Electronic catch and position reporting

What commercial fishers need to know about electronic catch and position reporting.

Commercial fishers must report electronically

All commercial fishers must report their catch and position electronically. Trawlers over 28m began reporting electronically in October 2017. Electronic reporting was rolled out in stages across all remaining commercial fisheries during 2019.

Technology options

Check our technology guidance and find a provider

Check your FishServe details

To ensure you can report electronically, check that your details are correct in FishServe.

  • You need to authorise all personnel who report, view, or manage event returns on your behalf.
  • Fishers providing reports on your behalf need to set their privacy setting to allow you to view their fishing locations.
  • Make sure the type of e-logbook you use is listed.
  • Make sure your position reporting device is registered.

How to report

Reporting catch and landings

You need to do a trip start and trip end report.

There are also 5 different fishing event reports that must be recorded, completed, and provided to FishServe separately.

Fish catch report: An estimate of your top 8 species. For trawl fishers, report the top 5 quota management system (QMS) species and top 3 non-QMS species. All other methods report the top 8 species whether QMS or not. Must be completed within 8 hours after fishing.

Capture of non-fish or protected fish species report: Reports any non-fish and protected species caught for that fishing event and must be provided with the corresponding fish catch report. If caught when not fishing, for example, while steaming, you must provide a report before the close of the day on which the permit holder became aware of the capture.

Processing report: For vessels that process their catch on board. These must be completed and provided before the close of the day:

  • following the day covered by the report, or
  • on which processing finishes if it is done over more than one day.

Disposal report: Information on all fish not landed. A disposal report is required for each fishing event where fish are disposed unless the vessel is submitting processing reports. In this case, they submit a disposal report covering the same period as the processing report.

Landing report: First, submit a detailed inventory of your catch when you land. Then update the report when you have the confirmed green weights from your licensed fish receiver.

Monthly harvest returns

Monthly harvest returns must be provided electronically.

Reporting position

Position reporting obligations fall on:

  • the vessel operator and master when using a vessel, or
  • a commercial fisher when no vessel is being used. 

When a permit holder on a vessel begins using electronic catch reporting, the vessel operator and master must begin position reporting at the same time. This means that both electronic catch and position reporting would begin on a vessel at the same time. 

If your technology fails

If you discover that your electronic catch or position reporting technology is not working during the course of a fishing trip, contact your technology provider so they can try to fix the issue.

If you don't think you will be able to meet your electronic catch or position reporting requirements because the issue will take some time to resolve, contact MPI by phone: 0800 00 83 33, or by email: NCC@mpi.govt.nz.

Your provider will confirm the details of the issue with your technology with MPI to ensure the smooth processing of any requests for assistance.

You can contact a third party (such as your partner or an employee) to relay a message to MPI on your behalf (for example, using VHF radio).

Check what's required when reporting a technology failure [PDF, 74 KB]

Exemptions from electronic catch or position reporting

You can apply for an exemption from the electronic catch or position reporting requirements if you can show that you are unable to meet them.

Check the exemptions process

Guidance and support

Video overview

This video covers material from a series of workshops with commercial fishers, held during the rollout of electronic reporting in 2019.

Slide: No audio

Slide: Sustainable fisheries that provide for all our people, now and in the future.

Narrator: Thanks for joining us today. This workshop is intended to help you confidently make the switch to electronic reporting.

Slide: Agenda

Kia Ora. Today, we’ll be walking you through some of the key elements of electronic catch and position reporting, including what your requirements are, how to report, technology and cost options, data security, compliance, how we can help, and we’ll endeavour to answer your questions.

Slide: Why electronic reporting?

We know that the switch from paper to electronic catch and position reporting is a big deal. There’s a lot to get your head around, like choosing the technology you’ll need and getting to grips with how it works as well as how it changes the way you work.

Today is about helping you get prepared and feeling ready for those changes, but it’s also worth re-capping why we’re asking you to do this.

There are three main things electronic reporting helps with.

Errors are reduced, and those that do occur are easier to correct.

We get more accurate information more quickly.

Gathering more and better quality information, and reducing the effort needed to do that.

This allows us to make better fisheries management decisions, and we all want the same thing there – sustainable fisheries now and into the future.

