Fisheries Officer careers
Is this the career for me?
Being a Fisheries Officer can be a rewarding and challenging career, especially if you enjoy working in the outdoors and in an enforcement role.
A Fisheries Officer's main role is to ensure compliance with the Fisheries Act and Regulations. These regulations ensure that our fisheries resources are managed sustainably and shared equitably by the community.
Fisheries Officers also participate in public education and awareness programs around the state to help foster a greater awareness of fisheries resources and the need for their protection.
Fisheries Officers are trained to carry out a wide range of duties - on land, at sea and on inland waterways. On any given day they could be conducting inspections of recreational fishers on a local pier, participating in an education program at a local school, undertaking surveillance work or boarding a commercial fishing vessel at sea. They also work closely with other agencies such as Victoria Police or Parks Victoria when necessary.
If you can answer YES to the following questions and you feel that you could take on the challenges associated with the role, then you may wish to apply for the next Fisheries officer (trainee) recruitment round. We generally recruit every 2-3 years and our last recruitment round was in 2018. If you have any specific questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Self-assessment questions – Is this the career for me?
- Do you love working in the outdoors?
- Do you have a passion for the environment and the need for its protection?
- Are you willing to live and work in a Victorian regional location?
- Are you willing to work various shifts including nights, weekends, public holidays and school holidays?
- Are you willing to work over a wide variety of terrains, at sea or on inland waterways for extended periods of time in all weather conditions?
- Are you prepared to carry handcuffs, a baton and Capsicum spray and to use these if required to protect yourself, your colleagues or the public?
- Are you prepared to undertake an 8-10 week live-in recruit training program involving intensive learning, physical activity and assessments with other new recruits?
- Do you have the self-confidence to be assertive when dealing with an aggressive or abusive person?
- Are you an honest person who respects the law and do you have a high level of ethical standards?
- Are you able to deal with people in a respectful and professional manner?
- Does this sound like the career for you?
Diversity in Fisheries officer careers
It is important to the VFA to improve confidence and trust with our diverse communities. To do this, the VFA is committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce. We value the diversity of age, gender identity, culture, linguistic diversity, religion, disability, first nations people and sexual orientation of our employees.
The VFA’s diversity program helps it successfully attract, recruit, retain and develop a diverse workforce; fostering greater innovation, greater customer connection and increasing staff wellbeing and satisfaction.
We recognise that all of our employees bring different varied knowledge, skills and experience with them to the fisheries officer role and this is why diversity is so important in our team.
Female Fisheries Officers
At the Victorian Fisheries Authority, we recognise that diversity creates a stronger, more efficient and more effective organisation. All of our employees bring different varied knowledge, skills and experience with them to the VFA, which is why we are working at further diversifying our workforce.
We encourage women to apply for positions as fisheries officers and we promote a positive work/life balance which enables women to manage family and other commitments. There are many benefits to women who join us as fisheries officers:
- A diverse work environment with opportunities to explore remote parts of Victoria
- Stable employment within the Victorian public service with generous income incentives
- Flexible working hours, including shift work and weekends
- Possibility for flexible work conditions, including generous maternity leave provisions and opportunities for part-time arrangements subject to your station's operational requirements
- Working for an organisation that values women in enforcement roles and provides support to women fisheries officers.
If you have any specific questions relating to a career as a female fisheries officer please email email@example.com
What do Fisheries officers do?
- Patrolling Victoria's marine and inland waters by foot, vessel or vehicle
- Operate four-wheel drive vehicles and a range of different vessels including kayaks or small punts through to large sea going vessels.
- Inspecting commercial and recreational fishers to ensure compliance with legislation
- Inspecting wholesale and retail fish premises to ensure that fish are legally sourced
- Preparing briefs of evidence and prosecuting matters in court
- Undertaking surveys to collect, analyse and prepare reports related to fisheries management issues
- Responding to fishing offence reports received via the 13FISH offence reporting line
- Promoting marine management programs and policies
- Ensuring compliance within marine protected areas and reserves
- Assisting in the execution of major operations which target illegal activities and conducting search warrants of premises, factories and restaurants
- Undertaking surveillance work and investigations
- Providing advice to Fisheries management
- Educating, advising and providing information to the community on a wide range of topics relating to fish and their protection, responsible fishing and regulation changes
- Assisting with the delivery of education programs to angling clubs, schools, multicultural groups and other forums through informative talks and practical fishing sessions.
Because of this diverse range of responsibilities, Fisheries Officers are multi-skilled. They have a strong understanding of all aspects of fishing and a familiarity with complex State and Commonwealth laws associated with commercial and recreational fishing. In addition, Fisheries Officers must effectively communicate their legislative knowledge to the community and fishing industry.
Where do Fisheries Officers work?
Fisheries Officers work in a variety of environments across Victoria and sometimes interstate near the border. They could be required to work on remote rivers in the northwest to isolated coastline in the east. Officers may be required to operate vessels in lakes, rivers, bays and inlets or in offshore areas along Victoria's vast coastline. Each office is equipped with appropriate vessels and vehicles that assist fisheries officers in patrolling their region. Fisheries officers may be required to transfer to various locations across Victoria throughout their careers.
Fisheries Officers are stationed at one of 18 work locations throughout Victoria:
- Apollo Bay
- Lakes Entrance
- Swan Hill
The Victorian Fisheries Authority provides opportunities for fisheries officers to move between stations when vacancies exist or to undertake short term secondments at different stations.
