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Fisheries officer

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Summary of occupation

Fisheries officers patrol and examine waterways for illegal fishing activities and the taking/destruction of protected marine life. This may involve inspecting ships, fishing equipment and processing organisations. They need to compile reports and may be required to give evidence in court. They may also be involved in education, research or other clerical duties. They could also be involved in/with assisting beached whales, the pearling industry, shark nets or monitoring fish and their habitats.

ANZSCO description: Inspects fishing vessels, gear, licences and catches to ensure that fisheries laws and regulations are obeyed.
Alternative names: Fisheries Inspector, Fishing Inspector, Marine Officer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A fisheries officer needs:

  • to be physically fit
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • to enjoy outside work
  • normal colour vision.
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Working conditions

A fisheries officer may work irregular hours including weekends, public holidays and evenings. They may often have to travel around the State and may need to weather uncomfortable conditions, for example sleeping in a vehicle or tent. They will be required to work in all weather conditions. They usually wear a uniform.

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Salary details

Probationary fisheries and marine officers can expect to earn between $1 385 and $1 504 per week ($72 004 and $78 191 per year). Once their probationary period ends, a fisheries and marine officer can expect to earn between $1 589 and $1 725 per week ($82 620 and $89 703 per year), dependng on their duties and level of experience.

As a fisheries and marine officer gains experience and progresses through the different levels, their pay rate increases. 

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Tools and technologies

Fisheries officers need to have a current C class driver’s licence. A boat licence would be highly desirable.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a fisheries officer in Western Australia, you must apply to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and pass the recruitment process and complete their training program.

Applicants must be Australian or New Zealand citizens or a Permanent Resident and need to hold a ‘C’ Class driver’s licence.

Applicants need to pass medical and physical assessments including a swimming test, and must be prepared to accept postings to areas in any region of the State, including the Perth metropolitan area.

Successful applicants are appointed as entry-level Fisheries and Marine Officers and are required to attend a 14 week training course based in Fremantle. This is followed by a 12 month probationary period, which is generally spent in the Perth metropolitan area.

Contact the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development​ for more information.

Entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in the area of marine studies or a related field. Knowledge of state and federal government fisheries legislation, as well as the marine environment and resources of Western Australia, would be desirable.

The Diploma of Marine Studies is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can complete a traineeship. The fisheries compliance officer traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

You can also complete a degree in marine science or a related area.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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