Slide: It’s more accurate

In terms of errors, paper reporting leads to quite a few – as many as 17% of paper catch reporting forms submitted have errors. That’s basically 1 out of every 6 forms. These errors often include things like the wrong year, vessel name, client number, and invalid fish stock codes, and they all have to be fixed.

An electronic device for reporting catch can help by automating information about you, and letting you select consistent options from menus when reporting on things like fish stocks.

Slide: Second part of It’s more accurate

We know that error rates for daily electronic reporting are much lower – coming in at about 4%, and generally, these errors are much easier to correct – you can do it directly online with FishServe, rather than the current system that sees your forms posted back and forth for correction through the post, which can take weeks or even months.

Your catch reporting technology will let you know almost immediately if our system detects an error. We’ll cover all of this in more detail in a while.

With position reporting, all the information is sent automatically, so all you need to do is turn the device on at the start of a trip (and make sure it’s working), and off at the end.

Nothing else is required in-between, so this is less of a problem from an errors point of view.

Slide: It’s quicker

Electronic reporting also means information can be sent with the push of a button, so the delays we see with paper reporting, which can take up to three or four months before it’s all confirmed and locked in, can be radically reduced.

We’ve adjusted the required timeframes for reporting to take advantage of this. But it’s important to remember that if you make a mistake in your reporting, you have up to fifteen days to correct it, and that’s much easier to do online rather than by post.

But remember too, that you have always been required to record your catch daily – what’s different now is that you will have to send in that information daily as well. So of course, that means you have no option but to fill it in as you go, that is, while you’re out fishing.

And honestly, that isn’t nearly as big a deal as it sounds. Just last week, we were talking to a fisher who has been trialing one of the technology products. He hated it at first, but after a couple of improvements made by the tech provider, he can’t rave about it enough. He’d found that it was faster and easier and there are loads of clever ways you can manage the technology’s presence on your vessel to make it easy to report in real time.

Slide: It’s better

Electronic technology also means it’s much easier to get good information: it’s easier to report more accurately, and there’s more of it. While the core of what we’re asking for with electronic reporting isn’t different from what’s on paper forms, there’s an opportunity to gather more detail without it taking more effort.

Experience from elsewhere has shown that electronic reporting does improve reporting behaviour too. For example, electronic position reporting can give us more accurate information on where fishing is happening.

Likewise, electronic catch reporting can give more detail about what’s being caught, in terms of the range of species generally, and things like protected species.

Slide: Second part of It’s better

When it comes to decisions about sustainable ranges and in-season increases, this better information could be useful for some of the stocks that haven’t been scientifically evaluated. There are over 200 of these and they account for nearly 30% of NZ’s total catch, so it is important that we are able to assess them.

Another important point to make is that we’re not talking about information from individuals being more useful for but that the extra information across a whole fishery can be useful for fisheries management in time. All this should lead to real day-to-day benefits, for you as well as for us.

Slide: It’s better for everyone

Such as: Reporting itself takes less time and effort; you spend less time fixing errors.

There’s an opportunity to benefit from intelligence that technology providers may build into their systems.

And as for the benefits for us – having better quality and timelier catch and position information is useful for two main reasons; we’ll get a much clearer picture of what’s happening in our fisheries, so we can make better and more informed decisions about how to manage them; we can be more focused and responsive in our compliance efforts, so that we’re working with the fishers who we need to be working with, and not those who we don’t.

We do recognise that it will likely take a bit of time to learn how to use your new technology and get used to a different way of working though, so now we’ll spend time on how you

will actually report electronically…

Slide: How to report

In this section, we’ll talk about the reporting process in terms of what to do to get ready to report; the types of event reports and what they contain; the on-board reporting processes and also what to do after you have landed your catch, because we recognise that the move to electronic reporting means there will also be changes in the way you carry out follow-up work, such as updating landing reports with LFR information.

What happens if your reporting devices stop working is another important topic that we’ll cover in more detail shortly.

We’ll be referring to a few leaflets and guides that give more detail about the things we’ll talk about now, and we understand that there’s a lot of information here. These leaflets and guides are all available on our website.

Try not to be overwhelmed by it and remember that once you’ve been reporting electronically for a while you probably won’t need to refer to the guides very often, if at all.

Slide: Rollout

The roll out of electronic catch and position reporting for all remaining fishers is happening in 8 stages throughout 2019, and you will have had letters from us by now informing you which stage you are in.

