Upper South Island fishing industry crying out for workers

The companies are recruiting for the hoki season now.
The companies are recruiting for the hoki season now. Photo credit: File Image

The fishing industry in the top of the South Island is crying out for workers with hundreds of roles needing to be urgently 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 has 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 are 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 with jobs on boats and on land.

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

The website is 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 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 29 April and Norton said she knew some people had already been offered interviews.