Support for commercial fishers and the seafood sector

Fisheries New Zealand understands there are many challenges faced by fishers, aquaculture farmers, their whānau and communities. Find out about regional and national services that can provide help and advice with health, wellbeing, and making business decisions.


For advice and information freephone the COVID-19 helpline on 0800 77 99 97.

Or visit the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website:

Industry advice and guidance

Seafood New Zealand – COVID-19 information

Aquaculture New Zealand – COVID-19 resources

Financial relief for your business and staff

Wage subsidies and leave payments – Work and Income

Tax relief and income assistance – Inland Revenue

You can also freephone Work and Income on 0800 40 80 40.

Managing your mental wellbeing

A free, confidential, and independent fisher wellbeing service is available for commercial fishers. It's run by an ex-commercial fisherman and his team. It's open for calls between 7am and 10pm.

Outside of these hours, phone or text 1737. If it’s an emergency, phone 111.

Other mental health advice and support services

Support within the fishing industry

Before making significant decisions that will impact your business, we recommend that you get in touch with your local or regional networks in the fishing industry.

New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild

This is the fishers’ union that represents individual commercial fishing workers (as individuals). They offer a number of benefits to members and their website contains a wide range of information, including details of tertiary institutions providing pre-employment and industry training.

New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild

New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen Inc

This is a national body that represents the interests of owner-operator commercial fishers in New Zealand. The Federation represents members' interests at national, regional, and local association levels and, where appropriate, on an individual basis.

New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen Inc

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand

This non-profit organisation was established by quota owners, ACE holders and fishers to work together to advance their interests. Its mission is to provide dynamic and transparent leadership, inform decision making and actively engage with members, officials and other stakeholders.

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand

Te Ohu Kaimoana

Te Ohu Kaimoana Trust (the Māori Fisheries Trust) is the representative organisation that works to protect iwi and Māori customary and commercial interests in fisheries and the marine environment. The trust provides advice to, and is guided by, the recognised iwi organisations, to protect and enhance the interests of iwi and Māori in fisheries-related activities. 

Te Ohu Kaimoana

Aquaculture New Zealand

This is the national representative organisation that brings together members from the mussel, salmon, and oyster farming sectors as the single voice for New Zealand aquaculture. Its purpose is to support and protect the industry, provide leadership and advice, and foster partnerships to enable growth.

Aquaculture New Zealand

Changes to your business

It’s important to remember that there are many agencies that can help to prepare and support your business through challenging times, and help it to grow. We have listed some organisations that can offer business support and advice. This may be financial advice to help you make key decisions about your future, or essential business skills that could lead to improvement in your current practices, or allow you to grow or transform your business for the future.

Māori Business Growth Support

A service from Te Puni Kōkiri. If you identify as Māori and your business is an independent entity based in New Zealand, this service can provide you with business support, advice, and connections. Its focus is mainly on small to medium-sized enterprises.

Māori Business Growth Support

Business Mentors NZ

Business Mentors New Zealand Limited is a not-for-profit organisation committed to helping businesses when they need financial help, or are experiencing issues innovating and staying productive, or are determined to grow.

Business Mentors NZ

Regional Business Partners Network

The Regional Business Partners Network can give you a whole-of-business view on your business and help you connect with the right resources and experts so you can build capability and grow. They are a national network of people who can provide help when you want to grow your enterprise efficiently and effectively.

Regional Business Partners Network

Other support services

A number of Government and other agencies also provide information and services relating to business and employment.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

MBIE has information to help you explore alternatives to support your business, including finding ways to turn around your finances.

Getting financial advice –

Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue has information for businesses that are making a loss, including how you can use a loss to reduce future taxable income.

My business is making a loss – Inland Revenue

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ)

WINZ is the branch of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that offers support services for businesses that experience any change, such as downsizing. They can work with you before and after business changes to help your employees with any transition.

How we can help – MSD

WINZ also has information on Jobseeker Support. You can apply for Jobseeker Support online. FishServe can help with any permit holder-related questions (like providing evidence that a fishing permit has been cancelled if you need this).

Heartland Services

Heartland Services is a branch of MSD that helps people living rurally with a wide range of government services. There are 28 Service Centres around the country. You can access services and information there, and arrange meetings with government agency representatives.

Heartland Services

Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)

The CAB offers free, confidential, independent information and advice to New Zealanders. They cover topics like employment and business, money, and health and well-being. You can search for topics on their website, visit a local branch (no appointment needed), or call them on 0800 36 72 22.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Fisheries New Zealand

Help and support is also available from Fisheries New Zealand. Phone 0800 00 83 33 and ask for one of our fisheries team to contact you.

Technology providers

Are financial constraints are making it hard for you to buy the equipment you need to carry out electronic catch and position reporting? Talk to technology providers to see if they can offer payment options.

Technology providers

Industry innovation

It’s important to consider what changes to the fishing industry might mean for your business.The fishing industry is constantly adapting to change, and MPI has initiated the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) to fund transformative programmes.

SFF Futures

Worried about your own or someone else’s mental well-being?

Reach out to your usual supports – family and whānau, friends, and workmates. Sharing how we feel and offering support to others is important. We also recommend sticking to a routine such as having regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and exercising.

If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional.

The best place to get help is your general practitioner (GP) or local mental health provider. Each district health board (DHB) website includes a list of local mental health service providers.

If you prefer to talk to someone else:

Fisher wellbeing service

A free, confidential, and independent fisher wellbeing service is available for commercial fishers. It’s run by an ex-commercial fisherman and his team.


  • 0800 54 33 54 (0800 LIFELINE).
  • Or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7).


Depression Helpline

Freephone or text 1737 any time

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