8 Facts About Fish Workers

The fishing industry is a massive worldwide industry which encompasses every step in the fishing process. Fishing, culturing, processing, preserving, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing and selling– all of these things are involved in getting a fish from the ocean to your plate.

It is estimated that over 500 million people in developing countries depend, directly or indirectly, on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods.

In Canada alone this industry employs approximately 72,000 people.

Today FoodGrads is going to focus on the workers who work primarily in the processing plants. The individuals who are known as fine boners, fish plant workers, shellfish processors and the fish cleaners.

1. Fish Workers Prepare Foods for Consumers

Fish Workers are individuals responsible for:

the handling, care, processing and cleaning of many different fish species for consumers. These professionals perform a variety of duties which vary depending on the requirements of the plant.  Some fish workers sort and organize products along conveyor belts making sure only the best quality goes by.

Other fish workers are known as fish boners because they cut, clean and trim whole fish by hand. In seafood plants these individuals disjoint meat from crustaceans for further processing.

Some fish workers are responsible setting up and operating machinery to process and package fish and seafood products. This includes recording production information, checking products and packaging defects and performing corrective machine adjustments as required.

Blue and Light Grey Long Fish


2.  Fish Workers Know Fish

You would think that in today’s world of technological advancements that fish in factories would be filleted by machine but this is not the case. Most frozen or fresh fillets are produced by individual hand-filleting. This is because fish are highly variable, non-standard as to size, shape and weight, with delicate bones.

Due to this hands on-experience fish workers become very familiar with fish anatomy and how to cut different sizes. Fish workers truly understand fish. Not only how to cut fish but also how seasonal changes and locations change the size and texture of fish.

If you are interested in getting a head start and learning about fish then talk to your fish cutter at your local supermarket. They are a wealth of knowledge!

3. Fish Workers Have This Education….

Becoming a fish worker is a great career if you are looking to enter the food manufacturing industry without a post-secondary education. Employers generally only require a high school diploma or equivalent.

Many processing plant require no past experience and are willing to train.  However, for more specialized roles and fish that require a more delicate touch past experience of over a year are required.

Fish working is a good role where some one can start and work their way up in a company. For example, you can start in production and eventually work your way up to machine operator, supervisor and potentially a plant manager.

Brown and Black Wooden Chairs Inside Room


4. Fish Workers Have Physical Jobs

As you might expect, fish workers have physically demanding jobs that require them to stand on their feet for long periods of time and intense focus. Another reason is that they are constantly working with their hands as many fish workers work with sharp tools and operate automated machinery.

This requires not only manual dexterity but also hand-eye co-ordination. Finally, some food workers are responsible for preparing packaging materials while portioning and weighing products.

5. Fish Workers Work in Cold Environments

General working conditions for fish worker are usually cold in order to keep fish fresh.

Fish workers keep up with the cold by wearing layers and taking breaks in warmer areas of the plant. Both of these things are very important because fatigue happens faster in cold environments.

6. Fish Workers Have Manual Dexterity

Individuals who work in position which cut up fish are required to use sharp knives and make exact cuts. Cutting fish involves removing the head, de-boning the fish and filleting the fish from the bone. Fish workers must be able to work in cold environments and use their hands effectively.

7. Fish Workers Work with Machinery

Depending on their position fish worker may be required to control automated machinery. For example, they may be required to control a machinery used to can fish.

This could require knowledge of setting up, maintaining, and dissembling equipment based on the requirements of a particular packaging. Furthermore, through-out the manufacturing run they keep a close-eye that the same conditions are observed through out.

8. Fish Workers Have These Skills

Being a fish worker requires a range of skills however there are a few which are more essential than others. These skills include:

  • Ability to focus- It is important that a fish worker is able to focus on a task for long periods of time. This is because many of these professionals preform the same task such as filleting or sorting fish. If they space out this could mean production numbers go down or quality.
  • Interest and aptitude for technology- Technological changes have made big differences in the manufacturing scene. It is important that workers keep up with these changes as this signals employers you are there for the long term. So show an interest!
  • Ability to be cross-trained- Food processing plants have so many types of jobs which required different skills. Effective fish workers are able to be cross-training in many different tasks and this is very valuable for for a company.

Author: Veronica Hislop Veronica is a recent FoodGrad working as Quality Assurance Technician at a snack food company. She graduated with a Chemistry degree at Ryerson University and has a passion for bringing awareness to sustainability in the food industry. When Veronica is taking a break from her food endeavours you will find her at home reading a great novel and playing with her cats.

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