Annual catch entitlement

Annual catch entitlement (ACE) is the right to catch a certain amount of a fish stock during a fishing year. Find out about ACE, transferring ACE and what happens if you catch more or less than your entitlement.


About annual catch entitlement (ACE)

Species under New Zealand's Quota Management System (QMS) are divided into fish stocks (by species and area). Each fish stock has 100 million quota shares.

If you own quota shares, you'll get an amount of ACE at the start of each fishing year. The amount you get for a fish stock will depend on the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for that stock – set by MPI every year.

ACE gives you the right to catch a certain amount of a fish stock during that fishing year.

Buy, sell or transfer ACE

You can buy, sell or transfer ACE to other people at any stage during the fishing year.  ACE transfers are managed by FishServe.

You must balance all catch of QMS species with ACE by the end of a fishing year. So make sure you keep enough ACE until then to balance your catch.

You can also bid for Crown ACE when tendered through FishServe at the start of each fishing year.

Minimum ACE needed to fish some stocks 

You need a certain amount of ACE (a minimum holding) to catch some fish stocks. If you don't have the required amount, you can't fish for the stock.

Minimum ACE needed

Stock

Species

Minimum ACE holding

CRA1 to CRA10

Rock lobster

3 tonnes

LFE11 to LFE16

Long-finned eel

2 tonnes

OYS7

Oyster (Nelson)

3 tonnes

OYU5

Dredge oysters (Foveaux Strait)

29,000 oysters

PAU1, 2, 3, 4, 5A, 5B, 5D, 6A, 7, 10

Paua

1 tonne

PAU6

Paua

100 kg

SCA1, SCA7

Scallop

3 tonnes

SFE11 to SFE16

Short-finned eel

2 tonnes

For all other stocks you don't need a minimum holding to fish.

If you catch less than your ACE

For most stocks, if you don't catch your full ACE amount during the fishing year, you will get a certain amount of it issued to you the following year. This is called an underfishing allocation.

You will get whichever is the least of either:

  • the amount of ACE not used, or
  • 10% of your ACE holdings.

Stocks not eligible for underfishing ACE

Stock

Species

COC1A, COC7A, COC7B

Cockle

CRA1 to CRA10

Rock lobster

LFE11 to LFE 17

Long-finned eel

OYS7

Dredge oyster (except Foveaux Strait)

OYU5

Dredge oyster (Foveaux Strait)

PHC1

Packhorse rock lobster

PPI1A

Pipi

QSC3

Queen scallop

SCA1, SCA4, SCA7, SCACS

Scallop

SFE11 to SFE17

Short-finned freshwater eel

If you catch more than your ACE

If you catch more than your full ACE amount, and you don’t purchase ACE to cover your overfishing, FishServe will send you a deemed value invoice for the extra catch.

ACE registers

FishServe operates a register of ACE owners. Information in the register is available to the public through register reports. Fees apply for reports.

Who to contact

If you have questions about ACE, contact FishServe

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