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Farm Worker - Finfish Production

 Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance / Alliance de l'industrie canadienne de l'aquaculture

Finfish Farming Overview

The ‘aquaculture’ industry is one of the smallest agricultural employers in Canada, but it’s also the fastest growing. The rising global demand for fish protein is predicted to create a strong market for this export-reliant industry over the next 10 years.

  • The main finfish species grown in Canada are salmon and trout, with steelhead, Arctic char, Atlantic cod, sablefish, Atlantic halibut, white sturgeon and tilapia also produced. The predicted growth in global demand for aquacultural products will drive a need for additional workers to boost output and meet the market demand.

Find job information for a Finfish Production

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Finfish Farm Workers work 8 to 10 hour days (longer during harvest) and are often outdoors in all kinds of weather.

  • Finfish Farm Workers perform a wide variety of tasks including feeding fish, assisting with fish health and fish husbandry activities, monitoring / calibrating equipment etc. Some workers also work as lead hands or crew leaders.
  • Farm workers require minimal or no supervision; operate farm machinery and equipment; and acquire skills/knowledge through a combination of on-the-job training, formal training, and experience. Typically, farm workers need some secondary school education and up to two years of occupational training or farm experience.

Typical Job Titles

  • Aquaculture Worker
  • Fish Farm Worker
  • Fish Farm Technician 3 & 4
  • Maintenance Worker
  • Hatchery Technician
  • Site Worker
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Farm Workers perform activities related to growing, raising, and harvesting livestock.

  • Comply with legislation, regulations and standards
  • Follow standard operating procedures 
  • Maintain health and safety of self and others
  • Follow environmentally sustainable work practices
  • Set up and monitor fish containment structures
  • Conduct spawning and early rearing
  • Feed fish
  • Maintain biosecurity
  • Maintain health and welfare of fish
  • Handle fish 
  • Grade, receive and transfer stock 
  • Use production equipment, tools and technology 
  • Maintain equipment, tools, supplies and technology 
  • Harvest stock 
  • Follow company policy when living in employee accommodations

What competencies are required for this job?

These competencies were identified as most important for successful job performance. 

  • Agriculture Health and Safety
  • Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices
  • Finfish Production
  • Teamwork
  • Animal Health and Welfare
  • Attention to Detail
  • Facilities Maintenance - Animals/Livestock
  • Feed Management 

What attracts people to this job?

Workers are at the core of any farming operation – the people who actually do the work. They are also the people who are promoted to supervisory roles and/or trained to become technical specialists. Work on a Finfish farm:

  • Provides opportunities to work with leading edge aquaculture technology
  • Provides opportunities to progress in knowledge and experience without formal education
  • Gives the opportunity to live in a rural area
  • Provides opportunities for marine biologists looking for work in their specialty

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

In larger operations, Finfish Farm Workers are often moved laterally – from one position to another within the same category. This gives workers broader experience and prepares them for technical or supervisory roles.

Finfish Farm Workers who apply themselves (and complete the necessary training) can expect to move up to supervisory or technical roles.

What are the typical pay rates and benefits for this job?

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for experienced aquaculture workers ranges from $15 to $18 per hour. Benefits may include:

  • Performance bonuses, Christmas bonuses, and possibly health and dental coverage.