Fishing Masters and Officers

(NOC 8261)

in All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

Fishing masters and officers manage and operate saltwater and freshwater fishing vessels greater than 100 gross tonnes to pursue and land fish and other marine life. They work for companies that operate commercial fishing vessels.

Job Outlook

Limited

Read more

  • Estimate Decline employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 5 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

  • Estimate -415 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 355 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “limited”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is below average when compared with other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. However, jobseekers may face some competition for those positions. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. 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. Fishing Masters and Officers most commonly work full-time hours. 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 Fishing Masters and Officers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $58,915. 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)

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

$14,051

Minimum

$51,599

Median

$160,523

Maximum

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$24.84

Median

$32.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$4,009

Minimum

$23,520

Median

$87,170

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Fishing masters and officers manage and operate saltwater and freshwater fishing vessels greater than 100 gross tonnes to pursue and land fish and other marine life. They work for companies that operate commercial fishing vessels.

Job duties

Fishing masters and officers:

  • Command fishing vessels to catch fish and other marine life.
  • Determine areas for fishing, plot courses and compute navigational positions using compasses, charts, tables, and other aids.
  • Steer vessels and use navigational instruments and electronic fishing aids like echo sounders and chart plotters.
  • Direct fishing operations and supervise crew activities.
  • Record fishing progress, crew activities, weather, and sea conditions on ship's log.
  • Select and train vessel crews.

Sample job titles

  • fishing master
  • fishing vessel captain
  • fishing vessel deck officer
  • fishing vessel master
  • fishing vessel mate
  • fishing vessel navigation officer

Skills

You need good eyesight and health. Physical strength may be necessary. You may be exposed to extreme weather conditions and varying climates. You must also be willing to travel for long periods at a time. To work as an officer, you should be self-disciplined and have strong leadership abilities.

Job requirements

  • Some high school education is usually required.
  • A Fishing Master's Certificate is required.
  • A commercial fishing licence is required.
  • Completion of Transport Canada examinations is required to advance from Fishing Master Class IV through Class I. Training programs are provided in provincial training centres.
  • Progression to merchant or government vessel officer positions (which require a Marine Officer Certificate) is possible with additional training and experience.

Other considerations

Work in these jobs is seasonal with employment peaking in the summer months and most workers in these jobs fish for only part of each year. When fishing, most work for more than 50 hours per week. An individual's earnings will depend upon a number of factors like the type of boat and equipment used, the species sought, the allotted quota, and the market price for the catch. One to two years of experience as a fishing vessel deckhand is required. Captains require one year of service as officer in charge of the watch.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,100

employed in 2016

91.8%

employed full-time

42.5%

self employed

4.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
95.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
51.1

median age

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

14,665

employed in 2016

78.0%

employed full-time

20.0%

self employed

15.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
84.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.6

median age

Where will I likely work?

56.4%

Southern

21.4%

Cape Breton

10.9%

North Shore

7.7%

Halifax

3.6%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

95.9%

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

4.1%

Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

31.0%

45-54

22.0%

55-64

19.0%

35-44

13.0%

65+

12.0%

25-34

3.0%

15-24

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

20.7%

45-54

19.8%

15-24

19.2%

55-64

16.2%

35-44

14.8%

25-34

Top levels of education

36.1%

Less than high school

$48,732 median annual income
22.8%

Apprenticeship

$59,047 median annual income
22.4%

High school

$59,713 median annual income
17.8%

College Diploma

$53,834 median annual income

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

35.7%

Less than high school

$23,463 median annual income
30.8%

High school

$19,301 median annual income
13.7%

College Diploma

$29,551 median annual income
13.4%

Apprenticeship

$31,535 median annual income
4.4%

Bachelor

$17,956 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

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 - Adult Learning

PO Box 220

Halifax, NS B3J 2M4

(866) 679-6722

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Nautical science/merchant marine officer

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals to serve as captains, executive officers, engineers and ranking mates on commercially licensed inland, coastal and ocean-going vessels. These programs include courses in maritime traditions and law; maritime policy; economics and management of commercial marine operations; basic naval architecture and engineering; shipboard power systems engineering; crew supervision; and administrative procedures.

Institutions providing this program

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Fishing Master

Not Provincially Regulated: This job may be regulated by a federal regulatory body.

Regulating body:
Transport Canada - Marine Safety Services
45 Alderney Drive
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4K2
(855) 859-3123
(902) 426-6657

Contacts

Maritime Fishermen's Union
408 Main Street
Shediac, NB E4P 2G1
Tel: (506) 532-2485
Fax: (506) 532-2487
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nova Scotia Licensing Service Centre
P.O. Box 1035
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4T3
Tel: (902) 426-9966
Fax: (902) 426-5010
Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council
38B John St, Suite 1
Yarmouth, NS B5A 3H2
Tel: (902) 742-6167
Fax: (902) 742-8391
Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
1800 Argyle Street, 6th floor (Suite 607)
Halifax, NS B3J 2R5
Tel: (902) 424-4560
Fax: (902) 424-4671