It’s important to understand what we mean by ‘can report’ and ‘must report’ – you have the option to start reporting electronically from the ‘can report’ date, because the system will be set up to accept your electronic reports from then, but you actually have until the ‘must report’ date, by law, to start. We’re doing it this way so that you can choose the best time for you within that date range to start reporting electronically.

New permit holders need to note this – in the FishServe system you’ll see yourselves as being in stage 9. In fact you must start reporting electronically straight away. The term stage 9 is just for the convenience of FishServe’s system and doesn’t relate to the table shown here.

Slide: Leaflet

You are going to have quite a lot to do with FishServe, both in preparation for electronic reporting and once you are up and running, so this is a good time to tell you a bit more about what you will need to do in the preparation phase. All that information is taken from this leaflet, which you’ll get later. Just before that though, do note that you might be able to set up an opportunity to test equipment with providers and FishServe.

And there’s something really important to explain about making the switch from paper to paper to electronic reporting.

Slide: Can/must dates

Don’t be put off by this diagram, it’s really just to show you that if you start a trip reporting on paper, you’ll finish reporting that trip on paper, even if your LFR invoice comes through once you’re supposed to be reporting electronically – you’ll still update your paper return in this case.

In this example, a stage 5 fisher has a can report date of 1 August and a must report date of 1 September. They can keep reporting on paper up until the first of September. They go out on a 5 day trip on 28 August, and they started that trip on paper. They return to port on 2 September - after their must report date.

In this instance, they will finish that trip on paper, and they must start reporting electronically on their next trip. There won’t ever be a situation where you do part of your trip reporting on paper and part electronically.

Slide: FishServe

So, going back to the support you will get from FishServe…

They will be in touch in the months and weeks before your ‘can report’ date to guide you through the process of updating your details and to make sure you’re familiar with what’s new in FishServe’s Online Services portal on their website. You might hear people refer to this as ‘Kupe’ sometimes.

Your GPR device must be registered with them, and you have to provide details of your e-logbook too. But apart from registering GPR devices, FishServe doesn’t have involvement in any other part of the position reporting process - GPR data comes directly to MPI from your tech provider.

It’s really important to point out that you MUST have all the right people authorised with FishServe, like your wife, if she does your landing report updates, or your son if he skippers for you sometimes. Anyone, basically, who is involved with reporting your fishing activities.

Slide: FishServe dashboard

The screen behind me shows what you’ll see when you log into Fishserve’s portal. Even if you’ve never logged in before, there’s a good chance you’re already set up to use Fishserve Online Services, and you just need to give them a call to find out how to use it.

If you are a company or trust, or if you need to set up other people to report on your behalf, the process is explained in the leaflet.

You’ll see on the right hand side of the screen, FishServe have created a special section highlighting your readiness for electronic catch and position reporting. Later on, we’ll talk about other important tasks you’ll need to do online through FishServe’s website, such as amending your landing reports with LFR details.

Slide – blank

But first, as an overview to the actual reporting process, we’ve put together a short video that briefly explains the reporting process from start to finish. The video is available for you to watch again at any time on the Fisheries New Zealand website. After we’ve watched it, we’ll talk about the contents in more detail.

Video inserted here

Electronic catch and geospatial position reporting – what’s changing for fishers?

The expansion of a new electronic catch and position reporting system to cover all of New Zealand’s commercial fishers will see a number of changes to what, when and how

reporting is done. One of the key changes is that instead of using paper forms, you’ll provide the information electronically.

This information will be organised in a different way and will be reported in near real time. There will also be some changes to the information you’re asked to report. The aim is to make reporting as easy as possible.

All reporting will now be event based. Each of the separate fishing events you might carry out will have its own distinct report… beginning with a trip start report… which you complete when you depart.

There will be a fish catch report. In most cases you’ll need to estimate the top 8 species, whether quota management system or non-quota management system.

A capture of non-fish or protected fish species report.

A processing report…which will only be required by factory vessels.

A disposal report will be used to record all fish used… or returned to the sea, or put into or taken from holding pots at sea.

The landing report is similar to what you provide now. First you’ll submit a detailed inventory of your catch when you land, and then you’ll update the report once you have the confirmed green weights from your licensed fish receiver.

A trip end report is completed when your fishing trip ends… such as arrival back to port.

There will be 3 simple steps to reporting.

