Future of our Fisheries

The Future of our Fisheries work programme is expected to make significant improvements to how our fisheries are managed.

Major shift planned for fisheries management

As part of our dedication to growing and protecting New Zealand, MPI has launched a major work programme to improve the way we manage our fisheries.

Called the Future of our Fisheries, it will make significant enhancements to fisheries management. The programme involves 3 projects:

  • The Fisheries Management System Review: Includes 3 priorities for our fisheries policy programme over the next 2 years:
    • maximising value from our fisheries
    • better fisheries information
    • agile and responsive decision making.
  • Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS) – regulatory change: Proposed electronic reporting of catch and fishing activities by commercial fishers. Plus monitoring and verification using automated geospatial position reporting and automated on-vessel cameras.
  • Enabling innovative trawl technologies (EITT) – regulatory change: Proposed regulations to allow innovative trawl gear to be approved for commercial use.

The Cabinet paper that sought approval for new regulations allowing IEMRS (Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System) and EITT (Enabling Innovative Trawl Technologies) was released on 24 April 2017. Regulatory impact statements were released on 29 May 2017 (IEMRS) and 30 May 2017 (EITT).

What won't change

Based on the Fisheries System Management Review, the following elements are considered out of scope for this work programme:

  • the purpose of the Fisheries Act (to provide for the utilisation of fisheries resources while ensuring sustainability)
  • the Crown's obligations under Treaty settlements and the rights and interests of tangata whenua, including customary management
  • the right to fish for recreation
  • the key Quota Management System (QMS) tools, including the rights associated with ownership of quota.


To ensure MPI’s approach is on the right track, MPI held a public consultation from 11 November to 23 December 2016. As part of this, MPI met with tangata whenua and held 15 public consultation meetings across the country.

The Future of our Fisheries team is now analysing the responses from the hui, public meetings and written submissions. The feedback received will help shape the Future of our Fisheries work programme.

Partnership with Māori

Tangata whenua are inextricably linked to New Zealand’s seas and fisheries by whakapapa and through the exercise of kaitiakitanga over marine resources. Uniquely, tangata whenua have interests in all fisheries sectors – customary, recreational and commercial. Tangata whenua are also partners with the Crown in managing customary non-commercial fisheries.

The 1992 Deed of Settlement and the Settlement Act have confirmed the rights and interests of tangata whenua in fisheries. Tangata whenua have a central role in the sustainable use of New Zealand’s fisheries resources.

MPI will continue to work in partnership with tangata whenua in the development of the Future of our Fisheries work programme.

Technical Advisory Group

A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been appointed to give expert, independent advice on the draft work programme to the director-general of MPI.

The group has wide experience in many fishery sectors and a deep understanding of the importance of a sustainable future for New Zealand’s oceans. Members include:

  • Sir Rob Fenwick (Chair) 
  • Harry Burkhardt
  • Graeme Sinclair
  • Lesley Campbell 
  • Graham Stuart.

TAG terms of reference [PDF, 888 KB]
TAG members biographies – Beehive website

Next steps

MPI is reviewing all information received and will be preparing a work programme for the Minister’s review in 2017. The work programme will then go to Cabinet.

Cabinet has approved proposals for the 2 regulatory changes for an Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), and Enabling Innovative Trawl Technology (EITT). Regulatory changes for both IEMRS and EITT are expected to be in place later in 2017. For IEMRS, it is expected that geospatial position reporting and electronic catch and activity reporting will be introduced on all commercial fishing vessels from 1 October 2017. Video monitoring will be phased in from 1 October 2018. MPI expects to work with key stakeholders to ensure the regulations meet intended objectives and are fit for purpose.

For other aspects of the Future of our Fisheries work programme (maximising value from our fisheries, better fisheries information and agile and responsive decision making), MPI will do more consultation.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about the programme, email fisheries.review@mpi.govt.nz

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