Permit

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 Requirement

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 CodeMinimum ACE Holding
ANG13 4000 kgs
CRA1 3000 kgs
CRA2 3000 kgs
CRA3 3000 kgs
CRA4 3000 kgs
CRA5 3000 kgs
CRA6 3000 kgs
CRA7 3000 kgs
CRA8 3000 kgs
CRA9 3000 kgs
CRA10 3000 kgs
LFE11 2000 kgs
LFE12 2000 kgs
LFE14 2000 kgs
LFE15 2000 kgs
LFE16 2000 kgs
OYS7 3000 kgs
OYU5 29,000 Units (oysters)
PAU1 1000 kgs
PAU2 1000 kgs
PAU3 1000 kgs
PAU4 1000 kgs
PAU5A 1000 kgs
PAU5B 1000 kgs
PAU5D 1000 kgs
PAU6 100 kgs
PAU6A 1000 kgs
PAU7 1000 kgs
PAU10 1000 kgs
SCA1 3000 kgs
SCA7 3000 kgs
SFE11 2000 kgs
SFE12 2000 kgs
SFE14 2000 kgs
SFE15 2000 kgs
SFE16 2000 kgs

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Schedule 4C Stocks

Common NameScientific NameSpecies CodeFMA
Vertebrates (fish)
Basking shark Cetorhinus maximus BSK 1 to 10
Hammerhead shark Sphyrna zygaena HHS 1 to 10
Lamprey Geotria australis LAM 3,5,7
Seahorse Hippocampus abdominalis SHO 1 to 10
Sharpnose sevengill shark Heptranchias perlo HEP 1 to 10
Whale shark Rhincodon typus WSH 1 to 10
Invertebrates
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
Koura Paranephrops planifrons KOU 3,5,7
Paranephrops zealandicus
Limpets Cellana ornata LIM 1 to 10
Cellana radians
Notoacmea scopulina
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
Diloma zelandica
Diloma arida
Diloma subrostrata
Diloma bicanaliculata
Whelks Thais orbita WHE 1 to 10
Lepsiella scobina scobina
Haustrum haustorium
Cominella adspersa
Cominella maculosa
Cominella glandiformis
Penion dilatatus
Struthiolaria papulosa
Seaweeds
Agar weed Pterocladia lucida PTE 1 to 10
Pterocladia capillacea
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

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Permit Suspensions

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.

Permit Prohibitions

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.

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Permit Register

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.

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Your Obligations

If you want to apply to become a permit holder there is a transaction fee for the application.

There are a number of returns that must be completed by all fishers. To comply with the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2001 and any reporting requirements listed on your permit, you need to fill in the correct returns. Specific details on the completion of each return are given in the explanatory notes attached to the forms. Monthly Harvest Returns and amendments can be done on line or using paper return forms. Catch Effort Returns can be submitted using Cedric or paper return forms.

There are many types of returns and each type of return is designed to record particular types of information for fisheries management purposes. These forms are:

  • Monthly Harvest Returns (MHR)
  • Monthly Harvest Return Amendment (MHRA)
  • Catch, Effort and Landing Returns (CELR)
  • Catch Landing Returns (CLR)
  • Trawl Catch, Effort and Processing Returns (TCEPR)
  • Tuna Longlining Catch, Effort Returns (TLCER)
  • Squid Jigging Catch, Effort Returns (SJCER)
  • Freshwater Eel Catch Effort Returns (ECER)
  • Freshwater Eel Catch Landing Returns (ECLR)
  • Paua Catch Effort Landing Returns (PCELR)
  • Lining Catch Effort Returns (LCER)
  • Netting Catch Effort Landing Returns (NCELR)
  • Lining Trip Catch Effort Returns (LTCER)
  • Trawl Catch Effort Returns (TCER)
  • Non-Fish / Protected Species Catch Returns (NFPSCR)

High Seas Returns

  • High Seas Catch, Effort and Landing Returns (HSCELR)
  • High Seas Tuna Longlining Catch, Effort Returns (HSTLCER)
  • High Seas Trawl Catch Effort Returns (HSTCER)
  • High Seas Squid Jigging Catch, Effort Returns (HSSJCER)
  • High Seas Lining Catch Effort Returns (HSLCER)

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Return Descriptions

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.

Catch Effort And Landing Returns (CELR)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take fish from a vessel less than 28m in length, or permit holders who take fish without the use of a vessel. This excludes permit holders who are targeting Freshwater Eels or Paua (who need to complete Freshwater Eel returns or Paua returns).

These returns record all fish taken by the permit holder on a fishing trip. New forms should be completed for each fishing trip. Where no fishing is undertaken in a month, a ‘Nil’ return is required. These returns are due by the 15th day of the next month. For example, if you do four fishing trips in March, the four sets of returns are due by the 15th of April.

Catch Landing Returns (CLR)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take fish from a vessel that is more than 28m in length using the method of trawling, or permit holders targeting Tuna using the method of surface longlining, or permit holders taking squid using the method of squid jigging, or permit holders using a lining method that is not surface longlining and targeting Tuna. They should be used in conjunction with TCEPRs, SJCERs, TLCERs and LCERs.

The CLR will reflect the landings associated with the effort that is reported on the TCEPRs, SJCERs, TLCERs or LCERs for that trip. CLRs are due within 15 days of the end of the fishing trip except where the CLR relates to the landing of catch from surface longlining that has been reported on TLCERs, in which case the CLRs are due by the 15th day of the next month. Where no fishing is undertaken in a month, a ‘Nil’ return is required. “Nil” returns are due by the 15th day of the next month.

