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There are a whole range of both seasonal and permanent job opportunities out on the water and on land, across the seafood industry in aquaculture, fishing, processing as well as many other supporting roles. These range from entry-level roles to those that require technical skills through to senior leaders and managers.


Salary: $40,000 - $280,000+ per year*

Aquaculture, inshore and deep sea skippers are responsible for running the vessel. Their tasks range from navigating the vessel and organising the crew, to overseeing the harvesting, catching and processing of seafood. Salary depends on the size and type of vessel they operate, whether they own it, the species being targeted, and the size of their catch.

*Source: Maritime New Zealand, 2017


Salary: $39,000 - $90,000+ per year*

A deckhand primarily works on the deck assisting with the vessel’s activities working with the gear, and handling and sorting the catch. They may also manage the maintenance of aquaculture farms. Actual deckhand activities will depend on whether they are working on an aquaculture, inshore or deep-water vessel and the species they are targeting.

*Source: Maritime New Zealand, 2017

Production or line supervisor

Salary: $40,000 - $75,0000+ per year*

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. Production supervisors can work at sea on vessels that carry out processing or in land-based operations.

Aquaculture farmer

Salary: $39,000 - $80,000+ per year*

Aquaculture salmon or shellfish farmers manage the breeding, feeding, raising, and care for fish or shellfish through to harvesting for commercial purpose in marine or freshwater farms. Pay for aquaculture farmers varies depending on skills, experience, and the type of work they do.

*Source: New Zealand Salmon Farmers Association and Sanford Ltd, 2018

Training and Learning Opportunities

The seafood industry offers both on-job learning and training opportunities, including for those new to seafood so you can learn while you earn, as well as provider-based courses.

Aquaculture Training

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.

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.

Deep sea education opportunities

Maritime training

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.

Maritime education opportunities

Primary ITO

The Primary ITO offers a number of on-job training opportunities across the seafood sector, including apprenticeships.

Primary ITO website