Day in the Life Feature- Stephen O’Donoghue Fishery Officer in Bantry in South Western River Basin District

What does a typical day in the life of a Fishery Officer look like?

I start at the time I’m rostered to start and I go about my daily chores which could be coastal patrol, estuary patrol, river walks checking spawning spots and its basically an outdoor job all the time.

Did you always want to be a Fishery Officer and what persuaded you to become one?

So I always had a keen interest in fishing and I grew up right next to the ocean and along riverbanks and farming along riverbanks. It was always a keen interest of mine and I suppose now with people being more conscious of the environment and climate change I was interested in that side as well so it feels like you’re doing your part for the environment and protecting our fish stocks.

When did you decide you wanted to be a fishery officer and how did you get started?

I did criminal justice studies in college and when I came out of college I saw on public jobs the seasonal campaign for fisheries officers had started and having that interest in fishing I decided then that I would pursue it and that’s how I got into it.

What is your favourite thing about the job?

My favourite thing about the job is being outdoors all the time and no two days are the same it’s an ever changing dynamic in the job where you could be out walking along the river bank one day and you get to meet new people every day. The ever changing role of the job is what keeps it interesting and that’s my favourite part about it.

Stephen O'Donoghue
Stephen O’Donoghue

What is the most challenging thing about the job?

I suppose the most challenging thing would be dealing with different members of the public, although it’s only a small part of it really and unsocial hours you can be working late shifts, night shifts and weekends but it’s okay because it’s always changing as well.

What do you think are the most important skills needed for this position?

I suppose team work is very important, getting along with your team and having that team work ethic to achieve results. Communication is vitally important too, communicating with members of the public along with your team and communicating with your line managers. Communication and team work are the most important skills to have.

What in your opinion is the biggest challenge facing the fisheries resource?

Pollution I suppose is one of the biggest challenges we face and identifying and educating people on pollution. Illegal fishing off shore and in rivers is another big challenge. They are the two main things we deal with to try and protect the fisheries resources we have.

What is the most interesting thing you have discovered or seen in your job?

I suppose the most interesting thing you would see is when the year starts and you see the salmon coming up the river. They make their way up in floods and at the end of the year you get to see them spawning. Watching the whole process of the salmon’s journey is one of the most interesting things that I have seen in the job so far. It’s quite rewarding and there’s a sense of achievement when you get to see them spawning far up the river at the end of their journey.

What are you most proud of in your working life?

Getting a full time position here in fisheries is what I’m most proud of.

What do you do in your spare time to unwind?

I suppose fishing and farming would be the two things I do to unwind.

What would you say to someone thinking about a career in fisheries?

I think the seasonal campaign is a very valuable experience, it’s a stepping stone into a career especially if you’re into the outdoors and fishing. In six months you get to see whether you like the job and you gain a lot of knowledge of the position.

Inland Fisheries Ireland are recruiting for Seasonal Fisheries Officers, to find out more about the roles and how to apply, visit