What is an Ichthyologist?

An Ichthyologist is a zoologist who studies fish. 

Their work schedule is very varied which means they are usually never bored and are passionate about their job. 

Their work may include:

  • Field studies
  • Laboratory work
  • Research
  • Writing and presenting reports
  • Lecturing
  • Attending international and local conferences

Ichthyologists may specialise in 5 different areas:

  • Aquaculture: fish farming and management – See under Aquaculturist on our website for more details
  • Fisheries Science: The study and management of fish resources
  • Conservation: The preservation of natural fish populations
  • Taxonomy:  Specialising in working with fish displays in museums.  See under ‘Taxidermist’ on our website for more details
  • Education:  Lecturing and teaching

What does an Ichthyologist do?

  • takes on-site samples from the ocean or fresh water areas
  • tests the water levels and filtration systems
  • checks for diseases
  • monitors breeding patterns
  • medicates fish
  • keeps records
  • manages and transports fish
  • teaches
  • researches, studies fish
  • does laboratory studies
  • makes models
  • writes reports
  • attends conferences and shares knowledge

Are you . . . ?

  • passionate about fish and marine life?
  • a scientist at heart?
  • able to work on your own?
  • detail orientated?
  • observant?
  • analytical?
  • interested in conservation?

How do I become an Ichthylogist?

One must start with a Bachelor of Science degree with Zoology as a major subject which can be done at most universities.  See under Zoologist on our website for more details.

Postgraduate study specialising in Ichthyology, Fisheries Science or Aquaculture is strongly recommended.  Rhodes University is the only university in South Africa to offer degrees in this field.

A Senior Certificate with matric exemption is necessary for training at a university. The entry requirements to enrol for a B.Sc. degree differ from one university to the other. 

Compulsory school subjects: Mathematics and Physical Science on the higher grade with at least a D symbol for both subjects
Recommended school subjects:  Biology


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Game Ranger … or … Animal Behaviourist

Is becoming an Ichthyologist the right career choice for me?