Digital monitoring of commercial fishing

Find out about this new technology and its implementation.

Information for fishers

Looking for information on electronic catch and position reporting, and how it affects you?

Go to our electronic catch and position reporting web page

UPDATE – 1 October 2018

Camera and reporting exemptions, and circular consultation

A new exemption from installing and operating cameras on commercial fishing vessels applies until 31 January 2019. Exemptions from electronic reporting have also been extended. We are now consulting on proposed changes to 3 circulars that set out the technical detail of how the electronic catch and position reporting regulations work in practice.

What's digital monitoring?

Fisheries New Zealand is rolling out a new digital system for tracking, monitoring and reporting of commercial fishing.

The digital monitoring system is made up of:

  • electronic catch reporting via an e-log book – to give us better and more timely information on commercial catch effort
  • electronic position reporting – so we can verify (when used with electronic catch reporting) where and when fishing happened
  • on-board cameras – so we can verify what is being reported. 

Why use digital monitoring?

The Digital Monitoring project, previously known as Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), will support sustainable fisheries.

A digital system for tracking, reporting, and monitoring commercial fishing activity will give us more accurate and up-to-date information to better inform decision-making by government and the fishing industry.

The aim is to:

  • maximise the recreational, customary, commercial, and environmental value of New Zealand's fisheries
  • give New Zealanders, and consumers from around the world, confidence that fish from our waters are being managed and caught sustainably
  • allow Fisheries New Zealand to verify information being reported and encourage compliance.

Some fisheries around the world are already using digital technology to report catch, effort, and position data.

What's next?

  • Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash has announced the next stage in the roll out of electronic catch and position reporting requirements to the rest of the commercial fishing industry from 14 January 2019 (over-28m trawl vessels are already reporting electronically). 
  • We are continuing to work with technology providers to develop the products fishers will need for electronic catch and position reporting, following the release of the final circulars setting out the specific requirements for them.
  • We are planning to hold a series of meetings with fishers at ports around the country to talk about electronic catch and position reporting. We'll let you know when we have times and locations.
  • The Minister of Fisheries is considering options for the implementation of on-board cameras and no decisions have been made yet.

Regulations, circulars and exemptions 

The regulations to enable digital monitoring and innovative trawl technology came into force on 1 October 2017.


Circulars for electronic catch and position reporting detail the technical requirements for electronic devices and how fishers should report. Revised circulars took effect 1 July 2018. 

In October 2018, we consulted on proposed changes to 3 circulars.

Exemptions and transition to digital monitoring

Camera exemptions

There is an exemption from complying with Part 1 of the Fisheries (Electronic Monitoring on Vessels) Regulations 2017. It means permit holders and vessel masters are not required to install or operate cameras on fishing vessels until 31 January 2019.

We are aware that further work is required before cameras can be introduced, including clarifying camera specifications and how they can be introduced. 

Reporting exemptions

All fishers using vessels 28m or less, or non-trawl vessels over 28m, aren't currently subject to the electronic catch reporting regulations. 

The Fisheries (Transitional Reporting) Amendment Regulations 2018 have extended the exemption (transition) period contained in the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017. These fishers must continue to use paper-based catch reporting until electronic catch reporting is in place. 

Because of the extended transition period, the Exemption from compliance with the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017 is revoked with effect from 3 September 2018.

A limited exemption from some reporting timeframes is still in place for over 28m trawl vessels.

Geospatial position reporting exemptions

Temporary exemptions from the geospatial position reporting regulations remain in place for commercial fishing vessels (other than over 28m trawlers and some other vessels).

A limited exemption from some geospatial position reporting requirements is in place for fishers using vessels 28m or less who are fishing for deepwater clams or for pāua or kina in the waters around the Chatham Islands with underwater breathing apparatus.

Resources and guides

Useful resources and guides to help you meet the digital monitoring requirements are available on our digital monitoring resources web page.

Advisory groups

There are 2 advisory groups helping us develop the new reporting systems, the:

  • Implementation Advisory Group – to make sure the system is implemented properly
  • Technical Working Group – to make sure we get the standards and specifications for the systems right.

Click on the relevant group to access meeting minutes and other relevant documents.

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the information on this page, email

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