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Fishing Hands

Deckhands and Fishing Hands work on sea and freshwater vessels maintaining equipment and catching fish and various aquatic species, such as crustaceans and molluscs. They catch food for human consumption, as well as animal feed and other uses. They may also work with the public on charter boats, aiding people in recreational fishing, and filleting and packing their catch.

Duties and tasks

  • Catch fish and other aquatic species with poles, nets, and other specialised equipment
  • Maintain equipment, tools, and gear
  • Participate in safety drills
  • Prepare equipment and fishing gear.
  • Process and store catch in holds and cold storage areas
  • Safely operate machinery, tools, and equipment
  • Sort catch according to legal size, species, and gender, if applicable

Skills required

  • Ability to follow Safety Standards
  • Fit and Able to Perform Physical and Repetitive Tasks
  • Listen and Take Direction
  • Operate Equipment and Heavy Machinery
  • Strong Hand-eye Coordination and Manual Agility

Working conditions

Depending on the body of water in which they fish, as well as the type of fishing, Deckhands and Fishing Hands are exposed to all kinds of weather and marine conditions; inland bodies of water can be extremely dangerous as well. Due to the dangerous nature of this job, workers must follow safety standards to reduce the risk of injury and illness. The work is seasonal, therefore workers may have periods of unemployment between seasons. They may work long hours with little periods of rest.

Professional associations / Industry information

Department of Fisheries (WA) 

Queensland Seafood Industry Association 

Seafood Services Australia 

The Australian Shipowners Association (ASA) 

The Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC)

Related jobs and job titles

  • Aquaculture Farmer
  • Barge Hand
  • Coxswain
  • Deck Hand
  • Diver
  • Ferry Hand
  • Fish Farm Hand
  • Fisher
  • Ships Officer