Mr Frederico Jose D’Almeida is one step closer to his dream job in the aquaculture industry
By Peh Yi Wen
October 23, 2019
While the rest of his peers devote hours daily to their social media accounts, Mr Frederico Jose D’Almeida chooses to invest his time in maintaining a saltwater aquarium. Due to the sensitivity of the corals and marine life, he often needs to keep the water temperature and its chemical levels in check.
His love for the big blue sea started when he was seven or nine. At that age, he would find any opportunity to spend hours at the beach or go fishing, hauling groupers, sea bass and even large crabs with bamboo crab nets and fishing lines. In secondary school, he would take the initiative to plan trips to intertidal areas at Changi Beach and the Southern Islands with his friends just to see marine creatures during low tides.
As he grew, so did his passion. He would pore over books on marine life at the library, as well as trawl through information on the Internet, which gave him immediate answers to the burning questions he had about the topic. During this process, he became exposed to threats facing the natural environment and grew more aware about the need to mind his carbon footprint to save the planet.
On top of learning how to recycle items like plastic bags, bottles and milk cartons to reduce waste pollution, the 24-year-old is determined to encourage those around him to do the same. “I try my best to educate people about our natural heritage, what’s left of it and why it is worth protecting,” he says.
Motivated to make a real and significant impact in preserving local marine biodiversity, Mr D’Almeida decided to further his education to equip himself with the necessary skills and knowledge to do so.
When he was applying to polytechnic, there were no marine sciences-related courses to choose from. Three years later, the opportunity finally arrived. After graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic in 2016 with a diploma in landscape design and horticulture, he chose to pursue a Bachelor of Business and Environmental Science, majoring in aquaculture, at the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU) — the only university in Singapore to offer his dream degree.
Currently in his first semester of the two-year full-time course, Mr D’Almeida finds the mandatory business modules challenging as they are not his strong suit. “I’m looking forward to taking modules on marine biology and aquaculture, especially the one on sustainable aquaculture as I’m keen to learn about practising it in an environmentally friendly manner,” he says.
Transitioning to the intensive curriculum hasn’t been easy, but he remains appreciative of the holistic education that JCU offers beyond his specialisation. Elective modules, which cover topics like people management, expose him to practical know-hows that will come in useful when he joins the workforce.
With the theoretical teachings and practical skills picked up during this degree programme, Mr D’Almeida hopes to kickstart a career in aquaculture or marine conservation. “In five years, I hope to be pursuing my passion for preserving marine life in one way or another.”