Gut and clean fish by hand

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


This standard is about gutting fish by hand. It details the skills and knowledge required to set-up, gut and wash fish by hand. It is also about working to organisational product specifications and production schedules.

You must be able to prepare to gut and wash fish. You must also be able to gut and wash fish by hand. You must also be able to finish hand gutting and washing.

This standard is for you if you work in the fish industry and are involved in the gutting and cleaning of fish by hand.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. gut and wash fish in accordance with the organisational standards
  2. confirm process specification
  3. prepare and maintain work station throughout the process
  4. obtain tools and equipment required to support the gutting operation, including hygiene and personal protective equipment
  5. sharpen knife(s) into a condition suitable for achieving the required production specification
  6. obtain fish to meet required process specification
  7. confirm availability of clean potable water
  8. split fish and remove contents of gut cavity
  9. wash and clean gut cavity
  10. achieve required rate of production
  11. handle and store fish in a manner which maintains quality and condition
  12. make sure the product is transferred safely to the next stage in the manufacturing operation
  13. dispose of waste material according to organisational procedures
  14. deal with materials that can be re-cycled or re-worked
  15. maintain communication
  16. 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 processing
  3. the tools and equipment required to support gutting and cleaning
  4. why it is important to use potable water to clean fish
  5. how to sharpen, maintain and store knives
  6. how to obtain and interpret the relevant process specification
  7. how to prepare and maintain work stations in a condition suitable for hand processing
  8. how to gut and wash fish to remove all internal organs
  9. how to assess the quality of whole and gutted clean fish
  10. expected yields from gutting process
  11. product control and traceability during gutting operations
  12. how to deal with fish that are not fit for use
  13. common quality problems associated with gutting and cleaning and their likely causes
  14. what action to take when the process specification is not met
  15. what parts of the processed fish can be re-worked and re-cycled
  16. how to dispose of waste and why it is important to do so
  17. the limits of your own authority and competence and why it is important to work within those limits
  18. 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, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

SOC Code



Fish; Gut; Clean; Knife; Health; Safety; Hygiene; Environmental; Production; Process