Careers in Blue Pastures Series

December 15, 2023

From Farm Vet to Fish Vet- Alison Brough

I’m from an agricultural background, and after graduating from The University of Liverpool in 2017, I pursued my dream and began my career working in farm practice in Dumfries and Galloway.

Fast forward five years and I was ready for a new challenge, and open-minded to what that could be. When I saw a job advert for a fish vet at Scottish Sea Farms (SSF)- the second largest producer of farmed Atlantic Salmon in Scotland, I was naturally curious. We had always joked about fish vets at university, and all I had ever heard were negative things about salmon farming. I visited sites and met with staff at SSF before then applying for the role to join their in-house veterinary team. Almost two years later, I’m pleased to report that I’m delighted I took the leap into Aquaculture.

I’m often asked whether I retrained, or gained any additional qualifications when I moved from terrestrial veterinary work to the world of fish- I did not. Although there are many brilliant qualifications available to those interested in aquatic careers- I have been well supported by my boss and colleagues in my new role and have enjoyed learning whilst on the job.

There is no such thing as a typical day in my role, and that’s mostly why I enjoy it- the variety of the work that it entails. One week I could be over seeing treatments, the next doing clinical/diagnostic investigations, assisting with ultrasonography of broodstock, representing aquaculture in veterinary policy making, providing fish health training to site staff or collaborating in research and development projects- the list goes on!

My advice to anyone considering a career in aquaculture would be to spend as much time as you can on site with the fish and the farmers, attend as many networking events as you can, and ask plenty of questions whilst at both because this is how you will learn the most.