Our seafood industry sustainably harvests about 600,000 tonnes from wild fisheries and aquaculture each year. The value of this harvest ranges from $1.2 to $1.5 billion per annum, of which the aquaculture industry contributes about $200M per annum. Seafood exports consistently rank as New Zealand’s fourth or fifth largest export earner.

Read more about Commercial Fishing.

Foreign-owned fishing vessels in New Zealand waters

The New Zealand Government signalled a new regime for the use and operation of foreign-owned fishing vessels in New Zealand waters in May 2012.

The Government committed to a range of measures to ensure fair treatment of crews and vessel safety, and backing New Zealand’s reputation for sustainably caught seafood.

Implementation is being undertaken by a number of Government agencies, in particular the Department of Labour, Maritime New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries. This work is being overseen by a cross-agency group, led by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Much of the background work leading to this commitment was conducted by a Ministerial inquiry, which reported to the Government in February 2012.

Updates and Reports

We invite you to revisit this page periodically to view updates and reports on the transition process.

Reflagging of foreign-owned vessels

The Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) bill proposes that foreign charter vessels be reflagged under the New Zealand flag.  Although this is not currently required by law, a process for reflagging of foreign charter vessels already exists.

For more information please visit the Maritime NZ website, or contact Maritime NZ:


The Ministry for Primary Industries is proposing a number of changes to fisheries regulations in order to give effect to decisions relating to the Foreign Charter Vessel (FCV) review. Responses from interested parties about these proposed changes are sought. 

The closing date for the proposed changes to fisheries regulations to effect decisions relating to the Foreign Charter Vessel review has now been extended to 5pm, Friday 30 August 2013. For details on this consultation, please visit the consultations page.


Last Updated: 11 October 2013

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33