Fisher

Leisure and Entertainment

Menu

Master Fisher/Commercial Fisher
Fishing Hand

Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs

 

Practical or MechanicalNature or RecreationSkill Level 1Skill Level 2

 

Recreational Fisher
Leisure and Entertainment

Many Australians love fishing. More than 3.5 million Australians fish annually for recreation and sport.

This means about one in every five Australians enjoy fishing and half of all Australian households own fishing tackle.

"Recreational fishing in Australia is an important leisure activity that contributes economic and social benefits to the Australian community, and is part of life for Australian of all ages and from all socio-economic backgrounds. The recreational sector is larger and more widely dispersed than any other recreational activity that utilises a natural resource. From Mum and Dad fishers who may fish once a year, to game fishers whose boat and fishing equipment can be investments of thousands of dollars, recreational fishing contributes to the health and well-being of many Australians and provides economic and social benefits to regional areas.

The Australian Government plays an important stewardship role in facilitating the development of the recreational fishing industry as a sustainable, long term and valuable contributor to the Australian economy. As most recreational fishing occurs within state and territory waters, state and territory governments are responsible for the day-to-day management of recreational fisheries, including the recreational components of some Commonwealth managed commercial fisheries such as game fishing." (Source: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources)



Fishing at sunset

Master Fisher or Commercial Fisher
Leisure and Entertainment

Practical or MechanicalNature or RecreationSkill Level 1

Fishers and fishing vessel operators catch and trap various types of marine life for human consumption, animal feed, bait, and other uses.  FutureGrowthModerate

Fishing hundreds of miles from shore with commercial fishing vessels
—large boats capable of hauling a catch of tens of thousands of pounds of
fish—requires a crew that includes a captain, or skipper, a first mate and sometimes a second mate, a boatswain (called a deckboss on some smaller boats), and deckhands with specialized skills.

The fishing boat captain plans and oversees the fishing operation, the fish to
be sought, the location of the best fishing grounds, the method of capture, the duration of the trip, and the sale of the catch.

Fishing Trawler

The captain ensures that the fishing vessel is seaworthy; oversees the purchase of supplies, gear, and equipment, such as fuel, netting, and cables; obtains the required fishing permits and licenses; and hires qualified crew members and assigns their duties. The captain plots the vessel’s course using compasses, charts, and electronic navigational equipment, such as loran systems or GPS navigation systems. Ships also use radar and sonar to avoid obstacles above and below the water and to detect fish. Sophisticated tracking technology allows captains to better locate and analyze schools of fish. The captain directs the fishing operation through the officers’ actions and records daily activities in the ship’s log. In port, the captain sells the catch to wholesalers, food processors, or through a fish auction and ensures that each crew member receives the prearranged portion of the proceeds. Captains increasingly use the Internet to bypass processors and sell fish directly to consumers, grocery stores, and restaurants often even before they return to port.
(Source: Career Questions)

 Fish in boxMaster fishers work in the commercial fishing industry managing a fishing vessel and fishing operations to catch and preserve fish, crustacea and molluscs. Master Fishers assist the crew in sorting, cleaning preserving, stowing and refrigerating their catch. They may also be responsible for the maintenance of their vessel and fishing equipment, and the management of their crew. Master fishers usually work based from remote coastal communities located around Australia.


ANZSCO description: Controls a fishing vessel and fishing operations to catch and preserve fish, crustacea and molluscs. Registration or licensing is required.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

​A master fisher needs:

  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • to be physically fit
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • to be prepared to spend long periods of time at sea
  • an awareness of safety principles and procedures
  • an understanding of fishing regulations and legislation.