You’ll have to record or fill in the details, complete which means to confirm the recorded information, and provide which means to send or transmit the information for each event


The timings for recording, completing and providing your reports are set in the regulations, which you’ll find on our digital monitoring web pages. It’s important you’re familiar with what you need to record, complete and provide, and when. To help with this, we’ve developed a handy day in the life tool, to guide you through your reporting requirements for each event. You’ll find this day in the life guide on our website.

With the introduction of electronic catch reporting, you will record, complete and provide all your event data on a portable device like a tablet, iPad, laptop or PC or some kind of ruggedized e-logbook. 

Your position reports will be sent automatically.

We’re working with technology providers so they can develop the right devices and software for you. Whichever device you choose, it must include a software programme that has been specifically designed for the new reporting system. You can then work with technology providers to find the right devices and software to suit your type of fishing method, vessel or conditions you operate in.

Each technology provider is likely to have a different screen layout and way of prompting you for the information required.

We’ve developed a checklist of key things you should consider when choosing technology, which you’ll find on our website.

Along with an electronic catch reporting device, every commercial vessel will be required to have a working geospatial position reporting device on board. You may be able to use a GPR device already on your vessel or it may be integrated with your electronic catch reporting device.

If you don’t have a GPR device or it’s not compatible with your e-logbook, you’ll need to buy a GPR device.

If you’re a land based fisher, you must also carry a GPR device.

Before starting electronic catch and position reporting, you’ll also be given information about what to do if you’re unable to complete or provide event or position reports due to an accident, mechanical or technical failure.

For further information visit fisheries.govt.nz/ereporting or email us for more information.

Slide: Report types

As you saw in the video, a trip is now described in terms of seven event reports.

There are some changes to the information you’ll be asked for in event reports, however overall here isn’t a huge difference with what you’ve been reporting on paper returns. Essentially, catch information from the one or two forms (a CELR, for example) that you used to fill in is now spread across five specific events reports.

You’ll also have to do a Trip Start and a Trip End report but these are quickly and easily reported at the push of a button.

Slide: next part of Report types

In terms of timings, the trip start and trip end will be provided immediately, at the push of a button.

The 5 in the middle, which relate to your catch, generally have to be provided within a matter of hours, or by the end of the day you finish an event. These new timings are obviously a very important part of what you need to learn, but they are clearly set out in lots of the places in the charts and guides you’ll be given.

There is no need to provide a nil catch/effort return any more, so if you don’t fish in a month, you’ll only have to do an MHR.

Slide: Record/complete/provide

You heard the words record, complete and provide several times in the video: recording information simply means filling in the event report; completing it means pressing a button that confirms the report is finished and authorised, and providing it means actually sending it in to FishServe.

I mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again; permit holders must make sure that all their data is up-to-date in FishServe’s system, because this data is crucial – if it’s not correct, (for example, if you haven’t authorised the correct people to complete and provide the report) you’ll find that you can’t provide event reports.

Slide: Guidance materials

All the crucial information you need to be able to carry out electronic reporting, according to the law, is covered in this flip book, which will be freely available to all fishers.

You can pick up a copy at your local fishery office, or download a copy from www.fisheries.govt.nz/ereporting.

It’s printed on sturdy semi-waterproof paper so that you can keep it with you when you’re fishing.

It’s going to be really important for you to spend time reading the flip book because it contains summaries of all the event report types, and details of when you must provide them, along with other useful hints and tips. It also walks you through how to fill in a Fish Catch Report step by step. It does this for all fishing methods, and the intention is that you only keep the pages that apply to you.

And once you’re familiar with the new system you probably won’t even need to look at it at all any more.

Slide: next part of Gguidance materials

We’ve put together some other guides to really help you in the early days, such as this Day in the Life poster. We suggest you put it up in a wheel house, if you have one, or have it somewhere handy to help you become familiar with the new event reports.

It shows the key parts of the whole reporting process from end to end in one diagram.

Slide: next part of Guidance materials

There is also a briefer, sticker version of the chart in your pack, which you could stick in your wheelhouse or somewhere handy, such as the back of your e-logbook. It just has the ‘what to record’ information and what to do in case of device failure and we’ll talk about that important topic later.

Slide: next part of Guidance materials

The flip book is your best friend. We don’t have time to go into the myriad of different fishing methods and the variations for reporting each catch report here today, but we’ve included everything you need to know in this flip book. Get it, read it, take it to sea with you.

