Licensed fish receivers

Only licensed fish receivers (LFRs) can receive fish from commercial fishers. Find out what LFRs do and their fish processing responsibilities.

What licensed fish receivers do

Only licensed fish receivers (LFRs) are allowed to receive fish for sale. They can also trade fish with other LFRs. Commercial fishers must sell their catch to an LFR (although they can sell small amounts – less than 10kg per day – on wharves). This restricts fishers' options for landing their catch, and means that fish can be tracked. Using LFRs reduces illegal fish trading and ensures that the Quota Management System (QMS) works effectively.

Find out about New Zealand's QMS

FishServe is our partner for commercial fishing administration. It provides information on LFRs and manages their responsibilities, including submitting forms and data.

Responsibilities of a licensed fish receiver

LFRs must give a monthly report to FishServe, which details:

  • who sold them fish
  • the species of fish they received
  • the weight of each fish species received.

LFRs must also carry out annual system audits and inventory returns.

They also have specific responsibilities if they trade in southern bluefin tuna.

How this reporting helps

This reporting means that catch declarations from commercial fishers can be checked against LFRs' monthly returns (LFRRs). This helps us manage fisheries and ensure sustainability.

Requirements for processing fish and seafood

LFRs that hold fish and other seafood for a short period may need to be a listed animal material depot.

LFRs that hold or process fish and other seafood may need:

  • a risk management programme under the Animal Products Act 1999
  • a food control plan under the Food Act 2014.

Being listed as an LFR does not allow you to process fish or seafood for trade.

Food safety and risk management in seafood and fish processing

Catch documentation scheme for southern bluefin tuna

Catch documentation schemes (CDS) involve checking commercial fishing catches at (or before) the point where the vessel lands. The process involves checking:

  • the origin of the caught fish
  • the weight of the caught fish
  • the species of the caught fish
  • imports and exports of fish and fish products
  • whether the fish was caught illegally.

The CDS which affects LFRs in New Zealand applies to all commercially caught southern bluefin tuna, including exports and domestic sales.

What LFRs need to do under the CDS

Under the CDS for southern bluefin tuna, LFRs must fill out a:

  • catch monitoring form
  • catch tagging form
  • re-export or export after landing forms

Below are examples of each form. Each year, we provide the real forms to LFRs who have previously landed southern bluefin tuna.

Catch monitoring form – example and instructions [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Catch tagging form – example and instructions [PDF, 695 KB]

Re-export-export after landing form – example and instructions [PDF, 809 KB]

Requesting forms

LFRs who have not previously landed southern bluefin tuna but wish to, or LFRs who need to request additional forms, can email

Validating forms

An authorised trade validator must validate all catch monitoring forms and re-export or export after landing forms. LFRs who trade in southern bluefin tuna usually have an authorised validator on staff to validate CDS documents.

Send a copy of completed forms to Fisheries New Zealand:

HMS Fisheries   
Fisheries New Zealand
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6011

At times, LFRs may also need to tag southern bluefin tuna.

Tagging southern bluefin tuna

Fishers (permit holders) or LFRs must tag every southern bluefin tuna that’s caught. In most cases, the fisher will tag the fish - but if the tuna don’t have a tag when they are landed, then the LFR will need to do this. The tag is an essential part of the CDS. Without it, southern bluefin tuna won’t be accepted into certain markets. 

Tagging fish

Find out more

Fisheries (Licensed Fish Receivers) Regulations 1997

Fisheries (Southern Bluefin Tuna catch documentation scheme) Regulations 2017

Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017

Fisheries (Recordkeeping) Regulations 1990

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the information on this page, email

Last reviewed: