Skills Fish Plant Worker near Charlottetown (PE)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a fish plant worker in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Fish and seafood plant workers (NOC 9463).


  • 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
  • Check products and packaging for defects and to ensure conformance to company standards and perform corrective machine adjustments as required
  • Disjoint and remove meat from lobsters or other crustaceans preparatory to canning or further processing
  • Record production information
  • Set up and operate machines to can, bag, box or otherwise package fish and seafood products
  • Set up and operate machines to clean, cut, cook, smoke, brine, dehydrate or otherwise process fish or seafood products

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation. This section will be updated soon.

  • May read logbook information to check what happened during prior shifts or verify information for accuracy. (1)
  • May read production sheets indicating tasks to be completed that day. (1)
  • May read safety information on machinery. (2)
  • May read memos announcing changes in the company's policies or procedures. (2)
  • May refer to a manual for specific information, such as how to evaluate canning quality. (3)
Document use
  • Read safety and health signs posted at the workplace, such as reminders to use foot and hand dip troughs when moving from room to room. (1)
  • Scan eight or more product labels to identify the correct one to attach to each box of fish. (1)
  • Enter the name of species, weight category and total weight of fish on rack tally sheets and on tote tags attached to containers of fish unloaded from boats. (1)
  • May enter information into logbooks regarding use of equipment and cooking procedures, such as the temperature and pressure of the retort, readings from chlorinated water samples taken after each cook and reasons for production delays. (2)
  • Read work schedules to locate shift information. (2)
  • Read packaging specifications for a variety of products. (2)
  • Refer to pictures and diagrams illustrating fish species and how to cut them. (2)
  • Read computer generated graphs showing temperatures and lengths of cooking times. (2)
  • Complete forms such as time sheets and production forms such as thermal processing records which show processing times, temperatures and identification codes. (2)
  • May complete brief accident reports, for example, when they cut themselves. (1)
  • May write in a logbook a brief description of problems that were encountered during the shift. (1)
  • May enter comments on thermal processing record forms to keep on file for inspection or in case batches are recalled. (1)
  • May enter words on tote tags attached to totes or containers of fish, such as species, size categories, total or net weights and names of boats. (1)
  • May complete shipping sheets, consisting of the names of workers on the line who processed products, names of wholesaler companies and types of fish. (1)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • May prepare bills and calculate taxes for customers, based on the weight of the fish. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Weigh baskets and racks of fish, to sort them into weight ranges and by fish types. (1)
  • Measure the volume of bleach compounds used for sterilization of cans and the time a batch of product has been cooked. (1)
  • Weigh the tote and pallet to arrive at the tare weight (weight of receptacle), weigh the tote filled with fish, and calculate the net weight of fish. (2)
  • Calculate how many pounds of fish to send down production lines to end up with correct weights at the end of the line, considering percentages of waste. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Monitor computer readouts of average "recovery" per fish (i.e. amount used minus the waste). The average recovery should be 71% of the total weight of the fish for sole or 33% of the total weight for salmon fillets. (1)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate how long to dip each tray in the ice water to glaze the fish. If the tray is not immersed long enough the fish will not be evenly glazed. (1)
  • Estimate how many pouch containers can be filled with a certain amount of fish, given the weight of the fish, the variety of pouch sizes and the percentage of shrinkage during processing. (2)
Oral communication
  • May shout instructions down the line. (1)
  • Receive instructions from co-workers, such as when to move materials with the forklift. (1)
  • Co-ordinate tasks with co-workers, such as positioning equipment and lifting and moving racks and boxes of fish. (1)
  • Discuss equipment and machinery problems with maintenance staff and discuss chlorination of water with quality control staff. (1)
  • Receive work assignments from supervisors and charge hands and discuss with them production goals and changes in schedules. (1)
  • May talk with fishermen to discuss how and when to unload their fish. (1)
  • May explain rates and services to customers. (1)
  • May participate in group discussions attended by production crews to discuss safety, procedures and goals, and may attend meetings with fishery inspectors to review evaluations of the plant's procedures and facilities. (2)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Recook entire batches of fish if the retort is shut down too early or all the air has not been let out of the retort. Failure to recook the entire batch will lead to the product not passing quality control. (1)
  • May find that fish has been placed incorrectly for smoking and must be repositioned before the batch is ruined. (1)
  • May encounter power outages while a cook is in progress. They shut down valves to keep the pressure up or they seek assistance. (1)
  • May encounter faulty fish-sorting sensors. They must test and readjust the sensors to sort fish properly. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide which of several conveyor belts to throw fish on in order to keep workers on all the production lines busy. (1)
  • Make quality decisions about the fish being cut, such as whether they are the right species and if they are too soft or bruised to be used. (1)
  • Decide when to contact maintenance about problems with equipment or machine breakdowns. (1)
  • Decide if more skin and bone needs to be removed from fillets before canning. (2)
  • May decide when to turn off the retort. Accuracy is important to avoid having to recook batches. (2)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Fish plant workers' schedules are set by supervisors, with work loads depending on how much fish the suppliers have brought in and how many orders there are to fill for the day. Tasks may be varied, such as operating the forklift or working on the assembly lines. Fish plant workers may have to adjust their work schedules when equipment breaks down or when rush orders arrive. Although they have little control over the reorganization of the schedule, they do short term planning to co-ordinate their work effectively with others on assembly lines. They may also have to plan the sequencing of activities, such as loading smokers and retorts.

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember different grades of fish and how to recognize different species of fish by colour, eyes, size and shape.
  • Remember a variety of procedures for cleaning, cutting, glazing and packing fish.
  • Remember the order of steps when operating thermal processing equipment and when making adjustments to machines or turning them off.
  • Remember how problems with equipment have been fixed in the past.
Finding Information
  • May ask supervisors for details about procedures and schedules. (1)
  • May refer to shipping sheets if customers make complaints about orders. (1)
  • May refer to posters and charts outlining the characteristics of various species of fish. (2)
  • May consult the maintenance department for information about equipment or the quality control department for information about production standards. (2)
Digital technology
  • They may program a computerized weighing machine with various codes pertaining to different types of fish; they may use computer numeric control (CNC) to adjust the speed of conveyors and the number of units processed. (1)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Fish plant workers work independently as part of assembly teams, with each person responsible for certain parts of the process. They may work with a partner, with one cooking and the other filling pouches. They often co-ordinate their tasks with others, such as when operating winches to lift racks and lower them into ice water, filling boxes of glazed fish or moving and weighing boxes.

Continuous Learning

Fish plant workers may learn how to operate new equipment, such as forklifts, or take courses on topics such as thermal processing, container evaluation or first aid.

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