Slide: Error messages

Error messages are part and parcel of the digital world, and I’ll try to be clear now when I talk about the two types you might receive.

The first relates to the information you type in to your e-logbook while you’re out on a fishing trip. If you miss something off or it’s really obviously wrong, the e-logbook won’t let provide an event report. You’ll have to fix it in your e-logbook before you can provide it successfully to FishServe.

The second type of error is data that is found to be incorrect after it’s gone into the FishServe database and these errors are fixed inside the FishServe portal.

Slide: Errors on e-logbook

With that first type, what will happen is that an event report will be bounced back to you as soon as you try to provide it and your e-logbook should show an error message to say what’s wrong, like you’ve missed out a greenweight estimate.

Think about internet banking, if you don’t put in a long enough account number, for example, it won’t let you proceed with the payment. This is the same sort of thing. If you make an obvious mistake in your report, it won’t let you submit it.

In this example, imagine you have completed all the other fields correctly, but forgotten to add information in two fields of a form. The system tells you you’ve forgotten it by highlighting it in red, but that will vary from device to device. You simply add in the correct information and suddenly the submit button becomes available.

The crucial thing is that you need to make sure you provide reports within the timeframes set out in the regulations, so with this first type of error you’ll need to sort it out pretty much straight away.

Slide: FishServe error messages

Once your report has successfully been provided to FishServe, their system will check it against a set of data rules and may flag particular issues – this is the second type of error message you might get. You’ll get an email about this type of error very quickly but you will have 15 days to sort it out, so you don’t need to worry about correcting information in the middle of the night, or the fact that you probably don’t look at emails when you’re at sea.

The email will say something like ‘report not accepted’ and the reason why – like one of the examples on screen. You will need to update the report with that missing or incorrect data and send it back to FishServe.

This is basically the same as when FishServe used to send paper returns back because you’d missed something off the return or they couldn’t read your writing. We’ll talk about how you do that in a moment, because it involves going into FishServe’s online portal.

First though, we’ll cover off what happens if your reporting devices stop working.

Slide: Device failure

Clearly, it’s extremely important that you know what you must do if your technology stops working, either before or after you’ve gone fishing. But although it’ll take a few minutes to explain the whole process, which might seem clunky and long-winded, it’s actually been designed this way so that there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to keep fishing if something goes wrong with your tech. So bear with me here.

The first important point to make about this is that you should always check if your equipment is working before you start your trip. We cannot emphasise the importance of this enough.

Then, if you discover that your catch or position equipment isn’t working, you’ll have to contact your technology provider first to see if they can fix the issue. If you expect you won’t be able to meet your obligations under the Regulations because of a device issue that the tech provider can’t fix immediately, then you must contact MPI’s National Communications Centre on 0800 00 83 33 to report the problem.

Slide: NCC question list

You’ll have to have a substantial amount of information available before you call, but most of this stuff you’ll know off the top of your head. It’s only once you get down to here – alternative methods – that you have to be a bit more prepared.

So, name of the vessel operator and master, name of permit holder.

Name of vessel and registration number.

What date/time did you first notice the device was not working properly?

You know the answers to these questions.

What is the issue with your GPR and/or e-logbook?

What is the make of the device?

Has this occurred previously in the last 3 months?

If so, how many times?

Has your service provider been notified?

How long has the service provider indicated it will take to fix the problem?

Again, this is information you already know.

How long is your current trip?

Where are you intending on fishing?

What species are you targeting?

See? Easy. You know these answers as well.

Do you have an alternative method of recording catch or position data? Well, let’s have a chat about that one now.

Slide: Direction

It is extremely important to stress that you must not start fishing until you have been granted a Direction to fish, and it is not guaranteed that you will be granted one when

you call. As far as alternative means of recording are concerned, your tech provider might have something useful for you.

Otherwise, paper versions of event reports can be downloaded from the forms section of FishServe website and you should keep spare copies of these forms with you when you fish as a backup in case you need them. These are basically ‘business continuity plans’.

You can record your position data using a backup device (such as a smartphone app or your plotter). You could also enter the time, date, longitude and latitude into a spreadsheet than can be provided by MPI when we issue a direction, if this is convenient for you.

