Any person or company wishing to fish commercially in New Zealand waters must hold a fishing permit. If you are not already a client of FishServe you should submit your client application form and once successfully processed by FishServe you can submit your permit application online. Alternatively you can submit a manual permit application with your client application. The permit application allows you to apply for a permit to take quota and non-quota stocks. Please note that only a handful of fishers have a moratorium exemption to catch Schedule 4C stocks. If you wish to apply to fish for these stocks please contact FishServe.
When the permit application form is completed it needs to be submitted to FishServe with the required fee. FishServe will either issue you with a permit or notify you that your application has been unsuccessful within 5 working days of receipt of the application.
If you wish to apply for a High Seas Fishing Permit, please read the requirements and conditions which are detailed on the Ministry for Primary Industries web site.
You must have your Fishing Permit and your Certificate of Registration for your vessel with you at all times when you are fishing. These documents need to be able to be supplied to a Fishery Officer on demand.
If you intend to sell fish other than to a Licensed Fish Receiver (Wharf Sales) it is important to have an understanding of your obligations. Click here to download a wharf sales instruction sheet.
All commercial fishing permit holders are required to report their fishing activity electronically using an approved e-logbook. As part of your electronic reporting obligations, you also need to register a GPR (geospatial position reporting) device. This can either be a fixed device mounted to your vessel or mobile unit that you carry with you.
It is important that you balance any catch with your ACE. All permit holders are required to supply a Monthly Harvest Return (MHR) by the 15th of the month following the month the catch was taken. This catch is balanced against ACE held by the permit holder as at the 15th of each month. If the catch is not “balanced” by ACE when the balances are run the permit holder will incur Deemed Value invoices for the excess catch.
Below you will find information on:
- ACE minimum holding requirements
- Schedule 4C stocks
- Permit suspensions
- Permit prohibitions
- Permit register
- Your obligations as a permit holder
If you wish to target one of the quota stocks listed in the following table you will need to own a minimum amount of ACE before you go fishing. Your permit will not be valid for the taking of that stock until the minimum holding requirement is met.
|Stock Code||Minimum ACE Holding|
|OYU5||29,000 Units (oysters)|
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Species Code||FMA|
|Basking shark||Cetorhinus maximus||BSK||1 to 10|
|Hammerhead shark||Sphyrna zygaena||HHS||1 to 10|
|Seahorse||Hippocampus abdominalis||SHO||1 to 10|
|Sharpnose sevengill shark||Heptranchias perlo||HEP||1 to 10|
|Whale shark||Rhincodon typus||WSH||1 to 10|
|Black mussel||Xenostrobus pulex||LBM||1 to 10|
|Blue mussel||Mytilus galloprovincialis||MSB||1 to 10|
|Cats Eye||Turbo smaragdus||LUN||1 to 10|
|Crabs: Members of the Family Grapsidae||Common rock crab||Hemigrapsus edwardsi||CRK||1 to 10|
|Hairy-handed crab||Hemigrapsus crenulatus||HHC|
|Northern smooth shore crab||Cyclograpsus insularum||NCR|
|Purple rock crab||Leptograpsus variegatus||PCR|
|Red rock crab||Plagusia chabrus||REC|
|Smooth shore crab||Cyclograpsus lavauxi||SCR|
|Tunnelling mud crab||Helice crassa||HCR|
|Freshwater mussel||Hyridella menziesii||HME||3,5,7|
|Limpets||Cellana ornata||LIM||1 to 10|
|Mudsnail||Amphibola crenata||ACR||1 to 10|
|Sea anemone||Actinia spp||SEN||8|
|Sponges||Phylum Porifera||ONG||1 to 10|
|Topshells: Members of the Family Trochidae||Melagraphia aethiops||TPS||1 to 10|
|Whelks||Thais orbita||WHE||1 to 10|
|Lepsiella scobina scobina|
|Agar weed||Pterocladia lucida||PTE||1 to 10|
|Bladder kelp||Macrocystis pyrifera||KBB||1 to 10, excl 3G, 4G|
|Brown kelp||Ecklonia radiata||ECK||1 to 10|
|Bull kelp||Durvillea spp||KBL||1 to 10|
|Gracilaria weed||Gracilaria chilensis||GRA||1 to 10|
|Lessonia||Lessonia variegata||LES||1 to 10|
|Porphyra||Porphyra spp||PRP||1 to 10|
|Sea lettuce||Ulva spp||ULV||1 to 10|
Your fishing permit will be suspended if the total amount of deemed values that you owe is more than $1000.00, and you have not paid within 20 days after the date of the invoice. If your Ministry Cost Recovery Levies and / or FishServe Fees and Levies are overdue for 2 months your permit will also be suspended.
A permit can also have a prohibition placed on it if the permit holder exceeds the overfishing threshold and tolerance level (if any) for a stock. This prohibition prohibits the taking of any fish, aquatic life, or seaweed in the geographical area applying to that stock. Not all stocks have an overfishing threshold. All permit prohibitions cease to apply when the permit holder has purchased sufficient ACE to cover all of the overfishing, or at the close of the relevant fishing year.
FishServe maintains a public register of all permits. This register contains details of who has a fishing permit, and what that fishing permit authorises. Extracts from this register can be accessed by contacting FishServe. A fee is charged for this information.
If you want to apply to become a permit holder there is a transaction fee for the application.
There are a number of reporting requirements that must be met by all fishers. These are specified in the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017.
For information on complying with the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017, see below.
Monthly Harvest Returns (MHR)
All permit holders must complete a Monthly Harvest Return each month. When no fishing activity has occurred in a month, a ‘Nil’ return is required. This return records all the catch for the month, both quota and non-quota stocks, and what vessels were used in the taking of that catch.
The MHR is due by the 15th day of the next month. You can submit this form online, on the FishServe website.
All MHRs and amendments are required to be submitted online.
Monthly Harvest Return Amendment (MHRA)
A Monthly Harvest Return Amendment is used when a change needs to be made to the original MHR for that month.
All MHRAs are required to be submitted online.
All commercial fishing permit holders are required to report their fishing activity electronically.
There are a few different components to Electronic Reporting. These are:
Electronic reporting via e-logbooks
All permit holders are required to report fishing activity electronically via an approved e-logbook.
|Geospatial Position Reporting (GPR)||
A geospatial position reporting device must be carried and operated on board:
A mobile geospatial position reporting device must be carried and operated by any commercial fisher who fishes without a vessel.
Cameras have been required on some fishing vessels in a defined fishing area on the west coast of the North Island since the 1st of November 2019.
Please see the Fisheries New Zealand website for further information about on-board cameras.
|Licensed Fish Receivers||
All Licensed Fish Receivers need to submit electronic returns via the FishServe website.
Paper LFR returns are no longer accepted, except for LFR return amendments older than 12 months.
The following events must be submitted electronically using an approved e-logbook.
- Trip Start
- Fishing Event (e.g. Trawl)
- Non-fish or Protected Fish Species
- Trip End
For more information on electronic reporting visit the MPI website