Commercial fishing vessel registration
Vessels need to be registered to fish commercially in New Zealand waters. Find out about the requirements, how to apply to register, and what to do for foreign-owned vessels.
How to apply to register your fishing vessel
There are 3 steps to registering your vessel as a commercial fishing vessel.
- Register your vessel as a New Zealand ship
- Get a FishServe client number (or update your details)
- Register your vessel on the Fishing Vessel Register
The steps are the same for:
- New Zealand-owned vessels
- foreign-owned vessels (FOVs).
However, FOVs have different registration requirements to New Zealand-owned vessels.
Visit the Maritime New Zealand website to register.
If you don't already have a client number, you'll need to register with FishServe and complete an application form.
To find the right application form that you need, check the "Clients" section on FishServe's "Forms" web page.
Or, update your FishServe details
If you already have a client number, and you need to update your details, contact FishServe.
FishServe manages the Fishing Vessel Register on our behalf. You can apply to register your vessel with them either:
- online (if you've registered for FishServe's Online Services)
- by completing an application form.
The form you need will depend on:
- the size of the vessel, and
- whether the vessel is foreign-owned.
To find the form that you need, check the "Vessels" section on FishServe's "Forms" web page.
What to expect after registration
Once your vessel is registered, FishServe will give you a certificate of registration. It'll show your vessel’s registration number. Details will be entered into the public Fishing Vessel Register.
Vessels that are registered in a foreign country cannot fish in New Zealand waters. To fish, foreign-registered vessels need to:
- register as a New Zealand ship with Maritime New Zealand (also called re-flagging), then
- register as a commercial fishing vessel with FishServe.
When you apply to register a FOV, we check for:
- past fisheries offences by anyone involved with the vessel
- any issues with:
- fisheries management
- vessel safety
- compliance with maritime rules around:
- discharge of waste material.
Why your vessel must be flagged to New Zealand
Re-flagging ensures that all vessels operating in our waters have to follow New Zealand law around:
- maritime safety
The requirement that FOVs must be flagged to New Zealand was introduced in 2016. This happened after a ministerial inquiry into foreign charter vessels. The re-flagging rules involve:
- the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
- Immigration New Zealand
- Maritime New Zealand.
Find out more
New functions for fisheries observers [PDF, 660 KB]
Who to contact
If you have questions about registering your vessel as a New Zealand ship, contact Maritime New Zealand:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone (outside NZ) +64 4 473 0111
- phone (in NZ toll free) 0508 22 55 22
If you have questions about registering your vessel on the Fishing Vessel Register, contact FishServe:
- Contact us – FishServe
- phone +64 4 460 9555
If you have questions for MPI, email email@example.com