But remember, just because you have a backup plan in place, doesn’t mean you can use it without a Direction from us. Any Direction issued will be emailed to the email address held by FishServe and you must meet all conditions of a Direction if you wish to continue to fish. This includes providing all data electronically to MPI or FishServe when you return from the trip.

A Fishery Officer may contact you after you return to ensure that you are compliant with the Direction. A full description of the processes for e-logbook and GPR device failure is included in the back of the electronic catch and position guide book, and the main points are also on your sticker, so you’ll be able to have them close to hand at all times.

Slide: Failure after departure

It is possible that there will be a problem with a device after you’ve already departed. Your obligation under the regulations is to let MPI know as soon as you become aware of the problem.

It is ok for you to contact a third party (for example your partner or an employee) by some means (for example via VHF radio), so that they can relay a message to MPI on your behalf. If they do this, they’ll be asked the same list of questions that I’ve mentioned just now, in regards to getting a direction to continue to fish. This means you’ll have to make sure they have all of the answers to hand before they contact MPI on the 0800 number.

This will also work if the problem occurs before departure.

Slide: After you land leaflet

So, to go back to FishServe for a minute and wrap up this section.

Doing electronic catch reporting also means you’ll have to make some changes to the way you deal with paperwork relating to your fishing operation. Fisheries New Zealand and FishServe have prepared this leaflet to guide you through some of the new administrative processes that you’ll need to know about once you’re not doing paper returns any more.

For example, instead of updating a paper form with weight details supplied on an LFR invoice and then sending the completed form to FishServe by mail, you’ll now have to enter the weights directly into their online database. The process for registering yourself and other authorised people to access FishServe’s portal is also explained in this leaflet.

These are the people who can do the ‘fix within 15 days’ type of errors.

Slide: Technology options

We’ve talked a lot so far about how you have to report, but most of that information will make more sense to you once you’ve actually seen what the e-logbooks, GPR devices and reporting software look like. We recommend you visit fisheries.govt.nz/ereporting to find out what technology options are available and get in touch with the providers for a demonstration of their equipment.

Slide: Tech leaflet

Fisheries New Zealand has also developed a technology solutions guide that highlights the key questions you need to ask yourself about your fishing operation, as well as questions to ask the technology providers when you speak to them. You should take a look at it when you are considering your options and it will really help you settle on a solution that best fits your situation. It’s available at fisheries.govt.nz/ereporting.

So what’s this all going to cost?

Right now, a number of providers are finalising their products and prices so we don’t have a definitive answer for you about costs today. It’s also highly likely that things will change in the coming weeks and months. So unless you’re in stages 1 or 2, you can probably hold off making any purchasing decisions straight away and really take the time to think about your options. But I do encourage you to have a chat to them about both the upfront and ongoing costs when you talk to them. 

What we do know from our own research is that the prices are trending down, and there are some significant myths about the cost of transmission out there, and we’re confident that these myths will be busted by the technology providers over the next month while they finalise their offerings.

Slide: Protecting your info

We understand that commercial fishers’ knowledge is valuable, and electronic catch and position reporting means that you’ll be providing detailed information on what you catch and where you catch it. We also know that this is a major concern for some fishers.

An important part of this talk is reassuring you that government has mechanisms in place to protect your data and the next couple of slides might bust myths about how we deal with information collected through electronic catch and position reporting.

We’ll keep it as short as possible, because…

Slide: Privacy leaflet

… We’ve put together this guide to outline the ways you can safeguard your valuable information and the steps Fisheries New Zealand takes to protect your private and commercially sensitive information you provide. The overall message is that there are things that both you as a fisher and MPI as the regulator can and should do to protect your data.

From the point of view of what you can do, it might first help to understand the path your data will take.

Slide: Where does my data go?

With electronic position reporting, the information goes directly from your tech provider to MPI. And with electronic catch reporting, the information you provide is sent securely from your e-logbook to FishServe, which receives it on behalf of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

When it comes to keeping data safe, it’s a good idea to think about electronic reporting in the same way as you would any other important online activity, like internet banking.

Again, the guide gives you some hints and tips about this, and it’ll be especially useful to read this if you haven’t done much in the way of online activities before. You should also ask technology providers about their security and privacy solutions too and our guide highlights some of the questions you can ask. The guide is available online.

