Careers in Retail & fishmongering — Seafish

Careers in Retail & fishmongering

Careers in seafood retail will appeal to individuals looking to learn a traditional trade which involves a great deal of knowledge and skill. With over fifty species of fish and shellfish in the UK market, fishmongering is a highly specialised trade.

A selection of career opportunities available in the retail sector are listed below. More information about training courses can be found here. Fish and shellfish apprenticeship programmes and vocational qualifications have been developed by Seafish to enable new entrants and existing employees/managers acquire the skills and knowledge needed for success in this industry.

Fish sales assistant

Fish sales assistants must be fully-trained, with knowledge of the many different species and shellfish on sale. The job can involve displaying fish, taking payments, and preparing fish.

In small specialist fishmonger business, progression to supervisor of manager is not impossible. In large supermarkets, progression to general retail management or into other fresh food departments may happen. Some fish sales assistants may also choose to move into fish wholesaling and contract buying.

There are generally no pre-entry qualification requirements, as thorough training will be given on the job. Basic numeracy, literacy and communication skills are desirable.


Supervisors will be responsible for displaying the range of fish on sale, maintaining good health and safety and hygiene, as well as being an experienced fish retail assistant. Supervisors may also be required to purchase stock from wholesalers.

In small, specialist fishmongers, supervisors may progress to manager or go on to buy their own fishmongering businesses. In larger supermarkets, opportunities in other branches of fresh food and retail management may be available. Supervisors may also wish to move into fish wholesaling and contract buying.

There are generally no pre-entry qualifications, though knowledge of food safety, hygiene, and health safety will be essential, as will the ability to supervise and motivate a team.

Manager/dept. manager

Managers and department managers should have a comprehensive knowledge of fish and shellfish, as they will be expected to select products and set prices. Managers will also be responsible for health, safety and hygiene, as well as organising workloads and retail management.

Managers may buy their own fishmonger business to become an owner/manager, or continue a management career within other retail sectors. Managers may also move into fish wholesaling or contract buying.

People skills, commercial awareness and business skills will also be necessary in becoming a manager or department manager, as will good knowledge of relevant legislation, budgetary controls, food safety and hygiene, and health and safety.


The owner/manager is responsible for the management and profitability of a fishmongering business. This includes selecting and buying produce, setting retail prices, building relationships, managing health, safety and hygiene, and managing staff and workloads. Owner/managers will also be in charge of sales, marketing and finance.

This role requires commercial awareness and retail business skills, including knowledge of sales and marketing, relevant legislation, financial and business management, health and safety, and food hygiene. Owner/managers will also be required to build relationships, motivate staff, and be competent fishmongers too.