Enabling innovative trawl technology

We have made changes to the regulations for commercial trawling so that fishers can trial and use innovative trawling technologies. Learn about the changes to the regulations and how to apply for approval to trial and use new trawl gear.

What you need to know

Trawling is a long-established commercial fishing method that provides a cost-effective way to catch fish. Commercial fishing regulations contain restrictions on use and configuration of trawl nets. For example, there are restrictions on what net mesh size is allowed, and a ban on structural features such as net sleeves, liners, and flappers.

Commercial fishers who want to use a new kind of trawl net, can apply to us for approval to trial and use the gear.

New types of nets must meet criteria

We'll only approve the use of the new net if we're satisfied that it performs at least as well as an existing net in providing for the use of fisheries resources while ensuring sustainability. The way fishers use the new net must also be consistent with any relevant fisheries plans.

How will Fisheries New Zealand manage commercially sensitive information?

We must meet the requirements of the Official Information Act (OIA) to manage the release of information that is requested by the public. All information held by us is a matter of public record and is considered official information for the purposes of the OIA. Under the OIA, the release of information must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

However, information supplied in support of an application for either a special permit or an approval of a new trawl net will not be released if it:

  • is a trade secret or considered commercially sensitive, and releasing it would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it, and it is not in the public interest to release it
  • would impact on the supply of similar information in the future, and it is not in the public interest to release it.

How to apply

Follow the steps to get approval to trial and use new trawl gear.

Trawl net approval

Fisheries New Zealand has approved the use of the following trawl nets under regulation 71A of the Fisheries (Commercial Fishing) Regulations 2001:

Consultation on regulation amendments

We consulted from 9 May to 8 June on proposed amendments to regulations to support digital monitoring and innovative trawl technologies. These technical amendments are intended to be practical and workable for the fishing industry.

Fisheries Change Programme

Enabling Innovative Trawl Technology (EITT) is a part of the Fisheries Change Programme. The programme involves introducing new technology to help manage New Zealand's fisheries, to ensure continued sustainability now and into the future.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about the commercial trawling regulations, or about how to apply for approvals to trial and use new trawl gear, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: