Seafood harvested in Tasmania will in general pass through a licenced seafood processor or fish handling facility. At a processor, product may be stored, packaged live for transport to mainland and export markets, processed for delivery to markets and/or value-added.
The Tasmanian seafood processing sector works with a wide variety of product from scalefish, shellfish, and scallops, to sea urchin, rock lobster, and abalone. The availability and processing of aquaculture species such as salmon and oysters is largely constant throughout the year. However, the variable seasonality of wild caught species does affect the demand for processing workers.
Processing jobs could include filleting fish, shucking oysters and scallops, packaging product, delivery and logistics and management and administration. Processors are looking for a good meat recovery rate and speed when hiring processing attendants. Good knife skills are essential!
The recovery rate refers to the weight of the end product (e.g. fillets), as a percentage of the original whole animal weight. For example, if you fillet 15kg of snapper, and you end up with 5.4kg of fillets, then your recovery rate is 36%.
In 2011, there were approximately 311 people employed in the processing sector, excluding those in the salmon processing workforce. Salmonid processing makes up a large proportion of the Tasmanian processing workforce, with 39% of people in the large salmonid workforce (2,090 direct full-time equivalent jobs in 2015) working in processing.
In 2017-2018, almost 70,000 tonnes of Tasmanian seafood was produced and processed.