How to Become Fish Cleaner

The fishing industry is very popular because consumers around the world demand a wide variety of fish. Fish cleaners are trained workers that perform many different tasks to prepare fish for public consumption.

What does a fish cleaner do?

Fish cleaners scale, cut, clean, and dress fish aboard ships, on shores, in retail markets, or in restaurants. They remove the scales, gills, head, and other parts of the fish that is inedible. They then cut the fish into fillets or steaks. They often wash off blood and use a variety of instruments including knives, scrapes, spoons, and burlap pieces. Fish cleaners that process fish aboard ships perform tasks immediately after fish are caught to preserve the freshness. Some fish cleaners work in retail markets and they clean fish according to the needs of customers. They clean, dress, wrap, and label fish for customers or to store.

What kind of training does a fish cleaner need?

There are typically no formal training requirements for fish cleaners because they usually learn their skills through on the job training. Training ranges anyways from a few days to several months, depending on the employer. Many employers prefer to hire workers with some type of related experience. Many new fish cleaners start out by working with experienced workers and then move on to independent tasks once they learn the necessary procedures and acquire the required skills. They learn the proper techniques and how to properly use and maintain tools and equipment. New fish cleaners typically begin by completing simple tasks and move on to more difficult duties as they gain experience. Fish cleaners complete additional training as needed throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date.

What are the prospects for a career as a fish cleaner?

Employment of fish cleaners is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 4% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for a variety of fish will create some job growth.

Job prospects should be good because there will be many job openings from the need to replace fish cleaners that leave the profession.

How much do fish cleaners make?

As of February 2010, the average annual salary for fish cleaners is $43,000; average annual fish cleaner salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a fish cleaner is a great choice for people with a strong interest in preparing a wide variety of fish for many different purposes. Fish cleaners must have a solid understanding of the required techniques and procedures for cleaning many different types of fish. Patience, manual dexterity, good eye-hand coordination, and color discrimination and necessary characteristics. Fish cleaners must be able to communicate effectively and be able to work independently as well as part of a team. They must be able to perform repetitive and sometimes unfavorable tasks.

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