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Proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act to ensure New Zealand continues to meet its international fisheries obligations

Update – 27 February 2023

Cabinet papers and related documents released

Cabinet has given policy approval for the amendments to Part 6A of the Fisheries Act, which will strengthen New Zealand’s international fisheries compliance and management regime.

These legislative amendments will improve:

  1. the monitoring and regulation of New Zealand-flagged vessels operating outside New Zealand waters
  2. New Zealand’s capacity to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
  3. the high seas fishing permitting regime for fishing operators and decision-makers
  4. the efficiency and effectiveness of actions against fisheries violations.

Strengthening New Zealand’s International Fisheries Regime – Cabinet paper [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Appendix 1 – List of activities that constitute the undermining of the effectiveness of international conservation and management measures [PDF, 695 KB]

Appendix 2 – Regulatory Impact Statement: Amendments to Part 6A of the Fisheries Act 1996 [PDF, 3.6 MB]

Appendix 3 – Letter from Legislation Design and Advisory Committee [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Strengthening New Zealand's International Fisheries Regime – Cabinet minute (ENV-22-MIN-0041) [PDF, 730 KB]

Strengthening New Zealand's International Fisheries Regime – Cabinet summary (ENV-22-SUB-0041) [PDF, 743 KB]

Submissions released

Bird Life International [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Deep Sea Conservation Coalition [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ Inc [PDF, 1 MB]

Environmental Law Initiative [PDF, 2.7 MB]

Greenpeace Aotearoa [PDF, 1.3 MB]

High Seas Group Incorporated [PDF, 1 MB]

New Zealand Law Society [PDF, 832 KB]

Oceana [PDF, 696 KB]

Seafood New Zealand [PDF, 771 KB]

Te Ohu Kaimoana [PDF, 950 KB]

Individual submission [PDF, 1.4 MB]


Background to this consultation

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) sought your feedback on legislative proposals to improve the delivery of New Zealand's international fisheries management and compliance obligations through the Fisheries Act 1996.

New Zealand's high seas fishing regime is set out in Part 6A of the ActPart 6A:

  • implements the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement
  • implements the 1993 FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Compliance Agreement
  • provides the framework for implementing conservation and management measures approved by regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs).

What was proposed?

MPI wanted feedback on a range of proposals, including:

  • tightening and clarifying the rules for authorising and revoking fishing permits on the high seas
  • strengthening the monitoring of New Zealand vessels fishing in other states' waters
  • clarifying and strengthening penalties for New Zealand vessels breaking international conventions, including making it an offence to engage in activities prohibited under international commitments, including operating or supporting listed illegal fishing vessels
  • allowing for foreign flagged vessels suspected of illegal fishing on the high seas to be detained in New Zealand ports to enable inspection.

Full details of the proposed changes were in the consultation document.

Consultation document

Proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act to ensure New Zealand continues to meet its international fisheries obligations [PDF, 1.1 MB] 

Related document

Review of the Fisheries Act 1996 against New Zealand's International Obligations and Related Market Requirements [PDF, 2.1 MB]


Submissions are public information

Note that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make submissions available unless we have good reasons for withholding them. That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.

MPI may post all or parts of any written submission on its website. We'll consider that you have consented to its publication, unless clearly stated otherwise in your submission.