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
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

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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
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
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 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.

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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 reporting requirements that must be met by all fishers. These are specified in the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017. Vessels over 28m trawlers are already required to report under the new regulations. All other permit holders are required to begin reporting under the new regulations based on their total ACE holdings as at 20 Sep 2017. Information on the rollout  and "can report" and "must report" dates for these permit holders is available here. Permit holders are exempt from the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017 until their "must report" date and must 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 Returns

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 from 1 Dec 2019.

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.

Electronic Catch Reporting

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 five types of report:
    • fish catch
    • non-fish and protected species catch
    • processing
    • disposal
    • landing
  • 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 for trawlers over 28m and the top eight species (QMS or non-QMS) for all others.
  • 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.

For more information on electronic reporting visit the MPI website

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