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Fisheries offer sea of opportunities in new jobs campaign

Credit: Stuff NZ

Filling hundreds of seafood jobs in the top of the south is the aim of a new campaign driven by a regional development body and employers.

The Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) programme, Catch a Job, is an extension of its successful fruit-picking programme Pick Nelson Tasman which filled vacancies during harvest season.

The agency has now partnered with three major fishing firms, Sealord, Sanford and Talley’s, to fill hundreds of vacancies in the industry.

The two campaigns are both a part of the region’s Covid-19 recovery programme Project Kōkiri.

NRDA regional development and attraction manager Hannah Norton said the move from fruit-picking to fisheries was “a natural extension” of the NRDA’s work in the region.

“We have the largest fishing port in Australasia, and over 70 per cent of New Zealand’s aquaculture is located here in Te Tauihu,” she said.

“The seafood sector is a critical economic driver for our region. With our borders remaining closed, there’s a shortage of workers for both seasonal and permanent work ... it was a natural extension to partner with the seafood sector to support their recruitment drive on behalf of the region.”

There were hundreds of positions to be filled, from entry-level to career opportunities, Norton said, and the primary sector “has secure employment pathways for people seeking job security”.

“We know that many people in our community and further afield have been displaced from work due to Covid-19, and so we’re putting the call out to say there are boatloads of opportunities on offer here in Te Tauihu.”

Sealord’s general manager of human resources Dawn Cooper said Sealord was in “urgent need” of up to 400 more workers for the hoki season, which runs from May to September.

She said the season was usually “80 per cent filled” by people on working holiday visas, but with Covid-19 travel restrictions there was a void to fill.

“We recently introduced a new school hours shift for our fresh fish line to appeal to parents, and there’s been some good interest from potential new recruits,” she said.

“We’re hopeful this targeted online recruitment campaign will help bolster those efforts.”

Talley’s HR manager Nathan Howes said the project was a collaborative one that helped not just the companies involved but the wider community.

“We – Talley’s, Sealord, Sanford – have come together to help each other out, as we are all impacted by the current worker shortage,” he said.

“We also know how much our businesses impact on the community in terms of incomes earned here being spent here, so we really want to help our local economy by filling our workplaces with staff. Also, the demand for our products is there, we just need people who are keen to work.”

Talley’s in particular was looking for people interested in entry level mussel and hoki processing jobs in Motueka, and mussel processing in Blenheim. He said there were “great opportunities for a career” but encouraged people just looking for work “while they look for their perfect job” to give it a go as well.

“It is a fantastic industry to be involved in.”

Applications can be made via the NRDA’s website,

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