Future of our Fisheries

The Future of our Fisheries is a programme to ensure the sustainable economic, social, and cultural value of New Zealand’s fisheries. Find out about the changes, what’s staying the same, and the consultation process.

Consultation on regulation amendments

We’re consulting on proposed amendments to regulations to support digital monitoring and innovative trawl technologies in the commercial fishing sector. Consultation closes 6 June 2018.

Sustainable fisheries for every New Zealander

Recreational, commercial and customary fishers around New Zealand rely on our fisheries for employment, kai, and the pleasure of going fishing. It's our role to make sure that all of our fisheries are managed sustainably. The Future of our Fisheries programme is strengthening the fisheries management system to ensure the sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries.

The programme will ensure that we have:

  • accurate and up-to-date information about commercial fishing activity to inform our fisheries management decisions
  • the right policy settings to ensure the value that all New Zealanders get from our fisheries is sustainable.

Digital tracking, reporting and monitoring of commercial activity

The first major step in the programme is the development of a new digital system for tracking, reporting and monitoring commercial fishing activity. This system will replace the current methods for reporting, and provide a way to verify that reporting is accurate.
Commercial fishing boats will be required to have:

  • electronic reporting (ER) of catch via an e-logbook – so we can quickly and accurately measure commercial catch effort
  • geospatial position reporting – so we can verify (when used with ER) where and when fishing happened 
  • electronic monitoring (on-board cameras) – so we can verify what is being reported. Note: The Minister of Fisheries is considering options for electronic monitoring implementation and no decisions have been made yet.

Innovative trawl technologies

We've made changes to regulations to allow the use of innovative new trawl technologies on commercial fishing boats. These new nets will have less impact on the environment, and can reduce by-catch of undersized fish, seabirds, and mammals.

After the regulations came into effect on 1 October 2017, industry and Fisheries New Zealand identified a number of practical issues. We are now consulting on technical amendments to resolve them. 

Policy changes

Alongside regulatory changes, we're making sure that fisheries management policy settings are right for the future. The programme is split into 3 sections: short, medium and long-term.

The short-term work is looking at the policy settings needed to support the implementation of digital monitoring and innovative trawl technology projects. 

Find out more

The Cabinet paper for IEMRS (Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System) and EITT (Enabling Innovative Trawl Technologies) was released on 24 April 2017. The Regulatory Impact Statements were released on 29 May 2017 (IEMRS) and 30 May 2017 (EITT).

The Privacy Impact Assessment for IEMRS was released on 10 November 2017.


Regulation amendments

We're consulting until 6 June 2018 on proposed amendments to regulations to support digital monitoring and innovative trawl technologies. These technical amendments are intended to be practical and workable for the fishing industry, and include a proposal to phase in electronic catch and position reporting for all fishers not currently using it. 

Future of our fisheries

We held a public consultation from 11 November to 23 December 2016 on the Future of our Fisheries consultation documents. As part of this, we met with iwi and held 15 public consultation meetings across the country.
Download the consultation documents:

Technical Advisory Group

A Technical Advisory Group provides expert, independent advice on the programme to the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The group has extensive experience across the fisheries sector, and a deep understanding of the importance of a sustainable future for New Zealand’s oceans. The members are:

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

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

What won't change

The following parts of the fisheries management system won't be changed as part of the programme:

  • the purpose of the Fisheries Act (to provide for the use 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.

Find out more

Who to contact

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

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