adapted – and is still providing the high-quality education it’s known for.

The three-semester, graduate certificate program has moved to a hybrid delivery format. Faculty members host online lectures in combination with in-person labs in the College’s Frost Campus Hatchery. These labs have operated with groups of 10 or fewer in compliance with all safety protocols. 

“Fleming has done a great job in enacting policies and procedures to ensure the safety of its staff and students and minimize the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring students receive the quality of education they signed up for,” says Jon Carter, coordinator of the Aquaculture Co-op program. 

“With the restriction on travel, we have switched to conducting a lot of the experiences received on field trips to in-house.”  


This includes on-site spawning for the first time in a decade, says Carter. Typically, students would take part in spawning with the program’s industry partners. However, this year faculty and staff worked to provide an on-campus experience.

“We are committed to giving the students the hands-on skills this program is known for.”

Carter added that Fleming has further used the time to make upgrades to the hatchery, including the installation of a process logic controller system that monitors flows, dissolved oxygen and temperature in the tanks. The program also invested in new inventory software and six new fiberglass tanks to replace existing ones that had reached end-of-life.

“These upgrades will introduce the students to the technology they will find in the industry,” says Carter

Fleming College’s Aquaculture program includes an eight-week paid co-op, which provides real-world, real-work experience and the opportunity to make valuable connections with industry employers. It is the only post-graduate program of its kind in Ontario. 

For more information, visit the Fleming College website.

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