Trawl Catch, Effort and Processing Returns (TCEPR)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take fish from a vessel greater than 28m in length by the method of trawling and by permit holders who trawl for SNA in areas 1, 8 and 9 and have been instructed to complete the forms by the Ministry for Primary Industries. They need to be completed on each day or part day that the vessel is on a fishing trip and are due within 15 days of the end of the fishing trip. "Nil" returns should not be submitted using these forms.

Tuna Longlining Catch Effort Returns (TLCER)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who target Tuna by method of longlining, regardless of vessel size. These returns record every set made from the vessel on a fishing trip and are due by the 15th day of the next month. “Nil” returns should not be submitted using these forms.

Squid Jigging Catch Effort Returns (SJCER)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take squid by the method of jigging, regardless of vessel size. They need to be completed for each day or part day that the vessel is on a fishing trip and are due within 15 days of the end of the fishing trip. “Nil” returns should not be submitted using these forms.

Freshwater Eel Catch Effort Returns (ECER)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who target freshwater eels using any fishing method and should be completed in conjunction with Freshwater Eel Catch Landing Returns (ECLR). They record all fishing activity for a calendar month, with data being recorded each time gear is lifted or retrieved. These returns are due by the 15th day of the next month. “Nil” returns should not be submitted using these forms.

Freshwater Eel Catch Landing Returns (ECLR)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who target freshwater eels using any fishing method and should be completed in conjunction with Freshwater Eel Catch Effort Returns (ECER). They record all catch landings for a calendar month, with data being recorded for each landing and are due by the 15th day of the next month. If the permit holder is an operator or notified user of no vessels or one vessel, a “Nil” return can be submitted using this form. If the permit holder is an operator or notified user of more than one vessel then “Nil” returns should not be submitted using these forms, CELRs should be submitted for each vessel in this case.

Paua Catch Effort Landing Returns (PCELR)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who target paua by the method of diving or land paua. They record all paua diving and/or landings undertaken on a particular day and are due by the 15th day of the next month. A new form should be used for each day’s diving/landing. If no paua was landed during the month and no diving took place, then a “Nil” return must be submitted using this form.

Lining Catch Effort Returns (LCER)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take fish from a vessel greater than 28m in length by the methods of bottom longlining, surface longlining (targeting species other than tuna or swordfish), and trot lining. These returns record all fishing taken by the permit holder on a fishing trip. New forms should be completed for each fishing trip. These returns are due within 15 days of the end of the fishing trip.

Netting Catch Effort Landing Returns (NCELR)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take fish by set netting, inshore drift netting, or pair set netting from a vessel that is 6m or more in length. These returns record all fish taken by the permit holder on a fishing trip. New forms should be completed for each fishing trip. Where no fishing is undertaken in a month, a ‘Nil’ return is required.

These returns are due by the 15th day of the next month. For example, if you do four fishing trips in March, the four sets of returns are due by the 15th of April.

High Seas Catch, Effort and Landing Returns (HSCELR)

These returns may need to be completed by permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996. Permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996 should check their permits for details of their reporting requirements. If the permit holder is required to complete these returns, the returns should be completed following the explanatory notes attached to the forms.

High Seas Tuna Longlining Catch, Effort Returns (HSTLCER)

These returns may need to be completed by permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996. Permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996 should check their permits for details of their reporting requirements. If the permit holder is required to complete these returns, the returns should be completed following the explanatory notes attached to the forms.

High Seas Trawl Catch Effort Returns (HSTCER) These returns may need to be completed by permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996. Permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996 should check their permits for details of their reporting requirements. If the permit holder is required to complete these returns, the returns should be completed following the explanatory notes attached to the forms.

High Seas Squid Jigging Catch, Effort Returns (HSSJCER)

These returns may need to be completed by permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996. Permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996 should check their permits for details of their reporting requirements. If the permit holder is required to complete these returns, the returns should be completed following the explanatory notes attached to the forms.

High Seas Lining Catch Effort Returns (HSLCER)

These returns may need to be completed by permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996. Permit holders fishing with a high seas fishing permit issued under section 113H of the Fisheries Act 1996 should check their permits for details of their reporting requirements. If the permit holder is required to complete these returns, the returns should be completed following the explanatory notes attached to the forms.

Lining Trip Catch Effort Returns (LTCER)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take fish from a vessel 6 or more metres but not more than 28 metres in overall length by the methods of bottom longlining, surface longlining (targeting species other than tuna or swordfish), and trot lining.

These returns record all fishing taken by the permit holder on a fishing trip. New forms should be completed for each fishing trip. These returns are due by the 15th day of the next month. For example, if you do four fishing trips in March, the four sets of returns are due by the 15th of April.

Trawl Catch Effort Returns (TCER)

These returns are to be completed by permit holders who take fish from a vessel 6 or more metres but not more than 28 metres in overall length by the methods of bottom trawl, bottom pair trawl, midwater trawl, and mid-water pair trawl.

These returns record all fish taken by the permit holder on a fishing trip. New forms should be completed for each fishing trip. These returns are due by the 15th day of the next month. For example, if you do four fishing trips in March, the four sets of returns are due by the 15th of April. “Nil” returns should not be submitted using these forms.

Non-Fish / Protected Species Catch Returns (NFPSCR)

A NFPSCR is not required every month, it is only required if, while fishing, you have an incidental catch of a non-fish/protected species.

If the “Non-fish/Protected species catch” box is ticked on Catch Effort Returns a NFPSCR must be provided. This return is then due by the 15th day of the next month.

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