Fisheries Officers

What is the role of Victorian Fisheries Officers?

Officer on radio

Fisheries Officers are employed to protect our fisheries and promote responsible fishing. One of their roles is to ensure compliance with other laws relating to responsible fishing including environment, fire, marine safety and land use legislation.

Fisheries Officers' main responsibility is to ensure compliance with fisheries regulations. These regulations are in place to ensure our fisheries resources are sustainable and shared by the Victorian fishing community.

Fisheries Officers and other compliance staff are involved in a range of activities including high profile inspections, surveillance and intelligence operations, education and advocacy programs and prosecutions. They also work closely with other agencies such as Victoria Police when necessary.

How will I recognise a Fisheries Officer?

help with fishing map

Fisheries Officers wear a uniform and the Officer's name and title.

A Fisheries Officer on duty but not in uniform will display official identification when they approach you, which will include an identification card, the VFA badge and the Officer's name.

What can I expect during a routine fisheries inspection?

Check Licence

During a routine fisheries inspection, you can expect a Fisheries Officer to:

  • give you educational material and information about fisheries
  • ask you to produce a current Fishing Licence or permit
  • ask to access your bag, fishing equipment, esky, container, vehicle or vessel for inspection
  • measure and count fish in your possession to check compliance with size and bag limits.

What powers do Fisheries Officers have to protect Victorian fisheries?

Fisheries Officers can by law:Uniform close-up

  • stop any water vessel or vehicle to carry out an inspection
  • ask for your name and home address
  • search any equipment such as baskets, eskies or other containers
  • place alleged offenders under arrest
  • issue infringement notices
  • seize any fish, fishing gear or other equipment, including boats and vehicles, that have been used in an alleged offence against the Fisheries Act 1995.

What happens if I am detected committing a fisheries offence?

If detected or the Officers believe you have committed an offence a Fisheries Officer will:

  • explain the nature of the alleged offence
  • request your full name and home address
  • invite you to participate in an interview
  • issue a seizure receipt if any fish, property or documents are seized
  • advise you of the likely course of action.

What are the compliance options used by Fisheries Officers?

Compliance options range from the provision of educational material to prosecutions. Where it is apparent that a breach of the legislation has occurred, The Victorian Fisheries Authority will take the appropriate action depending on the severity of the offence.

Compliance options include:

  • education
  • verbal and official warnings
  • infringement notice
  • prosecution
  • cancellation of licence or permit.

What happens if I don't comply with a Fisheries Officer?

During an inspection or enquiry, an Officer may request certain things of you in accord with their legislative powers.

Failure to comply with a lawful request from a Fisheries Officer may result in you being:

  • arrested and conveyed to a Police station
  • charged and summonsed to appear before a Court
  • placed under bail conditions.

How can I report a fisheries offence?

To report fisheries offences you can call the 24 hour, seven day a week reporting service 13 FISH (13 3474).

Helpful information you can provide includes:

  • time, date and location
  • description of people involved
  • vehicle/boat registration
  • type of activity observed
  • equipment used.

To report fisheries offences you can call the 24 hour, seven day a week reporting service 13 FISH (13 3474).