How to become a Fisheries Officer

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 exploited.

Personal requirements of a Fisheries Officer

  • 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

Education & Training for a Fisheries Officer

To become a fisheries officer in Queensland, SA and Victoria, you usually have to complete a VET qualification. 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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. In NSW and WA, you usually need to complete training with the relevant government department. In Tasmania, you can work as a marine and rescue officer with Tasmania Police or as an inland fisheries enforcement officer with the Inland Fisheries Service. To work as a marine and rescue officer, applicants must first become qualified police officers. Fisheries officer does not exist as a separate occupation in the NT. This role is performed by sworn officers of the NT Police. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in fisheries and aquaculture, criminal justice, criminology, environmental science, environmental management or a related area. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

Depending on your state, you may be required to hold a drivers licence and boating licence. You may also need to be an Australian citizen or have permanent residency, undergo a National Police Check, hold a Provide First Aid Certificate, undergo a medical assessment or obtain a Coxswains Certificate. 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.

Duties & Tasks of a Fisheries Officer

Fisheries officers:

  • 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 programs 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 programs
  • keep vessels and equipment in good order
  • produce statistical reports and undertake other clerical duties.

Working conditions for a Fisheries Officer

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.

Employment Opportunities for a Fisheries Officer

Fisheries officers are employed by state government departments or the police force, depending on the state or territory. Entry to this occupation is very competitive. With experience, and further training, fisheries officers may move into professional science positions or into general management. Employment opportunities are determined by government policy and funding. 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 the AFMA may be required to perform duties anywhere in Australia.


Boating and Fisheries Patrol Officer

A boating and fisheries patrol officer is responsible for enforcing the laws governing boating in marine parks and protective zones.

Fisheries Observer

A 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.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 1.5%

NSW 24.4%

NT 1.9%

QLD 21.3%

SA 10.1%

TAS 2.4%

VIC 22.1%

WA 16.2%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 69%

Female 31%

Education level:

Highest qualification is secondary school: 11%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 28.7%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 17.9%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 25.3%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 6.3%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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