Duties and Tasks

  • Load and unload vessel equipment and supplies, by hand or using hoisting equipment.
  • Put fishing equipment into the water and anchor or tow equipment, according to the fishing method used.
  • Wash decks, conveyors, knives, and other equipment, using brushes, detergents, and water.
  • Maintain engines, fishing gear, and other on-board equipment; and perform minor repairs.
  • Return undesirable or illegal catches to the water.
  • Pull and guide nets, traps, and lines onto vessels, by hand or using hoisting equipment.
  • Steer vessels and operate navigational instruments.
  • Remove catches from fishing equipment and measure them to ensure compliance with legal size.
  • Connect accessories such as floats, weights, flags, lights, or markers to nets, lines, or traps.
  • Signal other workers to move, hoist, and position loads.
  • Interpret weather and vessel conditions to determine appropriate responses.
  • Oversee the purchase of supplies, gear, and equipment such as fuel, netting, and cables.
  • Transport fish to processing plants or to buyers.
  • Attach nets, slings, hooks, blades, and/or lifting devices to cables, booms, hoists, and/or dredges.
  • Sort, pack, and store catch in holds with salt and ice.
  • Locate fish, using fish-finding equipment.
  • Compute positions and plot courses on charts to navigate vessels, using instruments such as compasses, sextants, and charts.
  • Direct fishing operations, and supervise fishing crew members.
  • Hire qualified crew members, and assign their duties.
  • Harvest marine life for human or animal consumption, using diving or dredging equipment, traps, barges, rods, reels, and/or tackle.
  • Record in logbooks specifics of fishing activities such as dates, harvest areas, yields, and weather and sea conditions.
  • Sell catches by contacting and negotiating with buyers or by sending catches to fish auctions.
  • Estimate costs of operations and plan fishing season budgets accordingly.
  • Plan fishing operations, establishing the fish to be sought, the fishing location, the method of capture, and the duration of the trip.
  • Stand lookout for schools of fish, and for steering and engine-room watches.
  • Operate rowboats, dinghies, and/or skiffs to transport fishers, divers, and/or sponge hookers; or to tow and position fishing equipment.
  • Monitor distribution of proceeds from sales of catches to ensure that crew members receive their prearranged portions.
  • Participate in wildlife management, disease control, and research activities.
  • Club or gaff large fish to enable hauling them into fishing vessel.
  • Share fishing expertise through activities such as writing for fishing magazines, hosting television shows, or testing and endorsing fishing equipment. (Source: Job Guide.)

Commercial Fisher
(Source: ABC)

Working Conditions

Working conditions will vary depending on the type of fishing operations a master fisher is undertaking. Some fishing operations are seasonal, and a master fisher may work continuously – and live out at sea – for extended periods. Master fishers can work long shifts and odd hours, in varied and extreme weather conditions. They are required to maintain strict safety standards on board.

Tools and Technology

Fishermen on large commercial trawlers may go out on fishing hauls for along time and may need to store their catch for long periods. For these fishermen, storing their fish is a crucial aspect of the job. Their large purpose built boats have cool rooms and industrial icemakers below deck for preserving and storing their catch.
(Source: Job Guide.)

Depending on what they are trying to catch, master fishers will use a range of fishing equipment such as trawls, steel pots, nets, long lines and dredges. They also use navigational aids, marine radio to transmit and receive information, and equipment used to interpret weather patterns. They must also wear safety equipment such as life jackets, distress beacons, hard hats, safety boots and high visibility clothing to minimise risks.

Education and training/entrance requirements

​You can work as a master fisher without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry to this occupation may be improved if you have experience working on fishing vessels, or a formal qualification in fishing operations.

The Certificate II and III in Fishing Operations are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The deckhand (fishing operations) and senior deckhand – fishing operations usually take between 12 to 24 months to complete. The deckhand (fishing operations) traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.

To work on a domestic commercial vessel in Australia you will need to obtain a Certificate of Competency from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

To work in the commercial fishing industry in Australia you will need to obtain a commercial fishing licence.

Did You Know?

The Brewarrina Fish Traps are a complex arrangement of stone walls situated in the Barwon River which feeds into the Darling River in New South Wales.

Brewarrina Fish Traps

Nearly half a kilometre in length, these fish traps are the largest known in Australia and were an ingenious invention long used by Aboriginal people to catch fish.

The age of these fish traps is unknown and they may be one of the oldest human constructions in the world.

Robert Hamilton Mathews drawing of Fish Traps
Public domain. Robert Hamilton Mathews, an early Australian surveyor and anthropologist, drew this map of the Brewarrina fish traps in 1907.


They have been listed on the State Heritage Register and the National Heritage List.

Aboriginal legend explains that they are an ancient Dreamtime site built by Baiame and his two sons Booma-ooma-nowi and Ghinda-inda-mui.

(Source: Department of Environment, NSW)

***********************
Gunditjmara community of southwest Victoria and the Budj Bim

These large-scale fishing facilities and associated aquaculture ponds rupture traditional representations of Aboriginal people as simply hunter gatherers.

The Budj Bim cultural landscape provides an outstanding example on a world stage of the scale, complexity, and antiquity of a well preserved Aboriginal fishery that continues into the present. And it is an exceptional example of Aboriginal environmental manipulation and management that blurs the distinction between foragers and farmers. Over the next year or so, a formal World Heritage nomination will be prepared by the Victorian government spearheaded by the Gunditjmara for submission to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.


The Conversation
The Conversation 8 February 2017

 

Fishing Hand
Leisure and Entertainment

Practical or MechanicalNature or RecreationSkill Level 1

Fishing Hands are responsible for working and maintaining nets, lines, pots and other fishing equipment on deep sea and inshore fishing vessels. When nets and lines are hauled back on board, fishing hands sort and clean the catch and may also assist in processing and preserving  Future Growth Static operations.

