Become a fishery officer
Fishery officers work to conserve and protect Canada’s freshwater and marine fisheries resources and habitat, as well as protect us from contaminated shellfish. From boating and aircraft patrols to observing fisheries and fish habitat, you’ll need to be alert and ready for different challenges.
What a fishery officer does in a day
As a fishery officer, you’ll:
- promote fisheries compliance and conservation
- carry out surveillance of fishing activities by land, sea and air
- participate in planning, managing and controlling Canada’s fisheries
- act as a contact or representative of the federal government in remote communities
- collect evidence of illegal activity during routine patrols and special investigations to use in court
A full work description is available for fishery officers.
Voice of FO: When I was a kid, I remember how much fun it was to fish off the wharf.
It seemed like every time I’d walk along the shore, I’d find something cool.
Voice of FO #2: But as time has gone by, pollution, misuse, more and more endangered species, and climate change affecting the entire ecosystem. All of this makes my work more important than ever.
FO: I’ve been a fishery officer for 18 years. This is my office.
FO #2): On the job, we patrol… we enforce… and we educate. You’ll find us on the coastal waters of 3 oceans and our lakes and rivers. An important part of our work is the protection of fish and fish habitat. We keep a close watch on Canada’s marine protected areas, where our focus is on protecting marine species and habitat, from the smallest aquatic creatures right up to and including whales.
We also do some pretty specialized intelligence work, including surveillance and undercover work.
A big part of the job is interacting with the fishers on a day to day basis. And one of the best parts of the job is when we work with kids, helping the next generation see the value our marine environment and why its future must be protected.
FO #2: I got into this line of work initially because I love the outdoors and I care about the environment and that was my starting point… then I got all the training I needed.
FO: 2: And that training is VERY thorough. You learn pretty quickly that being a fishery officer is physically and mentally demanding.
FO #1: But the work is exhilarating and rewarding.
Everywhere we go, and in all that we do, our focus is doing everything we can to protect Canada’s future.
If you’re passionate about the fisheries and the environment…
and you want to make a difference…
this is an amazing career with real potential.
The working environment for fishery officers can be demanding.
Physically, you’ll be exposed to noise, heat, cold, snow, rain and diesel fumes. You’ll often wear heavy protective equipment like soft body armour (weighing up to 20 kg) while:
- climbing ladders
- boarding vessels
- hiking over hazardous terrain
Land, air and sea patrols may last hours or days, and your job could be spent outdoors or in an office or vehicle.
The work may require:
- shift work
- disruptions to your routine schedule
- long periods of isolation from family and community
You’ll need to be mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with confrontational and sensitive situations, including the potential for use of deadly force. As a fishery officer, you’ll be trained to face these kinds of challenges and be ready to tackle any situation.
Full job expectations are available for fishery officers.
If you’re applying to be a fishery officer, you must be:
- prepared to apply force to protect yourself, your colleagues or the public
- able to confront and de-escalate situations before the use of force is necessary
- willing to abide by a code of values and ethics that applies to your life outside the hours of work
- law-abiding and willing to uphold the spirit and letter of the law in your dealings with others
- comfortable with working in isolated regions of the country for extended periods of time in all weather and climate
If you’re a successful applicant, you’ll attend a 16-week in-residence training program. This program includes:
- mandatory exposure to pepper spray
- learning to use a service pistol and shotgun
- 9 weeks of physically demanding enforcement exercises
Check your suitability for the job.
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