Fishermen/women

(NOC 8262)

in All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

Fishermen/women run fishing vessels less than 100 gross tonnes to pursue and land fish and other marine life. They are usually self-employed owner-operators of fishing vessels.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 240 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.

This occupation was among the first to be affected by COVID-19, as flights carrying live lobster to China were suspended in the winter before cases of the virus appeared in the province. The loss of the Chinese market, followed by falling demand in other countries, resulted in a large decrease in the market price of lobsters. The lobster fishing season was already underway in much of the province when prices plunged. The Northumberland Strait season, which begins in May, was delayed by two weeks. Fishermen/women had trouble selling their catch as processors struggled with poor market conditions. Fishing vessels were exempted from restrictions on group sizes and physical distancing, limiting the effect of the pandemic on tasks and working conditions.

Employment prospects for fishermen/women are determined by several variables unrelated to market demand. This occupation typically refers to owner-operators of fishing boats. Purchasing a vessel and other equipment is a significant barrier to entry. Additionally, the number of commercial fishing licenses by area and species is capped by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Acquiring licenses can also be a significant expense. A main source of opportunities in this occupation will come from retirements. There are many fishermen/women who are near or beyond retirement age. Many workers in this occupation are based in rural areas with declining populations and a limited number of people who could potentially purchase a retiree’s equipment and license.

The median employment income for the 13% of Fishermen/women who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $58,652. 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

$15.00

Minimum

$30.00

Median

$100.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$9,719

Minimum

$40,522

Median

$100,544

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

Fishermen/women run fishing vessels less than 100 gross tonnes to pursue and land fish and other marine life. They are usually self-employed owner-operators of fishing vessels.

Job duties

Fishermen/women:

  • Use fishing vessel to follow and catch fish and other marine life.
  • Select area for fishing, plot courses and compute navigational positions using compasses and charts or electronic fishing aids.
  • Steer vessel and operate navigational instruments.
  • Use fishing gear, direct fishing operation and supervise fishing crew members.
  • Maintain engine, fishing gear and other on-board equipment.
  • Record fishing activities, weather, and sea conditions.
  • Estimate costs of operations and plan budget for each fishing season.
  • Establish fish marketing plan and keep records of all financial transactions.
  • May transport fish to processing plants or fish buyers.

Sample job titles

  • fisherman/woman
  • fishing vessel skipper
  • handliner fisherman/woman
  • lobster fisherman/woman
  • shellfish fisherman/woman
  • shellfish harvester operator

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.

Job requirements

  • A commercial fishing licence is required.
  • Licences are required for each species of fish pursued.

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. Movement to master or mate on fishing vessels over 100 gross tonnes is possible with additional training, licensing and experience. Several years of experience as fishing vessel crew member or helper are usually required.

By the numbers

Quick look

6,310

employed in 2016

87.5%

employed full-time

29.8%

self employed

10.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
90%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
47.7

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?

51.0%

Southern

22.9%

Cape Breton

14.3%

North Shore

8.5%

Halifax

3.3%

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

93.4%

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

5.4%

Manufacturing

0.7%

Wholesale trade

0.2%

Other services (except public administration)

0.2%

Public administration

What is the age of Employment?

25.0%

45-54

20.0%

55-64

18.0%

35-44

16.0%

25-34

11.0%

65+

10.0%

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

42.7%

Less than high school

$40,437 median annual income
27.4%

High school

$36,595 median annual income
13.4%

Trade Certification

$41,067 median annual income
13.2%

College Diploma

$42,949 median annual income
2.1%

Bachelor

$51,920 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%

Trade Certification

$31,535 median annual income
4.4%

Bachelor

$17,956 median annual income

Education & training

There is no information to display in this section

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Maritime Fishermen's Union
St. Peter's Bay, PE
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Licensing Service Centre
Dartmouth, NS
Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council
Yarmouth, NS
Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Halifax, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.