Fillet fish by hand

Business Sectors (Suites): Fish and Shellfish Processing
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 01 Jan 2019


This standard is about filleting fish by hand. It details the skills and knowledge required to set-up and fillet fish manually using a knife. It is also about working to achieve organisational product specifications and production schedules. It details the skills and knowledge needed to maintain product quality.

You will need to be able to prepare to fillet fish by hand. You also need to show you can fillet fish by hand. You must also show you can finish hand filleting of fish.

This standard is for you if you work in the fish industry and are involved in the production of filleted fish.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. fillet fish by hand in accordance with organisational standards
  2. confirm filleting specification
  3. obtain tools and equipment required to support planned filleting operations, including hygiene and personal protective equipment
  4. prepare and maintain work station throughout the process
  5. sharpen knife into a condition suitable for achieving required filleting specification
  6. obtain fish to meet required filleting specification
  7. fillet fish to achieve required yield and quality requirements
  8. trim fillets to achieve specified appearance requirements
  9. achieve required rate of production
  10. handle and store fish and fish products in a manner which maintains quality and condition
  11. make sure the product is transferred to the next stage in the processing operation
  12. safely store knives when not in use
  13. dispose of waste according to organisational procedures
  14. deal with materials that can be recycled or reworked
  15. make equipment and work station ready for future use after the completion of the process
  16. maintain communication
  17. complete records in accordance with organisational requirements

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. what the organisational standards are and what may happen if they are not followed
  2. the hygiene and personal protective clothing that is required to support hand filleting
  3. the tools and equipment required to support hand filleting
  4. how to sharpen, maintain and store knives
  5. how to obtain and interpret the relevant process and quality specifications
  6. how to identify commonly used fish species
  7. how to prepare and maintain work stations in a condition suitable for hand filleting
  8. how to fillet round fish and flat fish to maximise yield
  9. the body skeletal and flesh/meat structure of commonly processed round and flat fish
  10. the cuts needed to produce single and butterfly fillets
  11. how to assess the quality of whole fish and fish fillets
  12. how to deal with fish which is not fit for use
  13. common quality problems associated with hand filleting and likely causes
  14. the importance of accuracy during filleting
  15. what action to take when the process specification is not met
  16. what parts of the filleted fish frame can be reworked and recycled
  17. product control and traceability during filleting operations
  18. the importance of job rotation and taking regular breaks
  19. how to dispose of waste according to organisational procedures
  20. the limits of your own authority and competence and why it is important to work within those limits
  21. what recording, reporting and communication is needed, how to carry this out and the reasons why it is important to do so


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

01 Jan 2023





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Manufacturing Technologies, Plant and Machine Operatives, Process Operatives

SOC Code



Fillet; Fish; Knife; Health; Safety; Hygiene; Trim; Production