New Zealand’s seafood industry has a career for everyone, whether you want to hop aboard an ocean-going vessel, or keep your feet firmly planted on the ground with our land-based jobs.
Many people choose to work with us because they love the ocean, they love the hours, and they can’t imagine being in an office.
Skippers are responsible for running the vessel, with tasks ranging from organising the crew, to overseeing the harvesting, catching and processing of seafood.
A deckhand primarily works on the deck assisting with the vessel’s activities working with the gear, and handling and sorting the catch.
Production or Line Supervisor
A seafood line supervisor is responsible for overseeing the processing of the product, monitoring staff, and making sure the production requirements are being met within their area of responsibility.
Aquaculture Farmer/Harvest Crew
Aquaculture farm staff /harvest crew tend to the farm and care for the fish or shellfish through to harvesting, and/or undertake harvesting of fish and shellfish on marine or freshwater farms.
Hear first hand what it's like to be an oyster farmer by listenting to the Get Your Boots On: A pearler of a job podcast
Hatchery technicians carry out the advanced or more technical tasks required in the hatchery, and may also supervise other hatchery staff.
A quality controller carries out process monitoring and checks to confirm the required specifications are met. They are responsible for completing records and may write reports.
Training & Learning Opportunities
Earn while you learn
On-Job training and apprenticeships are a great way to ‘earn while you learn’. They are a three-way relationship between your employer, you (the employee), and the training provider, where all three parties sign a training agreement.
There are three seafood sector based apprenticeships, all with different options to cover the many different roles that exist
- New Zealand Apprenticeship in Aquaculture
- New Zealand Apprenticeship in Commercial Fishing
- New Zealand Apprenticeship in Seafood Processing
There are also other seafood training programmes, including short courses available, you can find out more information at Primary ITO – Te Pukenga.
Deep sea training
The Westport Deep Sea Fishing School gives students comprehensive training based around working on Deep Sea and inshore fishing vessels.
Programs are based on industry-created and NZQA-approved qualifications in seafood processing and vessel operations.
Practical and theory training ashore and experience on fishing vessels provide an introduction to work and life at sea.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) offers training across various maritime programmes.
NMIT has training opportunities in commercial fishing, maritime operations, maritime engineering, and offshore operations.
The aquaculture industry offers both entry-level job opportunities and prospects for those looking for a career change.
The aquaculture industry works with tertiary providers to develop training programmes to support the needs of industry.
Plan your seasonal work adventure in the Top of the South in the areas of aquaculture, fishing at sea, and seafood processing using the Pick Your Path website. It will also help you navigate opportunities over 12 months in Nelson/Tasman, Marlborough, and the West Coast; providing information about each industry and the roles and training available.
Want to find out more about the industry, directly from the people already thriving in it? Check out their stories for yourself.