Fish and Seafood Plant Workers

(NOC 9463)

in All Manufacturing and Utilities

This group includes fish and seafood plant machine operators who set up and use 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 work in fish and seafood processing plants.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Decline sharply employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 20 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

  • Estimate 75 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 1460 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

This occupation was impacted by a serious decline in the demand for lobster at the beginning of the pandemic. The reversal of these conditions will depend on how global demand for seafood recovers when the pandemic ends. The effects that poor seafood market conditions have had on employment vary. Some employers have found that the pandemic has compounded a longstanding shortage of labour, while some regular seasonal fish and seafood plant workers have noted a reduction in their work hours. Finding housing for workers near seafood processing facilities can be a challenge. This has been made worse by COVID-19, as some property owners may be uneasy about the possibility of a tenant being exposed to the virus. Seafood processing facilities were exempted from group size restrictions in the Health Protection Act Order, reducing the effect on working conditions.

Jobseekers may improve their prospects by having personal transportation, as many seafood processors are in rural or isolated areas. The seasonal and physical aspects of this job may also act as a deterrent for potential applicants. Labour supply for this occupation is scarce in many communities. This is expected to worsen as a large proportion of fish and seafood plant workers are close to the age of retirement. Given these conditions, those seeking work in this occupation should find employment with relative ease.

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

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$13.50

Median

$17.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,186

Minimum

$12,539

Median

$36,046

Maximum

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

Hourly Pay

$13.00

Minimum

$23.91

Median

$35.04

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,056

Minimum

$30,111

Median

$70,518

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

This group includes fish and seafood plant machine operators who set up and use 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 work in fish and seafood processing plants.

Job duties

Fish and seafood plant machine operators:

  • Set up and use machines to clean, cut, cook, smoke, brine, dehydrate, or otherwise process fish or seafood products.
  • Set up and use machines to can, bag, box or otherwise package fish and seafood products.
  • Check products and packaging for defects and to make sure they meet company standards and make corrective machine adjustments as needed.
  • Record production information like quantity, weight, date and type of products packaged.

Fish and seafood plant cutters and cleaners:

  • 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

Skills

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

Job requirements

  • Some high school education may be required.
  • On-the-job training is required.

Other considerations

Shiftwork is common. Movement to supervisor positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,335

employed in 2016

66.7%

employed full-time

1.1%

self employed

43.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
56.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.5

median age

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

15,275

employed in 2016

83.2%

employed full-time

3.2%

self employed

27.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
72.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.7

median age

Where will I likely work?

59.3%

Southern

16.8%

Cape Breton

10.4%

Halifax

9.7%

North Shore

3.7%

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

91.4%

Manufacturing

6.3%

Wholesale trade

1.1%

Health care and social assistance

1.1%

Accommodation and food services

What is the age of Employment?

24.0%

15-24

22.0%

45-54

19.0%

55-64

14.0%

25-34

13.0%

35-44

7.0%

65+

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

24.5%

45-54

20.8%

55-64

19.3%

35-44

16.5%

25-34

15.0%

15-24

Top levels of education

43.1%

Less than high school

$9,674 median annual income
34.5%

High school

$13,601 median annual income
14.2%

College Diploma

$19,799 median annual income
5.6%

Apprenticeship

$15,798 median annual income
1.5%

Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

38.1%

High school

$28,505 median annual income
23.3%

Less than high school

$19,224 median annual income
19.9%

College Diploma

$38,781 median annual income
12.2%

Apprenticeship

$43,975 median annual income
4.5%

Bachelor

$39,715 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

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

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council
Yarmouth, NS
Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance
Yarmouth, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.