Support for commercial fishers and the seafood sector

Find out about New Zealand services that can provide help and advice with health, wellbeing, and making business decisions.


For advice and information on COVID-19, call the COVID-19 helpline on 0800 77 99 97

The New Zealand Government COVID-19 website has help and advice for employers:

Businesses – Unite against COVID-19

Industry advice and guidance

Seafood New Zealand has advice to help you:

COVID-19 information – Seafood New Zealand

Financial relief for your business and staff

Work and Income:

  • might be able to help if you lost a job
  • has support for employers.

COVID-19 supports – Work and Income

You can also call Work and Income on 0800 40 80 40

Mental wellbeing support

A free, confidential, and independent fisher wellbeing service is available. It's run by an ex-commercial fisherman and his team. It's open for calls between 7am and 10pm at 0800 23 74 38

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

Other mental health advice and support services

Support services

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Support from in the fishing industry

Before making bigger decisions that will affect your business, we recommend that you get in touch with your networks in the fishing industry. These could be local or regional. We have information on some of them to help you, and their contact details.

New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild

New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen Inc

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand

Te Ohu Kaimoana

Aquaculture New Zealand

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. Their website has information which includes details on pre-employment and industry training offered by education providers.

Qualifications – New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild

Contact Us – New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild

New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen Inc

This organisation represents the interests of owner-operator commercial fishers in New Zealand. The Federation represents its members' interests at national, regional, and local association levels. Where possible, it also represents its members' interests at an individual level.

New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen Inc

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand

This non-profit organisation was established by:

  • quota owners
  • ACE holders
  • 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.

Contact Us – Fisheries Inshore New Zealand

Te Ohu Kaimoana

Te Ohu Kaimoana Trust (the Māori Fisheries Trust) is a representative organisation. It 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. It aims to protect and enhance the interests of iwi and Māori in fisheries-related activities.

Who we are – Te Ohu Kaimoana

Aquaculture New Zealand

This is the aquaculture industry's national representative organisation. Its members come from the mussel, salmon, and oyster farming industries. Its purpose is to:

  • support and protect the industry
  • provide leadership and advice
  • foster partnerships to enable growth.

Aquaculture New Zealand

Changes to your business

There are many organisations that can help you prepare and support your business through challenging times and help it grow.

We've listed some organisations that can offer business support and advice, including:

  • financial advice to help you make key decisions about your future
  • essential business skill advice that could help improve your current practices
  • essential business skill advice to help you to grow or change your business for the future.

Māori Business Growth Support

You can use this service if:

  • you identify as Māori
  • your business is an independent entity based in New Zealand.

The service can provide you with:

  • business support
  • advice
  • connections to help you.

Its focus is mainly on small to medium-sized enterprises. This is a service from Te Puni Kōkiri.

Māori Business Growth Support

Te Puni Kokiri

Business Mentors New Zealand

Business Mentors New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation. It helps businesses when they:

  • need financial help
  • are experiencing issues innovating and staying productive
  • are determined to grow.

Business Mentors New Zealand

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. This national network of people can provide help when you want to grow your enterprise efficiently and effectively.

Regional Business Partners Network

Other agencies providing support services

These government and other agencies provide information and services around business and employment.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

MBIE has information to help you explore other ways to support your business. This includes finding ways to improve your finances.

Getting financial advice –

Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue has information for businesses that are losing money. This includes 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). It 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. For example, they can help if you need to give evidence that a fishing permit has been cancelled.

Jobseeker Support – Work and Income

Contact FishServe

Heartland Services

Heartland Services is a branch of MSD. It 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, health, and wellbeing. 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. Call 0800 00 83 33 and ask for one of our fisheries team to contact you.

Technology providers

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

Electronic catch and position technology providers

Industry innovation

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

Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures

Worried about your mental wellbeing, or someone else’s?

Reach out to your usual supports – family and whānau, friends, and workmates. Sharing how you feel and offering support to others is important.

If you feel you are not coping, it's 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 has a list of local mental health service providers.

Find your local DHB website – Ministry of Health

There are other support services you might find helpful too.

Fisher wellbeing service

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

Call 0800 23 74 38 (between 7am and 10pm)


Call 0800 54 33 54 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)


Call 0800 94 28 78 (0800 WHATSUP) (from 12pm to 11pm) or chat online (from 3pm to 10pm):

Depression Helpline

Text 4202 or call 0800 11 17 57

Call or text 1737 any time

Last reviewed: