Fish preparation operators realize the preparation of fish and shellfish according to hygiene, food safety and trade regulations. They carry out fish processing operations, and also handle retail activities.
Fish preparation operators typically do the following:
- Set up and operate machines to clean, cut, cook, smoke, brine, dehydrate or otherwise process fish or seafood products
- Set up and operate machines to can, bag, box or otherwise package fish and seafood products
- Check products and packaging for defects and to ensure conformance to company standards and perform corrective machine adjustments as required
- Record production information such as quantity, weight, date and type of products packaged.
The following job titles also refer to fish preparation operator:
seafood preparation operator
fish counter worker
fish stall worker
shellfish preparation operator
fresh fish processing operator
fish shop worker
fish processing operator
fresh fish preparation operator
fish counter salesperson
Work is performed in processing plants, where strong odours are often present. Care must be taken when operating processing machines and walking on potentially slippery surfaces.
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a fish preparation operator.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Fish preparation operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Fish preparation operator career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to fish preparation operator.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of fish preparation operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of fish preparation operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of fish preparation operator.
- Food storage: The proper conditions and methods to store food to keep it from spoiling, taking into account humidity, light, temperature and other environmental factors.
- Fish varieties: The different types and varieties of fish on the market.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of fish preparation operator.
- Maintain cutting equipment: Maintenance of the cutting equipment (knives, cutters, and other elements).
- Ensure sanitation: Keep workspaces and equipment free from dirt, infection, and disease by removing waste, trash and providing for appropriate cleaning.
- Comply with food safety and hygiene: Respect optimal food safety and hygiene during preparation, manufacturing, processing, storage, distribution and delivery of food products.
- Preserve fish products: Place and classify fish products for proper conservation. Maintain suitable conditions for the conservation of fishery products.
- Slice fish: Cut fish or fish parts into fillets and smaller pieces.
- Store raw food materials: Keep in reserve raw materials and other food supplies, following stock control procedures.
- Mark differences in colours: Identify differences between colours, such as shades of colour.
- Apply HACCP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
- Execute chilling processes to food products: Carry out chilling, freezing and cooling operation processes to food products such as fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, catering food. Prepare food products for extended periods of storage or half prepared food. Ensure safety and nutrition qualities of frozen goods and preserve products in accordance with specified temperatures.
- Operate fish processing equipment: Operate equipment for canning, drying, freezing, smoking, high pressure processing of fish, or other types of processing of fish following established procedures.
- Follow hygienic procedures during food processing: Ensure a clean working space according to hygienic standards in the food processing industry.
- Use cutting equipment: Use knives, cleavers, meat saws, bandsaws, or other equipment to perform meat cutting and trimming.
- Remove parts of fish: Remove guts, heads and tails for fish and seafood production.
- Lift heavy weights: Lift heavy weights and apply ergonomic lifting techniques to avoid damaging the body.
- Apply GMP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
- Use food cutting tools: Trim, peel and slice products with knives, paring or food cutting tools or equipment according to guidelines.
- Package fish: Package fish in specified containers and compartments after preparing and trimming the fish. Prepare the fish to be shipped, and further treated in the supply chain.
- Operate weighing machine: Work with a weighing machine to measure raw, half-finished and finished products.
- Monitor freezing processes: Monitoring freezing processes to ensure product is adequately frozen. Assessing temperature levels and ensuring energy efficiency and product refrigeration.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of fish preparation operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Legislation about animal origin products: The applicable legal rules on temperature, waste materials, traceability, labelling, trading, and the transport of animal origin products.
- Health, safety and hygiene legislation: The set of health, safety and hygiene standards and items of legislation applicable in a specific sector.
- Fish, crustacean and mollusc products: The offered fish, crustacean and mollusc products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of fish preparation operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Care for food aesthetic: Convey presentation and aesthetic elements into the production of food. Cut products properly, manage right quantities into the product, care for the attractiveness of the product.
- Order supplies: Command products from relevant suppliers to get convenient and profitable products to purchase.
- Ensure refrigeration of food in the supply chain: Apply different procedures to maintain the chain of temperature of foodstuffs and products in each stage of the production and supply chain.
- Sell fish and seafood: Sell fish and varieties of seafood, according to the product’s availability in the store.
- Keep inventory of goods in production: Keep inventory of goods whether they are goods in the front end (i.e. raw materials), intermediate, or back end (i.e. finished products). Count goods and store them for the following production and distribution activities.
- Label foodstuffs: Uses adequate equipment to place label on food goods.
- Organise storage facilities: Order the contents of a storage area to improve efficiency with respect to the inflow and outflow of the stored items.
- Cook seafood: Prepare seafood dishes. The complexity of the dishes will depend on the range of seafood used and how they are combined with other ingredients in their preparation and cooking.
- Clean food and beverage machinery: Clean machinery used for food or beverage production processes. Prepare the appropriate solutions for cleaning. Prepare all parts and assure that they are clean enough to avoid deviation or errors in the production process.
- Oversee quality control: Monitor and assure the quality of the provided goods or services by overseeing that all the factors of the production meet quality requirements. Supervise product inspection and testing.
- Administer ingredients in food production: Ingredients to be added and the required amounts according to the recipe and the way those ingredients are to be administered.
- Handle fish products: Handle fish with care and hygiene required to maintain quality. Adequately prepare fish products for storage.
- Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
- Advise customers on seafood choices: Provide advice on the available seafood and on ways of cooking and storing it.
- Adapt efficient food processing practices: Ensure to adapt the most efficient production techniques to accomplish food processing tasks with the least amount of time, effort and costs.
- Cook fish: Prepare fish dishes. The complexity of the dishes will depend on the range of fish used and how they are combined with other ingredients in their preparation and cooking.
- Dispose food waste: Dispose or collect food waste with the purpose of recycling or throwing away from the production process. Follow established procedures for their disposal taking care of the environment and the safety matters according to legislations.
- Wash gutted fish: Wash gutted fish in cold water, rinse it, brush it in a machine, or apply a combination of these techniques.
- Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
ISCO group and title
7511 – Butchers, fishmongers and related food preparers
- Fish preparation operator – ESCO
- Fish and seafood plant workers – Workforce WindsorEssex
- Featured image: By Jabbi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0