Fisheries Change Programme

The Fisheries Change Programme is working 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.

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 Fisheries Change Programme is an ambitious programme of work to:

  • strengthen and modernise the way we manage our fisheries
  • ensure the sustainability of New Zealand's fisheries.

The programme has 3 parts:

  1. Introducing mandatory electronic catch and position reporting to improve the collection and reliability of fisheries information
  2. Changing fishing rules and policies to make them simpler, fairer and more responsive, while also incentivising better fishing practice
  3. Improving monitoring and verification capabilities, including the use of on-board cameras, to better observe fishing practice.

Electronic tracking, reporting and monitoring of commercial activity

A major feature of the programme is the introduction of new technologies for the tracking, reporting, and monitoring of commercial fishing. We are replacing the current methods for reporting, and introducing:

  • electronic catch reporting via an e-logbook – so we can quickly and accurately measure commercial catch effort
  • electronic position reporting – so we can verify (when used with electronic catch reporting) where and when fishing happened
  • on-board cameras – so we can verify what is being reported.

Innovative trawl technologies

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

Policy changes

Alongside regulatory changes, we're making sure that fisheries management policy settings are right for the future.

Consultation: Your fisheries – your say

From 4 February to 17 March 2019, Fisheries New Zealand consulted on proposals to reshape, improve, and modernise the management of New Zealand’s fisheries to ensure more efficient and sustainable commercial fishing. The consultation looked 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.

We received more than 1800 submissions. This feedback will help inform advice to the Minister on possible policy and legislation changes.

Find out about the consultation


The Fisheries Change Programme had its foundations in the 2016 Future of our Fisheries consultation.

Find out more about the consultation

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.

Support for fishers

Fisheries New Zealand understands that there are a lot of challenges that fisheries, their whanau, and their communities face. Find out about some national and regional servcices that can help and advise on health, wellbeing, and making business decisions.

Find out about the support services

Related information

Who to contact

If you have questions about the programme, email

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