Transferring and releasing freshwater species
Find out how to apply to transfer or release freshwater species in New Zealand waters.
Moving species to existing and new locations
Fisheries New Zealand authorises the transfer of freshwater species to locations where they already exist. We do this by giving you an Aquatic Life Transfer Authorisation.
If you're transferring a species to a location where it does not exist, contact the Department of Conservation.
Applying to transfer species to an existing location
Follow the steps to apply for an Aquatic Life Transfer Authorisation.
Step 1: Prepare your application
Ask us for advice
We encourage you to contact us first. We can:
- discuss your concept with you and give advice
- advise you on whether the idea is feasible
- advise you on the application process.
Transfer aspects that should be considered before applying
All transfers must follow:
- Check, Clean, Dry rules
- other standard biosecurity measures
- appropriate husbandry requirements for the transfer and release of aquatic life.
There are also specific requirements for transfers of:
- grass carp and silver carp transfers
- generic multiple species transfers.
Grass carp and silver carp transfers
All movements and releases of grass carp and silver carp must follow the requirements in this document:
Generic multiple species transfers
It's sometimes possible to get one approval to cover multiple movements or releases in the same stream or catchment. To check if you can get one of these approvals, email firstname.lastname@example.org
When you email us, include:
- what species you are likely to move
- how many of the species you are likely to move
- whether the capture and release sites are connected or in the same waterbody, catchment or floodplain
- any assessment of pest and disease risk and what measures are in place to reduce this risk
- whether the genetics of the species are likely to be different at the capture and release sites
- the purpose of the movement and release.
Consult with people and organisations that may be affected
Transferring aquatic life may affect certain people or organisations. We'll consult with them (or their representatives) before issuing the authorisation. You can speed up this process by:
- doing your own consultation with the people and organisations that your planned activity might affect
- providing us with letters from the groups that would be affected. They should confirm that they support your proposed activities.
Consult with tangata whenua
Fisheries New Zealand (MPI) acknowledges our obligations to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi and various settlement Acts. We must provide tangata whenua with opportunities to:
- give input into fisheries
- participate in managing fisheries.
We encourage you to consult with tangata whenua in the area of your proposed activities. This should happen before you submit your application. If you're unsure who to consult with, contact us to get advice.
Step 2: Complete your application
Information required when applying
All applications should include:
- the reason for the activity
- the species that you'll take and relocate
- the estimated amount of each species that you plan to take
- whether the genetics are likely to be different
- collection and release sites
- collection and relocation methods
- the main personnel involved
- information on any consulting that you have done.
Complete the application form:
Email your completed application and required documents to email@example.com
Applying for a special permit and to transfer at the same time
You may require a special permit to take aquatic species if your activities would not comply with fisheries regulations. For example, you may want to:
- take fish, aquatic life, or seaweed outside of the recreational, commercial, and customary regulations
- take undersized fish
- use prohibited methods to catch the species
- collect in areas closed to fishing.
To find out if you need a special permit, email Fisheries New Zealand at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submit your completed application form
You can submit your application for approval to transfer with a special permit application.
Email your proposal, application, and supporting information to email@example.com
Or, you can post it to:
Aquaculture and Fisheries Permitting Team
Fisheries New Zealand (MPI)
Private Bag 14
We'll let you know if we need more information. If we do, there could be a delay in processing your application.
There is no cost for our aquatic life authorisations.
Step 3: Considering your application
After we receive your application, we'll assess the proposal. It helps if you contacted us for advice in the earlier stages of developing your concept.
We'll need to be satisfied that:
- your proposed activity has merit
- consultation has been carried out effectively
- the activity is consistent with the purpose and principles of the Fisheries Act
- you've taken appropriate measures for:
- biosecurity risks
- genetic integrity
- husbandry of species
- species and stock in the location you're moving species to.
If we approve your aquatic life transfer, we'll email or post you a copy of it. You'll need to make sure you:
- understand all the terms and conditions of the authorisation
- keep a copy with you whenever you're working under its authority.
If we decline your aquatic life transfer, we'll let you know why. If we decline it, you can change your proposal and submit it for assessment again.