Labourers in Fish and Seafood Processing

Occupation:Labourers in Fish and Seafood Processing
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

Labourers in this group perform clean-up, packaging, material handling and other elemental activities related to fish and seafood processing. They are employed in fish and seafood processing and packaging plants.

Job duties:
Labourers in fish and seafood processing perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Unload fish and shellfish from fishing vessels and transport them by hand or forklift truck to work area in fish processing plant.
  • Immerse fresh fish fillets in brine solution to condition them for wrapping or freezing.
  • Weigh fish or shellfish, record weight and pack fish in ice.
  • Sort fish according to species, weight and destination.
  • Clean work areas and equipment.
  • Transport supplies and packaging materials throughout plant and storage area manually or with powered equipment.
  • Measure and dump ingredients into hoppers of mixing and grinding machines.
Sample job titles:
  • cannery labourer - fish processing
  • fish packer - fish processing
  • fish plant labourer
  • fish processing labourer
  • shellfish labourer
  • shellfish packer - fish processing
  • shellfish processing labourer

To work in these jobs, you should have good physical health. 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.
Other considerations:

Although work patterns vary according to the employer's business and the type of work done, work in these jobs is generally seasonal. Generally, this work is carried out in shifts at various hours of the day or on a part-time basis. Progression to other occupations in the fish processing industry 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. Labourers in Fish and Seafood Processing 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. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 14% of Labourers in Fish and Seafood Processing who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $26,823. 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
Labourers in Fish and Seafood Processing1,495Moderate growth80Moderate
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $14.50
Maximum: $20.00
Minimum: $2,173
Median: $13,622
Maximum: $31,743
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
Labourers in Fish and Seafood ProcessingCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
Percent employed full-time67%87%
Percent self-employed15%3%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentLabourers in Fish and Seafood ProcessingCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton21%$12,97313%$32,974
Annapolis Valley4%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeLabourers in Fish and Seafood ProcessingCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4645
GenderLabourers in Fish and Seafood ProcessingCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
EducationLabourers in Fish and Seafood ProcessingCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school46.7%$16,51322.9%$21,011
High school33.7%$24,24638.1%$28,358
Trades certificate8.7%$22,77712.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma9.2%$20,53920.3%$36,968
University certificate or diploma0.7%x1.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree1.1%$18,3154.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.3%$55,581
Master's degreeN/Ax0.5%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%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 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.