Fisheries Officers develop a unique skill set which gives them flexibility to move within the various groups of the Victorian Fisheries Authority in areas such as education, policy, licensing, offence management, commercial and recreational fisheries management, intelligence management and investigations.
As a Fisheries Officer you will be a part of a professional team of people who share a passion for the industry. The wide variety of tasks involved with being a Fisheries Officer can provide for a challenging and satisfying career.
What hours do Fisheries Officers work?
Most fishing activity occurs outside of normal business hours. Because of this Fisheries Officers are designated shift workers and are required to work a monthly roster with a large proportion of early morning and afternoon shifts, weekends and public holidays. Officers can be subjected to long working hours at odd times. They may be recalled to duty at any time of the day or night and on weekends and public holidays to respond to complaints or reports of illegal fishing activities. Officers are required to work a minimum number of shifts, weekend and public holidays for the year.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority works with staff to promote a positive work/life balance and provides opportunities to staff for flexible work conditions, maternity and paternity leave provisions and part-time arrangements, subject to operational requirements and staffing levels at the station.
Fisheries officers may also be required to camp overnight in remote locations for several days. Travel and overnight accommodation may be required when working at different locations or on major operations.
Fisheries Officers are eligible for additional allowances for working shift work, duties at sea or for working in remote areas.
Physical requirements of the job
Fisheries Officers must be physically fit to carry out the demanding nature of the job which may include physical activities such as:
- Hiking long distances into remote areas with backpacks
- Launching and retrieving vessels from boat ramps and from the shore
- Lifting heavy equipment such as patrol gear or commercial fishing equipment
- Paddling kayaks or canoes
- Operating vessels in adverse weather conditions or at night
- Four-wheel driving over rough terrain
- Sitting or lying in a static position for a number of hours during surveillance operations.
- Climbing eg. steep riverbanks, coastal cliffs
All successful applicants will be required to pass a physical and medical assessment prior to appointment to ensure that they are able to meet the requirements of the job.
The pre-appointment medical assessment includes the following components:
- Completion of a health questionnaire
- Functional capacity assessment
- Height, weight and blood pressure assessment
- Vision screening – near, distant and colour vision testing. Colour vision testing is required to ensure that potential employees meet marine safety qualification requirements.
- Audio screening
- Doctors examination and consultation
As a large proportion of a Fisheries officer's working day may be based on or next to water, swimming ability is a key requirement of this position. The Department therefore requires all prospective employees to undertake a swimming assessment prior to appointment. This ensures that Fisheries Officers are able to survive in the water in the event of a boating or water accident and that they are able to rescue others if the need arose.
Are there any qualifications or skills that I need to become a fisheries officer?
You must have an appropriate level of literacy and numeracy to function in an Authorised officer position as a fisheries Officer. The minimum requirement would be completion to the standard of at least Year 11 English or equivalent.
It is also desirable (though certainly not mandatory) to have some form of post-secondary or tertiary qualification in any of the following areas:
- Natural resource management
- Fisheries management/ fisheries compliance
- Criminal justice or criminology
- Science/ environmental science
- Outdoor education
- Any other relevant area
- Government compliance
Skills and experience:
Fisheries officers need to have a broad range of skills and knowledge to perform their role. Most of the skills and knowledge required are attained through on-the-job training and mentoring and throughout your career should you be successful in gaining a position as a fisheries officer.
There are a range of skills and experiences that you could bring to the role of a fisheries officer, though none of these are mandatory as we’ll provide you with the training you need!
- Boating experience
- Snorkelling, diving experience
- 4WD experience
- Just about any form of outdoor experience
- Education, communication experience
If you have an affinity for the outdoors, and you don’t mind getting wet and sometimes dirty then this could be the job for you.
- You must be an Australian Citizen or have permanent residency in Australia
- Demonstrated ability to swim 100 metres unaided
- A current driver’s licence (conditions I and V are not acceptable for employment)
Before appointment to a Fisheries Officer role the following requirements would also need to be met:
- Completion of security screening, including a National Police Records Check and VicRoads licence history check
- Completion of the Victorian Public Service declaration of private interest’s form
- Completion of an appropriate first aid course (Apply First Aid) or equivalent
- Must hold a valid Working with Children card
- Must not be a prohibited person within the meaning of the Firearms Act 1997.
Fisheries Officer Training program
Entry into this occupation is very competitive; this is because it is a specialised and unique role and there are a limited number of positions across the state.
Successful candidates undertake a 10 week live-in training course at Queenscliff at the commencement of their career. This course provides trainees with the necessary skills and knowledge required to commence their role as an authorised officer.
The ability to manage confronting situations through negotiation and resolution is an important skill required of Fisheries Officers so training is provided to develop these and other communication skills. Officers are issued with and required to carry and maintain defensive equipment including Oleoresin Capsicum spray, baton and handcuffs. They receive regular ongoing training in the use and safe custody of these items.
Fisheries Officer recruitment process
The Victorian Fisheries Authority run a recruitment process when there are a number of Fisheries Officer vacancies identified - in the past this has been every 2-3 years. The last recruitment process was run in May 2018.
Fisheries Officer careers are advertised on careers.vic.gov.au.
Applicants for fisheries officer positions should be flexible when nominating their work location preferences as we cannot guarantee that you will end up in your preferred location if you are successful.
If you have any specific questions regarding a career as a fisheries officer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org