22 June 2018

So, you’re thinking about a career as an Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Fisheries Officer? Here’s the inside scoop.

Alan Specketer has been an AFMA Fisheries Officer for 12 years

I’ve been with AFMA for 12 years. I’ve woken to icebergs drifting past my porthole, walked the beaches of far flung tropical islands, crawled through a catch of decaying illegal shark fin on foreign fishing vessels, and shared some other amazing experiences with my colleagues along the way. I’ve completed patrols of our own waters alongside dedicated members of the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force, shared laughs and made memories with the crews on numerous foreign patrol vessels operated by AFMA’s international counterparts and I’ve communicated effectively with people on foreign boats that have non-English speaking backgrounds.

I’ve broadened the horizons of a farm kid from SA in ways that I never thought possible – I can and have been called upon to operate anywhere from Africa to Tahiti, and Hawaii to Antarctica, and can go from chasing shade in the tropics to needing ten layers of clothing off the southern coast of Australia in a matter of days.

You would struggle to find a more diverse and challenging work environment than ours! We can operate individually or as part of a team both domestically and abroad. We are a unique and adaptable unit – small in numbers, but immense in the global impact that we have against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. We partner with other Australian government and international agencies and personnel far and wide, but always with people that share our passion for saving the world one fish at a time! While I say that in jest, there is a real sense of pride and satisfaction in what we do as AFMA Fisheries Officers.

Our Fisheries Officers are as diverse as the role, but we all share a drive and determination to tackle our job and make a difference. We might be undertaking port inspections in Tasmania one week, and crawling below the decks of a foreign fishing vessel apprehended in the Australian Fishing Zone for illegal fishing the next. We might go from being on board a patrol vessel at sea to investigating an offence against Australian law and preparing a brief of evidence for presentation to the Courts, such is the dynamic nature of our work.

While the role sometimes requires working long hours in varied conditions, the reward is amazing – this small team in a little known government department is making a big difference on a global scale.

Yes, that’s right. Globally. You won’t get that anywhere else!

Life experiences are more important here than formal qualifications, and an ability to operate independently or as part of a small team are essential. If you like challenge, diversity, and development opportunities, and consider yourself to be determined, adaptable, dynamic and reliable I’d encourage you to find out more information on this demanding yet fulfilling role at afma.gov.au.


Alan Specketer

Senior Fisheries Officer, AFMA