On most vessels all crew members will have to help with general cleaning and vessel maintenance duties. Fishing hands may also operate machinery, such as winches to haul in nets, and electronic equipment, including radio transmitters and fish finding equipment.

Fishing hand
(Source: ABC)

ANZSCO description: Catches fish, crustacea and molluscs using nets, pots, lines and traps in ocean and inland waters.

Alternative names:
Fisher, Fisher Person, Fisherman, Fishing Boat Mate, Fishing Deckhand

Specialisations:
Cray Fishing Hand, Master Fisher, Prawn Trawler Hand, Purse Seining Hand

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A fishing hand needs:

  • to be able to work as part of a team

  • a high level of physical fitness

  • manual and practical skills

  • to be prepared to spend long periods at sea

  • an awareness of safety principles and procedures

  • to enjoy working outdoors.

Duties and Tasks

  • handling ropes and wires, and operating mooring equipment when berthing and unberthing

  • standing lookout watches at sea and adjusting the ship's course as directed

  • assisting with cargo operations using on-board equipment and stowing and securing cargo

  • patrolling ships to ensure safety of the vessel, cargo and passengers

  • performing routine maintenance and checks on deck equipment, cargo gear, rigging, and lifesaving and firefighting appliances

  • attaching gear and fastening towing cables to nets

  • casting and lowering nets, pots, lines and traps into water

  • preparing lines, attaching running gear and bait, and setting lines into position

  • hauling in fishing gear and removing fish and other marine life

  • sorting, cleaning, preserving, stowing and refrigerating catch

 

Working conditions

Fishing hands working on deep sea vessels can spend weeks or months at sea, while those working inshore generally work for shorter periods. They work in a range of weather conditions, which can include rough seas and stormy weather. The work can be dangerous, and fishing hands must follow strict safety guidelines to protect both themselves and their crewmates. While at sea they work shifts, which can be long and include nights and weekends. They generally work everyday while at sea and have long breaks when they return to shore, which can last weeks or occasionally months. Fishing hands may work in coastal locations throughout Australia.

Tools and technologies

Fishing hands use a range of fishing equipment, depending on what they are trying to catch. This includes nets, long lines (with up to 10,000 hooks each), pots and dredges. They also use winches to cast (or shoot) and haul in nets. On some vessels they will also use knives to clean and gut a catch. They use large freezers to store their catch. Safety gear such as life jackets, harnesses and hardhats are also important. Ropes, spikes, hammer and needles are also used to mend nets and carry out other maintenance duties.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a fishing hand without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in fishing operations.

The Certificate II in Fishing Operations is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia.

You can complete a traineeship. The deckhand (fishing operations), fisher hand, and senior deckhand – fishing operations traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete. The deckhand (fishing operations) and fisher hand traineeships are available as a school-based traineeship.

 

Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs

Aquaculture Farmer

Aquaculture Farmer
Coxswain

Coxswain
Fisheries Officer

Fisheries Officer
Outdoor Adventure Guide

Outdoor Adventure Guide

Fishing Guide
Sailmaker

Sailmaker
Ship's Master [Deck Hand]

Ship's Master
Shipwright

Shipwright
 

Material sourced from Job Guide, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources;
Career Questions,
Jobs & Skills WA [Master Fisher; Fishing Hand]
JobOutlook [Master Fisher; Fishing Hand]

Fisher

Artist

Aerobics Instructor

Dancer

Fitness Instructor

Sports Coach

Karate Instructor

Sportsperson

Musician

Umpire/Referee

Composer

Jockey

Actor

Choreographer

Music Director

Stunt Performer

Entertainer

theatrical costume maker and designer

Diver

Set Designer

Sports Development Officer

Horse Riding Instructor

Stage Manager

Cinema or Theatre Manager

Prop & Scenery Maker

Outdoor Adventure Guide

Artist

Aerobics Instructor

Dancer

Fitness Instructor

Sports Coach

Karate Instructor

Fisher

Sportsperson

Musician

Umpire/Referee

Composer

Jockey

Actor

Choreographer

Music Director

Stunt Performer

Entertainer

theatrical costume maker and designer

Diver

Set Designer

Sports Development Officer

Horse Riding Instructor

Stage Manager

Cinema or Theatre Manager

Prop & Scenery Maker

Outdoor Adventure Guide

Artist

Aerobics Instructor

Dancer

Fitness Instructor

Sports Coach

Karate Instructor

Fisher

Sportsperson

Musician

Umpire/Referee

Composer

Jockey

Actor