South Island seafood industry in urgent need of workers

Fishing boat: Getty
Stock photo: Getty
The fishing industry in the top of the South Island is crying out for workers as hundreds of roles are needing to be filled.

The Nelson Regional Development Agency has joined up with three of the largest fishery companies to launch a campaign to fill those roles.

Development Agency regional development and attraction manager Hannah Norton said Nelson had the biggest fishing port in Australasia and the sector was critical for the area.

Each of the three companies had hundreds of roles available, both seasonal and permanent, she said.

"For the upcoming hoki season there is definitely an urgency to get the workers in, but since the Covid lockdown began there have been roles not being filled due to the lack of overseas workers that are ongoing too. But right now the timing is around that critical seasonal influx that is coming up."

The companies were recruiting for the hoki season now, which runs from May to September.

Some of those roles could progress into permanent work, Norton said.

In previous years the roles were often filled by visiting travellers.

The roles are based in Nelson, Motueka, Blenheim, and Havelock, and jobs were on boats and on land.

People can register for work on the Catch a Job website.

The website was aimed at making the process as easy as possible, with people registering some basic information, which would be passed on to the seafood companies who could then come back to applicants about roles they may be suitable for, Norton said.

There were roles both for people new to the sector and experienced people, she said.

"There is learning on the job, so it's definitely open to anyone looking for something new, and if you are experienced there are a range of roles they could fit into too."

The website launched on Thursday, April 29, and Norton said she knew some people had already been offered interviews.

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