Reasons why a special permit may be granted
Fisheries New Zealand can issue special permits under Section 97 of the Fisheries Act 1996. Special permits allow the permit holder to take fish, seaweed, or other aquatic life, for:
- eradication of unwanted aquatic life (like introduced pests or biosecurity threats)
- trials and experiments with fishing vessels or gear
- helping a person with a disability to fish by permitting alternative methods
- any other purpose that the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries approves.
A special permit can override any section of the Fisheries Act if the activities are:
- consistent with the purpose of the Act
- consistent with its principles.
We are not likely to issue a permit if your activity can be done through a legal pathway.
Special permits are not for customary fishing
Special permits do not apply to customary fishing areas and activities.
You'll need to contact the local tangata kaitiaki/tiaki (guardians) of an area to get:
- permission to take fish in a customary management area, or
- an authorisation for customary food gathering (such as kaimoana for a hui or tangi).
Activities under a special permit
A special permit could allow the holder to:
- fish in an area that is closed under regulations
- take undersized fish
- use restricted fishing gear or trial new gear
- use illegal fishing methods to eradicate or manage unwanted aquatic life (including freshwater).
Conditions may be imposed on a special permit
A special permit may include conditions on what you can and can’t do. Conditions might include:
- limiting areas where you can fish
- limiting the amount, size, or species of fish or other aquatic life you can take
- how you must dispose of fish or other aquatic life
- vessels and fishing methods you can use
- notifying Fisheries New Zealand before fishing
- what information you must report back to Fisheries New Zealand.
Time limits on permits
A special permit is issued for a specific time period. If a permit is approved, it does not grant any future:
- catch history
- individual catch entitlement, or
- other right under the Fisheries Act.