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.
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 and 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 prevents 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. Between 1st October 2017 and 31st March 2018 all vessels except over 28m trawlers are exempt from the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017 and can still comply with the reporting requirements of the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2001. For information on the reports required under these older regulations click here.
For information on complying with the new 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.
This form is due by the 15th day of the next month. You can also submit this form online, on the FishServe website.
Monthly Harvest Return Amendment (MHRA)
The Monthly Harvest Return Amendment form is used when a change needs to be made to the original MHR for that month.
The following information is for the new Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017 only, see here for information on complying with the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2001
Some of the key changes between the old paper-based system and the new electronic (e-logbook) reporting system are:
- A different structure – the new electronic system is based around the five types of event:
- fish catch
- non-fish and protected species catch
- Two new reports are required – a Trip Start Report and a Trip End Report.
- Some new fields for information have been added to Fish Catch Reports, and some have been removed. For example, you no longer need to note your position at midday, or the water temperature when the net is shot, but you do need to record the use of mitigation devices.
- The ‘estimated catch’ now applies to eight species: the top five QMS species and the top three non-QMS species.
- All fish caught now needs to be recorded. This includes some fish that have not required recording before, such as fish below the minimum legal size.
- All position information must be given as co-ordinates that are accurate to four decimal places if the system is entering them automatically, or three decimal places if you are entering them manually. While the co-ordinates have to be given as decimals, it is expected that e-logbooks will be able to record positions in other formats and will decimalise them automatically if necessary.
- Disposal Reports need to record all catch that is not on vessel at the end of the trip.
- Landing Reports will only need to record fish that are on a vessel at the end of the trip.
Trip Start Report
Create a Trip Start report at the beginning of each fishing trip to mark the beginning of the trip. This must be completed before the first Fish Catch Report for the trip is started.
Fish Catch Report - Trawling
A permit holder must complete and provide a fish catch trawling report for each trawling event undertaken during a fishing trip. Complete a separate fish catch report for each trawl tow.
This report provides the data that you previously reported on, at the top part of a Trawl Catch, Effort and Processing Return (TCEPR).
Non-Fish Species or Protected Species Catch Report
You will have to complete this report if you make an Non-fish/Protected Species (NFPS) catch at any time during a trip whether it was made during a tow or while you were not fishing (for example if there was a deck strike while you were steaming). This report is largely the same as the Non-fish / Protected species catch return required under the previous regulations.
If you process fish on board a vessel, you only need to completed a processing report if the vessel;
- is a registered limited processing fishing vessel under the Animal Products Act 1999; or
- operates under a registered risk management programme under the Animal Products Act 1999.
If you are required to complete Processing Reports, one is required for every 24 hours that you process catch. Each report must cover a time period of no more than 24 hours. This report is largely equivalent to the daily processing summary of a TCEPR. The main difference is that fish that is not processed/packed (e.g. returned to the sea or eaten) is reported on a Disposal Report rather than the Processing Report. You do not need to provide details about fish oil on the Processing Report, but the amount of fish oil landed will need to be reported in a Landing Report.
Use a Disposal Report for all fish that are not recorded on a landing event.
Situations where a Disposal Report needs to be provided include instances where fish are caught but are:
- eaten on board the vessel; or
- are below minimum legal size and must be returned to the water; or
- are returned to the water for any other reason.
If you have to complete a Processing Report, you need to complete the Disposal Report in the same time period as your Processing Report. For other vessels, you must submit a Disposal Report for each tow. Catch that is reported on a Disposal Report does not also need to be reported on a Landing Report. Note, this is a change from the old system.
Complete a landing report for all fish that is landed by the permit holder. Fish that is not landed must be reported on a disposal event.
This report provides the data that you previously reported in a Catch Landing Return (CLR). The process for completing Landing Reports is similar to the process for completing CLRs where you had to complete all details except greenweight as soon as you finish landing. Under electronic reporting however, the Landing Report needs to be transmitted as soon as landing is finished and then updated with greenweight details when that information becomes available. These updates will be entered either using your logbook, or online via FishServe's website. All fish that is landed must be included in a Landing Report and all fish that has been caught but not landed must be included in a Disposal Report.
In most cases, a Landing Report will be required because fish have been removed or discharged from a vessel and the report should then be completed at some point between when fishing finishes and when landing ends. There are some situations when a Landing Report must be completed and transmitted within different timeframes.
Trip End Report
Create a Trip End report at the end of each fishing trip to mark the finish of the trip. This should be completed and provided no later than the date on which any Landing Report is provided (unless it is an end of year Landing Report or relates to transhipping).