Requirements for fishing in New Zealand waters
To fish commercially in New Zealand waters you must:
- register (or have already registered) to be a FishServe client
- hold a commercial fishing permit
- hold quota or have access to annual catch entitlement (ACE)
- use a registered New Zealand vessel that is on the Fishing Vessel Register
- keep records and regularly report catch, fishing effort, and landings
- not discard or abandon QMS fish in the sea (with some exceptions)
- land catch to approved licensed fish receivers (with some exceptions)
These are legal requirements that you must follow. If you don't, you could be prosecuted. The requirements come from the Quota Management System (QMS), and the Fisheries Act 1996.
Processing fish at sea
If you're a commercial fisher and process fish at sea, you need to:
- understand "conversion factors" (for converting processed weight of fish to unprocessed weight)
- use unprocessed weight (greenweight) when completing QMS landing returns
- understand the food safety and animal welfare requirements.
Check restricted fishing areas
Commercial fishing is restricted (banned) in some areas of New Zealand's ocean. To check where fishing is restricted, use our online mapping tool.
Requirements for fishing on the high seas
The high seas (international waters) are areas of the ocean that aren't a part of any country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). To fish commercially on the high seas, you need a high seas fishing permit.
You might also need to meet some other requirements.
MPI and FishServe – who does what?
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) monitors, manages, and regulates fisheries:
- in New Zealand
- on the high seas (under international arrangements).
We manage New Zealand fisheries and fish stocks under the QMS.
FishServe provides administrative services for the fishing industry, the Crown, and MPI. Services they administer include:
- fishing permits
- fishing returns
- registration of fishing vessels
- Crown-held ACE and quota tenders, ACE and quota transfers
- invoicing and receiving fees and charges.
Who to contact
If you have questions about commercial fishing requirements, email email@example.com