Page last updated: 1st May 2023.

You must be licensed as a Fish Receiver to receive fish for the purpose of sale from commercial fishers.

Once you’ve registered as a client of FishServe, you can apply to become a Licensed Fish Receiver (LFR).

To apply, you will need to complete a Licensed Fish Receiver application form and submit it with the application fee. This is a one-off payment per application. Please note that LFR applications can take several weeks to process as they are sent to the Ministry for Primary Industries for recommendation.

You can return completed forms to FishServe by mail or by scanning and emailing them to Scanned documents must be clear, legible and signed by the appropriate person(s). 

You can find out more about licensed fish receivers (LFRs) below.

Your Obligations

As an LFR you are required to adhere to very specific legal requirements, as referenced below.

To comply with the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017, all holders of a Fish Receiver’s Licence need to fill in Licensed Fish Receiver Returns. This return records, as at the last day of each calendar month, all fish received during that month. This return is due by the 15th day of the next month. Where no fish have been received in that month, a "NIL" return is required, and this is also due by the 15th day of the next month.

Use our guides to find out more about Licensed Fish Receiver Returns:

As an LFR, you must provide an annual audit report covering all your fish-related operations for each fishing year.

This report must be submitted no later than 30th November each year, and there must be a minimum of 6 months between audits for different fishing years.

If you are a newly registered licensed fish receiver, your first audit must be carried out within 6 months of the granting of your licence.

Who can carry out the audit?

The audit must be carried out by a suitably qualified person. This person is either:

  • Someone who holds a degree, diploma, registration, or similar qualification that is relevant to the current practices of accounting and auditing.
  • OR
  • Someone who is sufficiently skilled in identifying and interpreting the systems and internal controls of an LFR to give a reasoned opinion of the adequacy of those systems and controls.

The audit may not be carried out by:

  • Anyone who has a close relationship with the LFR.
  • An officer, employee or shareholder of the LFR.
  • A person associated with a related third party.

What information must the audit contain?

The audit report must contain information and documentation on the systems and internal controls of each of the premises of the LFR.

Only one report is needed if the fish-related activities in all of your premises are substantially the same in relation to the species handled, and the nature of their handling and processing.

If different systems or subsystems of documentation, internal controls, or disposal and selling methods apply to any of your premises, these must be reported on separately within the audit report.

You must certify that you have read, understood and, subject to any reservations noted, accepted the results of the audit report. The report must be submitted, together with the annual inventory return, within 21 days of receiving it from the auditor. You must also provide the name of the auditor, their qualifications, and the reasons why you consider them to be suitably qualified to conduct the audit on or before the day that the audit report is submitted.

As a licensed fish receiver you must provide an annual inventory return for each fishing year. This relates to your annual physical stocktake and it must accompany your annual audit report.

Your annual physical stocktake may be undertaken on any date within the fishing year, provided that it is more than six months after any previous annual stocktake.

It must be undertaken on the same day for all your operating premises and storage locations and must cover all categories of fish owned or held on the date of the stocktake. This includes:

  • Processed fish.
  • Fish in the course of being processed.
  • Unprocessed fish.
  • Fish in transit.
  • Fish owned by you but held by another party.
  • Fish held by you but owned by another party.
  • Fish to be used as bait.

What must the annual inventory return record?

The annual inventory return must record:

  • The species and state of all fish.
  • The number of fish containers.
  • Net weight of each container and the total net weight of each species of fish.
  • For fish in transit, the locations to and from which the fish is being transported and the carrier’s name.
  • For fish held by a person other than the LFR, details of that person and the location of the fish.
  • For fish held but not owned by the LFR, details of the fish (species, state and weight), and the owner.

What if I have no inventory?

You must provide a nil return if you have a nil inventory.

All clients registered with FishServe will receive a Client Details Annual Update form.

Please take the time to check this carefully. Ensure your information is accurate and up-to-date, and correct any out-dated information.

It is your responsibility to notify FishServe of any change to your personal information within one calendar month of those change(s) occurring.

Your Annual Update form must be completed and returned within 14 days of receiving it. To simplify the process, you can complete your Annual Update form online.

Holding Fish

As a licensed fish receiver that holds fish and other seafood for a short period, you may need to be a listed animal material depot. An animal material depot holding fish may:

  • Hold.
  • Chill.
  • Refrigerate.
  • Sedate (using a registered veterinary medicine).
  • Apply protective coverings.

However, animal material depots can't process any fish or seafood for trade. More information on animal material depots is available here.

Holidng and Processing Fish

As a licensed fish receiver that holds or processes fish and other seafood, you may need either:

  • A risk management plan under the Animal Products Act 1999.
  • A food control plan under the Food Act 2014.

More information on risk management and food safety is available here.

Additional Information

Forms that can be completed online are indicated as "available online".

If you wish to submit a manual application, completed forms can be scanned and emailed to or sent by mail. Scanned documents must be clear, legible, and signed by the appropriate person(s).

Please contact the helpline on 04 460 9555 or use our online contact form if you have any issues or questions.

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