Studying Environmental Science led to a career as a Fisheries Officer

Studying Environmental Science led to a career as a Fisheries Officer

Tim always knew he wanted to work on the water so he chose to study Environmental Science at university, where he was introduced to the AFMA Observer program. This launched him into a career in fisheries where he is now a Senior Fisheries Officer. To celebrate National Science Week, we chatted to Tim about his work as a Senior Fisheries Officer and why science and technology are key to AFMA’s work.

  • What first interested you in science and/or marine studies/natural resources?

    I come from a maritime family with family members involved in commercial fishing, fisheries research and Merchant Marine.  I’ve always enjoyed being on or around the water, particularly with a fishing rod, and have been interested in the management of fisheries from a young age. Fisheries management offers great rewards and great challenges as the resource is of a complex commons nature, with a large social licence element, and is undertaken by largely regional communities.
  • What did you study at university?

    Bachelor of Environmental Science, Majors in Marine and Freshwater Biology and Physical Geography, at Monash University.
  • How did you come to work at AFMA?

    I met an American PhD Student while I was at university who was undertaking his PhD on marlin ageing using AFMA Observer collected data. He suggested that if I was interested in a career on the water then the AFMA Observer program would be a great opportunity.
  • What is your current role at AFMA?

    I am currently a Senior Fisheries Officer in National Compliance Operations, based in Lakes Entrance. Previously I have undertaken roles in the Observer Program, Foreign Compliance Policy and Foreign Compliance Operations, including a stint on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.
  • How is science and/or technology important to your day to day work?

    Having an in depth understanding of the science behind fisheries management decisions enables Fisheries Officers to effectively communicate with fishers about the importance of complying with the required regulations, and provide feedback to managers on possible improvements to the permit conditions that underpin the sustainable management of AFMA’s fisheries. Technology is increasingly important in fisheries monitoring across AFMA’s fisheries with the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems, reviews of Electronic Monitoring footage, and electronic logbooks an almost daily occurrence. Accurate weather forecasting has aided in better decision making in planning and executing compliance operations.
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