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Your fisheries – your say


Video – Your fisheries, your say (1:40)

Fisheries New Zealand is consulting on proposals to reshape, improve, and modernise the management of New Zealand’s fisheries to enhance sustainability and improve incentives for good fishing practice by commercial fishers. Hear from Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash about this consultation. 

[Hon Stuart Nash, Minister of Fisheries] My name is Stuart Nash.

I'm the Minister of Fisheries, and I need your input on a really important issue that we're facing at the moment.

[Footage of seaside locations and boats.]

Our ocean is a precious resource.

It carries great cultural value for the way we think about ourselves and our country. In purely commercial terms, the oceans account for more than $4 billion in exports and employ about 16,000 people.

But they're also really important for recreation. They're where we go in summer to swim.

If you're a recreational fisherman, you throw a line off the side of a boat and you catch a feed for your mates and your family.

But what we need to do is look at how we're managing our oceans for the 21st century.

We need to use modern technology to ensure we get the right information in a timely manner.

We need laws and compliance processes to support sustainable fisheries now and for future generations.

[Footage of seaside locations and boats.]

So what we're doing is we're putting out a discussion document.

If you're a commercial fisherman or woman, if you're out there every day working hard to feed your family, this impacts on you.

Or if you're a member of an environmental group and you know about what's happening in our seas.

It's about all New Zealanders.

[Footage of commercial fishing vessels in port.]

We all have a stake in seeing our marine environment carefully managed and protected, and that's why I need to hear from you.

Please have your say.

 [Karl Warr, Better Fishing, Napier]: Have your say.

 [Kevin Hague, Chief Executive Officer, Forest & Bird]: Have your say.

 [Aria Parker, designer and contemporary Māori artist]: Tukuna mai au whakaaro.

 [George Elkington, fisher from Mana]: Have your say.

 [Graeme Sinclair, recreational fisher]: Have your say.

[Footage of seaside locations.]

[Voiceover:] Ko tā mātou e whai nei, kia tiaki i ā tātou taonga matahiapo, e puta ai ngā hua nui ki te ao.

 [Caption: We commit to the careful and sustainable use of our precious resources to provide products of value to the world.]

 [Title card: Your Fisheries - your say.] [Voiceover]: Your fisheries – your say.

For more information or to make a submission go to

[End of transcript]

What is proposed?

Fisheries New Zealand is looking at proposals for:

  • amending the rules for commercial fishers that set out what fish must be brought back to port, and what fish can be returned to the sea
  • ensuring effective and fair offences and penalties
  • streamlining the decision-making process for setting catch limits
  • technical fisheries management changes.

Why are we proposing change?

Our fisheries management system is based on quota for commercial fishers, and allowances for recreational and customary fishers. When this was introduced it was seen as a bold and innovative system that set a new international standard for effective and efficient fisheries management.

But our system has not kept pace with changes in science and technology, or with the growing interest of New Zealanders and global consumers in where their food comes from. People want greater assurance that our fisheries are sustainable.

While our system has not remained static, changes have largely focused on single issues and have not always taken a broad view of the system and fisheries. This has left areas of inconsistency and complexity in the rules and means our system is not driving good fishing practice as effectively as it could. For example, unnecessary waste of fish and relatively low levels of investment in innovation.

Why your feedback is important

Your feedback will help inform possible policy and regulatory change and ensure we are working to protect our fisheries and marine environment for future generations.

Informed by your feedback on the proposals in this consultation, a later stage will be to consider and consult on appropriate options to improve our monitoring and verification capabilities for commercial fisheries.

These proposed changes will help set us up to explore future steps: enhancing an ecosystem-based approach to managing our marine environment, investing in innovation, and empowering local communities to have greater involvement in the decisions that affect them.

Consultation documents

Summaries of the proposals

Questions and answers

We've prepared answers to some questions you might have about the consultation and what’s proposed.

Questions and answers

Minimum legal size proposal explained [PDF, 357 KB]

Example of innovation in action

Find out about Karl and Sarah Warr's use of an innovative trawl technique

Attend a public meeting

You are invited to attend public meetings to find out more, ask questions, and share your views. Feedback from the meetings and hui will be captured and analysed along with formal submissions.

If you can't attend one of the meetings, download the presentation:

Your fisheries – your say meeting presentation [PDF, 259 KB]

Schedule of public meetings

11 February Whangarei   Forum North, 7 Rust Avenue 6pm to 8pm
12 February Auckland Sudima Hotel Auckland Airport, 18 Airpark Drive, Mangere 6pm to 8pm
13 February Tauranga Trustpower Baypark, 81 Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui 6pm to 8pm
18 February Nelson Monaco Resort, 6 Point Road, Monaco 6pm to 8pm
19 February Christchurch Atrium In The Park, 455 Hagley Avenue 6pm to 8pm
20 February New Plymouth Plymouth International Hotel, 220 Courtenay Street 6pm to 8pm
21 February Wellington Fisheries New Zealand, Charles Fergusson Building, 38 Bowen Street 6pm to 8pm
26 February Dunedin Edgar Centre, 116 Portsmouth Drive 6pm to 8pm
27 February Napier Napier Conference Centre, 48 Marine Parade 6pm to 8pm
28 February Invercargill Civic Theatre, 88 Tay Street 6pm to 8pm

Make your submission

You can make a submission online, by completing a form, by email or post. Submissions close at 5pm on 17 March 2019.


Submission form

Download and complete this form [PDF, 371 KB]

Email or post

Email your form or other feedback to

While we prefer you use email, you can post your submission to:

Your fisheries – your say
Fisheries New Zealand
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140
New Zealand.

Submissions are public information

People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) so your submission may become public. The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have a good reason for withholding it.  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. Note that any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.