Water bailiffs/fisheries officers maintain lakes and rivers and their fish stocks for legitimate recreational use. As part of the work, they face the challenges of dealing with ecological problems and breaches of the law.
Their role can be quite varied, depending on the employer and where they are located in the UK. A water bailiff/fisheries officer may be expected to:
The law relating to fisheries differs significantly between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, water bailiffs perform a similar function to the role carried out by gamekeepers on land, looking out for poachers and other lawbreakers. They have powers of search and arrest similar to those of police officers. They also undertake the following duties:
The powers and duties available to Scottish water bailiffs are restricted in England to those officers who have been appointed (granted a warrant) by the Environment Agency.
Water bailiffs/fisheries officers' core working hours are normally around 39 hours a week. However, they may work longer hours, including night shifts and weekends. In some locations, shifts are organised to cover every day of the year. Part-time and seasonal work is also possible.
Much of the work involves patrolling a specified, often remote area by car, boat or on foot in all weather conditions.
The job may involve some heavy physical work and, on occasions, the pursuit of offenders over rough ground. Bailiffs often have to wade in cold, flowing water wearing waterproofs, rubber boots or waders and lifejackets.
A full driving licence is usually required.
Starting salaries may be around £14,500 a year. With more experience, water bailiffs/fisheries officers may earn around £26,500 a year.
If promoted to a management post, water bailiffs/fisheries officers may earn £29,000 or more.
There are job opportunities across the UK. In recent years, there has been a slight decline in the number of water bailiff jobs in England. More water bailiffs work in Scotland than in any other UK country and job opportunities are increasing. There is strong competition for jobs throughout the UK.
In England, the Environment Agency employs fisheries officers to look after the waterways and surrounding areas. Some private water bailiffs carry out work for angling clubs, often on a voluntary basis.
Vacancies are advertised in local newspapers and on the websites of the Environment Agency and Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB). They are also advertised on the Countryside Jobs Service website.
In England, there are no set educational qualifications for fisheries officers.
The Diploma in environmental and land-based studies may be advantageous.
All applicants for water bailiff or fisheries officer work must pass a thorough medical examination. Many entrants have previous experience of angling as a hobby. Working as a voluntary water bailiff for an angling club may lead to a paid position in some cases.
The entry requirements for this job role may vary in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Contact the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) for further information.
The IFM organises correspondence courses leading to Certificates in Fisheries Management and in Fish Farming and a Diploma in Fisheries Management. These qualifications are recognised by many employers and entitle their holder to professional status within the Institute.
The Certificate in Fisheries Management provides knowledge to the level required for those working towards a career as a supervisory water bailiff or fisheries inspector. It also provides a sound knowledge for those interested in running their own fisheries.
The Diploma course is at a more advanced level and provides the knowledge for those aspiring to become fisheries managers in the water industry.
The units studied include:
- Freshwater biology
- Water quality and fish propagation
- Bailiffing duties
- Fishery maintenance and improvement
- Fishing methods
- Fisheries management, law and administration
- Fish husbandry
- Fish disease
- Recreation and amenity
There are also other qualifications that can be undertaken, such as BTEC First Certificates and Diplomas in fisheries management. These are available at a number of colleges throughout the country.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A water bailiff/fisheries officer should:
It may be possible within the Environment Agency to become a team leader or manager.
Water bailiffs can also move into related work in the environmental sector such as fish farming.
The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB),
CBC House, 24 Canning Street,
Edinburgh EH3 8EG
Tel: 0131 272 2797
Countryside Jobs Service,
The Moorlands, Goathland,
Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 5LZ
Tel: 01947 896007
PO Box 544, Rotherham S60 1BY
Tel: 0870 850 6506
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.