Slide: Government security

We take security seriously and have well-tested systems in place to protect private and commercially sensitive information collected through electronic catch and position reporting. We’ve reviewed and updated our controls too, to be sure that we’ve got the right ones in place now that this reporting change is happening, and will continue to review our security and privacy policies and procedures regularly, to make sure that they are always fit for purpose.

We’ve also updated our guidelines for any release of any information that happens because of our obligations under the Official Information Act and Privacy Act.

Slide: OIA

If we do have to release information, we take steps to protect your data.

For example, we may limit location data to one degree of accuracy, limit date and time data to month and year and exclude information that could be used to identify any vessel, person or company. Of course all information held by Fisheries New Zealand is official information and any New Zealander can request to see it, but all OIA requests are considered on a case by case basis and we seek to protect commercial and private information received from fishers, even as we balance the public interest.

Again, there is more information on that in this leaflet.

Slide: Compliance in the electronic era

At the beginning of the session today, it was highlighted that one benefit of having better quality information more readily is that it will allow us to be more focused and responsive in our compliance efforts. However, in essence, the way that compliance works will not change dramatically.

Slide: Legislation

As before, everything we do is based around the relevant legislation, but we understand that bringing in new legislation is always a challenge. The new regulations do create new infringements, which largely relate to when the reports must be completed and provided, so it’s very important that you become very familiar with those timeframes in particular. These are highlighted in our ‘electronic catch and position reporting guide’ along with a lot of other useful information that is available to you today or later on the MPI website.

Our goal, as MPI officers, is to help you make the transition to operating under the new rules around event reports as smooth as possible, so we will continue to use the graduated intervention model that we’ve always used, where appropriate.

Slide: Communication is key

The critical thing for you to understand is that good communication is essential if you think you might have an issue that will prevent you from reporting as required.

You need to get in touch with MPI through the NCC on the number shown on this slide as soon as possible if you think that there is an issue. They will make an assessment and help you start working through the process to avoid breaching your obligations and potentially incurring a penalty. This might include putting you through to your local office if the issue is not related to an equipment malfunction.

Being compliant with electronic catch and position reporting is a good way to see less Fishery Officer contact for those reporting issues in the future.

Making sensible choices will help too - for example, if you choose to buy a device that only works on the cellular network even though you know that you’ll be consistently fishing outside cellular range, that’s not going to be an excuse for sending in your reports late.

It’s already been explained that there’s guidance to help you with this sort of thing, so take advantage of the opportunity to talk to the tech providers and MPI staff, to help you get prepared as best as possible.

The main thing to point out about the way Compliance works is that we have steps in place to help you stay compliant if you have an issue. It’s the same process we’ve previously used, it’s just that now we have slightly different considerations because of the new technology that you’ll be using and the tighter reporting timeframes involved.

And targeted and random checks will continue to be a part of the way we work. 

It’s really important to point out that our intervention model is not rigid; every compliance issue is always considered on a case-by-case basis, which is why, again, it is so important that you communicate with us immediately if you think you need help to comply. If you take all reasonable steps to be compliant, and keep us in the loop, it will be better for everyone.

Slide: Where to find help

There are lots of resources available to help you make the switch from paper to electronic reporting.

FishServe is always on hand to ask questions about registering devices and how to report electronically, and we’ve developed various resources discussed in this workshop – they’re all available on our website.

Slide: Resources

The digital monitoring web pages are on the Fisheries New Zealand website fisheries.govt.nz/ereporting. This is where you’ll find the video you watched earlier, and another that gives a more information of the digital monitoring programme.

You’ll also find links to download the leaflets discussed today and to the day in the life and landing codes posters, which are also available in Te Reo Maori, as are the two videos.

FishServe also has a wealth of information on their website, fishserve.co.nz, and they should be the first place to go for help with event reports.

Regional Fishery Offices will also keep copies of the information we’ve discussed today.

And email enquiries can be sent to digitalmonitoring@mpi.govt.nz

[End transcript] 

Further guidance

Guide to electronic catch and position reporting [PDF, 2.1 MB] – Electronic catch and position reporting information for use while fishing.

A day in the life guide [PDF, 824 KB] – A one-page, high-level guide to your daily reporting requirements

What happens after you land your catch [PDF, 469 KB] – A guide to managing your records electronically, using FishServe Online Services

How-to video  – Electronic catch and position reporting: What's changing for commercial fishers?

