Fishery Officer Āpiha Hao Ika

Fishery officers gather information on all aspects of the fishing industry and enforce fisheries laws.

Fishery officers may do some or all of the following:

  • collect data on caught fish and the working conditions on boats
  • inspect fishing vessels and retail outlets such as cafes and fish shops
  • enforce commercial catch limits and ensure that commercial fishing businesses have the correct documentation
  • enforce fish and shellfish quotas
  • educate people on fishery regulations
  • undertake investigative and surveillance work
  • take legal action against people who break the fisheries laws
  • gather, record and analyse information relating to the fishing industry
  • assist iwi groups with access to their customary fishing rights.

Physical Requirements

Fishery officers need to have a good level of fitness and health, and must be strong as some heavy lifting is involved.

They need to have good hearing and eyesight (with or without corrective lenses). They must also be able to work at sea.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for fishery officers includes:

  • work for NZ Defence Force or police
  • work for customs, quarantine or law enforcement agencies
  • any marine or fishing experience
  • work in education or research
  • security work.

Personal Qualities

Fishery officers need to be:

  • good communicators
  • able to relate to a wide range of people and cultures
  • assertive, mature, honest and responsible
  • good at analysing information and making decisions
  • motivated, able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines
  • observant
  • able to work well in a team
  • able to handle conflict.


Fishery officers need to have:

  • knowledge of the marine environment and environmental issues
  • knowledge of laws and regulations relating to catching fish and shellfish
  • an understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi and the Fisheries Settlement Act
  • good data collection and report writing skills.


Fishery officers:

  • may work long and irregular hours and can work evenings, weekends and public holidays
  • work in offices, local and foreign fishing vessels, fish-processing factories and retail outlets
  • spend a lot of time outdoors in most weather conditions, and may work in rough conditions out at sea
  • may need to deal with conflict and be exposed to verbal or physical abuse
  • travel widely in their home district and occasionally to other regions throughout New Zealand.

Fishery Officers can earn around $61K-$100K per year.

Pay for fishery officers varies according to experience and specific role.

  • New fishery officers usually earn $61,000 per year.
  • Fishery officers with up to four years' experience usually earn between $61,000 and $71,000.
  • Senior fishery officers, analysts and investigators can earn between $71,000 and $100,00.

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries, 'MPI/PSA Collective Employment Agreement, 30 June 2017', 2017.

Fishery officers may progress to jobs in areas such as investigations, analysis and intelligence, or move into management roles.

Fishery officers can specialise in a number of roles, including:
Fishery observer
Fishery observers work on boats to collect information on the working conditions on the boat, the fishing catch and environmental interactions.
Honorary fishery officer network coordinator
Honorary fishery officer network coordinators organise the volunteer fishery officers for their region.
Intelligence officer
Intelligence officers, such as compliance analysts, gather information, investigate, analyse and prepare reports on illegal fishing activities.
Patrol vessel skipper
Patrol vessel skippers run fishery patrol boats and manage the crew.
Surveillance specialist
Surveillance specialists observe and record surveillance using special equipment.

Years Of Training

<1 year of training required.

There are no specific entry requirements to become a fishery officer.

However, you do need to:

  • hold a full driver's licence
  • have no criminal convictions
  • pass an interview, psychological test and skills test
  • pass minimum fitness standards.

Potential fishery officers have up to three weeks of training before their employment is confirmed. Fishery officers continue to learn the required skills for the job while working.

Fishery Officer