Fisheries Officer

In South Africa, approximately 312 million kilograms of fish are consumed each year through formal markets supplied by commercial fisheries. Additionally, many coastal communities fish for subsistence and recreationally for domestic consumption. Increasing consumer demand, pollution and impacts of climate change threaten both fish stocks and the marine ecosystems that sustain them. Sustainable fishing practices can secure the integrity and quality of South Africa’s marine and coastal ecosystems.

Fisheries officers inspect fishing vessels, gear, licenses, permits and catches to ensure compliance with fisheries laws and regulations. They check fish quantities and size sold in markets and processing plants and enforce regulations for juvenile and spawning fish. Some are also involved in fish stock recovery operations for species at risk of decline or that are endangered. Fisheries officers further provide advice on sustainable fishing practices.

Fisheries officers work closely with national environmental and law enforcement protection agencies in surveillance and enforcement. They sometimes work in harsh physical and sometimes even hostile environments. They can work aboard fishing vessels for long periods, returning to an office environment to report on fishing activities.


Fisheries officers need to have a sound knowledge of fish species and a comprehensive understanding of the laws and regulations that govern the fishing industry, coupled with: 

  • High level of attention to detail
  • Physical stamina 
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication competence


Identify and classify the biological and environmental characteristics of marine and estuarine fish species

Report on activities for subsistence, recreational and commercial fishing

Enforce compliance of fishing regulations and laws

Communicate and advise external bodies, stakeholders and the public


B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at RU 

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Marine Biology at UCT and UKZN

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Biological Sciences specialising in Botany or Zoology at all universities

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Marine Science at CPUT


National, provincial and local government in coastal areas.

NGOs, community-based and development organisations and private consultancies.

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