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Fisheries Officer

VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred Licence

Also known as Marine Officer and Fishing Inspector.

Fisheries officers are responsible for the management, conservation and preservation of state and territory fisheries resources.

They work to ensure these resources are not endangered or over-exploited.

The duties of fisheries officers vary greatly across the states and territories.

The type of work they do often depends on the size and type of commercial and recreational fishing, and related industries in their region.

Fisheries officers may also serve as fisheries observers on naval patrol boats, or they may be responsible for wildlife protection.

Fisheries officers are required to wear uniforms.

They work irregular hours, including weekends, public holidays and nights.

They are often required to move around the state or territory and may be absent from their headquarters for long periods.

They work in all weather conditions and may have to sleep in vehicles, tents or boats.


    Fisheries officers may perform the following tasks:

  • patrol and investigate waterways for unlawful fishing activities and the removal of protected marine life
  • ensure relevant laws and regulations are obeyed
  • inspect fishing vessels, fishing gear and processing establishments to ensure compliance
  • survey oyster, pearling, fishing and prawning leases to ensure regulations are observed
  • advise industry personnel on fishing regulations, export standards and the renewal of fishing licences
  • check that fish are sold through legal markets and that fish markets do not sell undersized fish
  • investigate alleged breaches of legislation
  • prepare reports and provide evidence in court when required
  • assist in the supervision of shark nets
  • identify, survey and monitor areas and activities that affect fish and their habitats
  • promote marine management programmes and policies
  • educate, advise and provide information to recreational fishers, as well as industry about a wide range of topics relating to fish and their protection
  • assist other agencies by responding to emergency situations such as oil spills, the beaching of whales, and shark-related incidents
  • provide assistance in research programmes
  • keep vessels and equipment in good order
  • produce statistical reports and undertake other clerical duties


  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • normal colour vision
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • ability to swim
  • enjoy outdoor work

Interest Area

Technical/Engineering Outdoor Influencing/Personal Contact Clerical/Administrative


Boating and Fisheries Patrol Officer - is responsible for enforcing the laws governing boating in marine parks and protective zones.

Fisheries Observer - is responsible for collecting information on fishing operations, catches and the interaction of vessels with the environment. This information is reported back to fisheries managers, the fishing industry, research organisations and the community.


VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred Licence

To become a fisheries officer in NSW, you usually need to complete a 6-week induction course, followed by a 12-month internal training course once you are employed with the Department of Primary Industries (NSW). This training course covers subjects such as fisheries acts and regulations, elementary fish biology, marketing and production. Participation in fieldwork is also required. Trainee fisheries officers are regularly assessed and examined during this probationary period. Entry into this position usually requires you to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12.

Prior to full appointment as a fisheries officer you usually also need to complete a VOC qualification in fisheries compliance. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

You can also become a fisheries officer through a traineeship in Fisheries Compliance.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    A boating licence (available from Roads and Maritime Services) and a manual drivers licence are essential.

    Applicants may be required to pass a swimming test or hold a swimming certificate or licence. See the separate entry for Lifeguard for more information.


Fisheries officers are employed by state or territory governments in fisheries or primary industries departments. Entry to this occupation is very competitive. With experience, and further training, fisheries officers may move into professional science positions or into general management.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is the government agency responsible for the efficient management and sustainable use of Commonwealth fish resources on behalf of the Australian community. Officers performing duties on behalf of AFMA may be required to perform duties anywhere in Australia.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Fisheries Officer Department of Agriculture Fishing and Aquaculture Department of Primary Industries (NSW) Maritime Division, Roads and Maritime Services (NSW)

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