Fish and Seafood Plant Workers

Occupation:Fish and Seafood Plant Workers
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

This group includes fish and seafood plant machine operators who set up and operate machinery to process and package fish and seafood products, and fish and seafood plant cutters and cleaners who cut, trim and clean fish or seafood by hand. Fish and seafood plant workers are employed in fish and seafood processing plants.

Job duties:
Fish and seafood plant machine operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Set up and operate machines to clean, cut, cook, smoke, brine, dehydrate, or otherwise process fish or seafood products.
  • Set up and operate machines to can, bag, box or otherwise package fish and seafood products.
  • Check products and packaging for defects and to ensure conformance to company standards and perform corrective machine adjustments as required.
  • Record production information such as quantity, weight, date and type of products packaged.
Fish and seafood plant cutters and cleaners perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Cut, clean and trim fish or seafood prior to marketing or further processing.
  • Scrape away scales, cut fish, separate fillets and remove scrap parts using knife.
  • Check fish fillets to determine optimal number and size of fillet sections, cut sections according to specifications and place in container for weighing.
  • Disjoint and remove meat from lobsters or other crustaceans preparatory to canning or further processing.
Sample job titles:
  • fish cleaner and cutter - fish processing
  • fish cutting machine operator - fish processing
  • fish plant worker
  • fish processor
  • lobster processor - fish processing
  • seafood preparer - fish and seafood processing

To work in these jobs, you should be responsible, alert, and in good physical health. Coordination, agility, and a mechanical aptitude are important. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements:
  • Some secondary school education may be required.
  • On-the-job training is required.
Other considerations:

Shift work may be typical for many of these jobs. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Fish and Seafood Plant Workers may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically temporary positions (such as a term, contract, or casual work). With employment conditions being seasonal in nature, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year are fairly common.

The median employment income for 12% of Fish and Seafood Plant Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $29,584. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Fish and Seafood Plant Workers875Moderate growth60Moderate
Minimum: $11.40
Median: $13.50
Maximum: $21.00
Minimum: $2,186
Median: $12,539
Maximum: $36,046
Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities15,275Weak growth1,275Moderate
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $18.75
Maximum: $30.00
Minimum: $6,056
Median: $30,111
Maximum: $70,518
Fish and Seafood Plant WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
Percent employed full-time70%87%
Percent self-employed0%3%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentFish and Seafood Plant WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton17%$15,01013%$32,974
Annapolis Valley4%N/A13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeFish and Seafood Plant WorkersCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4545
GenderFish and Seafood Plant WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
EducationFish and Seafood Plant WorkersCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school41.3%x22.9%$21,011
High school35.3%x38.1%$28,358
Trades certificate6.0%x12.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma14.7%x20.3%$36,968
University certificate or diplomaxx1.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree1.6%x4.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx0.3%$55,581
Master's degree0.8%x0.5%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.1%N/A
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council
38B John St, Suite 1
Yarmouth, NS B5A 3H2
Tel: (902) 742-6167
Fax: (902) 742-8391
Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association
38 - B John Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 3H2
Tel: (902) 742-6168
Fax: (902) 742-8391

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.