Protecting sensitive information

You may be concerned about what happens to the information collected from digital monitoring.

We understand that your fishing knowledge is valuable. We have well tested systems and tools in place to protect private and commercially sensitive information.

Download our guide on protecting information collected through electronic reporting. It outlines what we do to protect sensitive information, and what you can do when you choose and use electronic reporting devices.

Protecting information collected through electronic reporting [PDF, 306 KB]

Guidelines for the release of fisheries information [PDF, 359 KB]

Privacy impact assessments

In 2020 a privacy impact assessment (PIA) was undertaken on electronic catch and position reporting.

PIAs are an essential part of many projects and proposals. They can help agencies or businesses:

  • identify the potential risks arising from their collection, use, or handling of personal information
  • find out if they are meeting their legal obligations and appropriately safeguarding the personal information they hold.

This PIA ensures we are respecting our customers and putting them at the centre of how we manage their information.

A 2017 PIA addressed potential privacy issues specific to digital monitoring (previously called IEMRS).

Electronic catch and position reporting – privacy impact assessment (2020) [PDF, 2 MB]

IEMRS – privacy impact assessment (2017) [PDF, 7.7 MB]

Answers to your questions

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I'm a day fisher and might not be in cellular phone range for part of my fishing trip.

Does that mean I must have a satellite solution for electronic catch reporting?

Not necessarily. If you're a day fisher, and you do not have cellphone or Wifi coverage where you start and end your fishing trip, you may be able to complete and provide your 'trip start' and ‘trip end’ reports while you are still in coverage for example, at home. You have until midnight of the same day to provide your catch event reports so typically these are not a problem to provide on time.

To do this you'll need to complete the form to request a delay in reporting, and send this to your local office. Include as much of the information requested as possible. A local fishery officer will consider your request and may issue a Regulation 45 direction under the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017.

You will need to record and complete the necessary information while you're fishing and provide the relevant reports once you’re in coverage again e.g. where your eLogbook can access your home cellphone or WiFi network again.

Why am I receiving electronic reporting error notices?

FishServe makes automated checks of all electronic trip and catch reports shortly after each report is received. When the checks show errors, you’ll get a message notifying you of them. There will be a request for you to review and correct them as necessary. 

Can I update my landing report before I receive an LFR invoice?

You can update your landing report with the actual greenweight of your landed catch before you receive an LFR (Licensed Fish Receiver) invoice. LFRs must provide you with greenweight information within 15 days, but they can send the associated invoice later.

What electronic reporting checks should I make before leaving port?

Doing the following checks before you leave port will help you avoid some common issues with electronic reporting:

  • Ensure you have a manual way of recording catch and position on-board, in case you need it.
  • Finish all the start-up steps on your FishServe dashboard, including registering your position reporting device and confirming authorised users who can complete catch reports.
  • Make sure you're completing and providing your 'trip start' and 'trip end' reports when your vessel is in port. This will ensure you comply with legislation.

Also remember that if you're testing your electronic catch reporting equipment before your 'must report' date, make sure you're not sending live reports to FishServe. Ask your tech provider for test environment advice.

Do I have to pay for the cost of transmitting position reporting data?

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) agreed to absorb (and not cost-recover) the position reporting transmission costs from 1 October 2018 to 30 June 2019, to help smooth the transition process.

From 1 July 2019, MPI stopped covering the cost of transmitting electronic position reports. After 1 July 2019, vessel operators pay the cost directly to their service provider.

Talk to your position reporting service provider about charging arrangements. Or, if you haven’t chosen a provider, consider this in your decision-making.

What if I'm a seasonal fisher and I did all my fishing for 2019 before I was supposed to start electronic reporting?

If you finished all your fishing for the fishing year/season before your 'must report' date, you will need to make sure you are ready to start electronic catch and position reporting from the time when you begin fishing again.

Do I have to send position reports every 24 hours when I'm not on a fishing trip?

It is not a requirement under the new regulations that position reporting devices transmit a position report to MPI every 24 hours when they are in port. ‘Port mode’ relates to the Vessel Monitoring System that was in use before new electronic position reporting became mandatory. The reference to ‘port mode’ format requirements remains in the Circular since some historical VMS (GPR) devices are still in use and might have this capability.

Who to contact

If you have questions about electronic reporting:

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