Requirements for NZ commercial fishers
New Zealand fishers must meet a number of requirements to fish commercially in our waters and on the high seas. Find out what you need to do.
What you need to know
New Zealand commercial fishers need to be aware of the requirements under the:
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)
If you don't meet these obligations, you could be prosecuted.
Processing fish at sea
If you are a commercial fisher and process fish at sea, you need to:
- be aware of conversion factors (for converting processed weight of fish to unprocessed weight)
- use unprocessed weight (greenweight) when completing QMS landing returns
- be aware of any food safety and animal welfare requirements.
Find out more
- Conversion factors
- Fisheries (conversion factors) notice 2014 [PDF, 3 MB]
- Seafood food safety
- Rock lobster and other crustacean welfare
Fishing on the high seas
To fish commercially on the high seas – areas of ocean not covered by any country's exclusive economic zone – you need a high seas fishing permit.
Fisheries New Zealand and FishServe – who does what?
We monitor, manage and regulate fisheries in New Zealand and on the high seas (under international arrangements). We manage New Zealand fisheries under the Quota Management System – monitoring and controlling fish stocks.
FishServe administers most commercial fisheries services (on our behalf) including:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org