Future of our Fisheries

The Future of our Fisheries is an MPI programme to ensure the sustainable economic, social, and cultural value of New Zealand’s fisheries. Find out about what changes are happening, what’s staying the same, and the consultation process for this programme.

Sustainable fisheries for every New Zealander

Recreational, commercial and customary fishers around New Zealand rely on our fisheries for employment, kai, and the pleasure of going fishing. It's MPI’s role to make sure that all of our fisheries are managed sustainably. The Future of our Fisheries programme is strengthening the fisheries management system to ensure the sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries.

The programme will ensure that we have accurate and up-to-date information about commercial fishing activity to inform our fisheries management decisions, and the right policy settings to ensure the value that all New Zealanders get from our fisheries is sustainable.

Digital tracking, reporting and monitoring of commercial activity

The first major step in the programme is the development of a new digital system for tracking, reporting and monitoring commercial fishing activity. This system will replace the current methods for reporting, and provide a way to verify that reporting is accurate.
Commercial fishing boats will be required to have:

  • geospatial position reporting (GPR) – so we know where fishing occurs
  • electronic reporting via an e-logbook – so we can quickly and accurately measure commercial catch and effort
  • electronic monitoring (cameras) – so we can verify what is being reported.

Innovative trawl technologies

MPI is also making changes to regulations to allow the use of innovative new trawl technologies on commercial fishing boats. These new nets have less impact on the environment, and can reduce by-catch of undersized fish, seabirds, and mammals.

These regulations will be passed alongside the tracking, monitoring and reporting regulations, to come into effect on 1 October 2017.

Policy changes

Alongside these regulatory changes, MPI is making sure that fisheries management policy settings are right for the future, with three workstreams looking at the short, medium and long-term priorities.

The first policy workstream is looking at the legislative and policy changes needed to support the implementation of the new tracking, monitoring and reporting systems, and innovative trawl technology projects. This is critical to ensure that these projects work properly within the fisheries management system, and to reduce wastage and maximise value.

Find out more

The Cabinet paper for IEMRS (Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System) and EITT (Enabling Innovative Trawl Technologies) was released on 24 April 2017. The Regulatory Impact Statements were released on 29 May 2017 (IEMRS) and 30 May 2017 (EITT).

The Privacy Impact Assessment for IEMRS was released on 10 November 2017.


To ensure MPI’s approach was on the right track, MPI held a public consultation from 11 November to 23 December 2016 on the Future of our Fisheries consultation documents. As part of this, MPI met with iwi and held 15 public consultation meetings across the country.
Download the consultation documents:

Technical Advisory Group

A Technical Advisory Group provides expert, independent advice on the programme to the Director-General of MPI.
The group has extensive experience across the fisheries sector, and a deep understanding of the importance of a sustainable future for New Zealand’s oceans. The members are:

  • Sir Rob Fenwick (Chair) 
  • Harry Burkhardt
  • Graeme Sinclair
  • Lesley Campbell 
  • Graham Stuart.

TAG terms of reference [PDF, 888 KB]
TAG members biographies – Beehive website

What won't change

The following parts of the fisheries management system won't be changed as part of the programme:

  • the purpose of the Fisheries Act (to provide for the use of fisheries resources while ensuring sustainability)
  • the Crown's obligations under Treaty settlements and the rights and interests of tangata whenua, including customary management
  • the right to fish for recreation
  • the key Quota Management System (QMS) tools, including the rights associated with ownership of quota.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about the programme, email fisheries.review@mpi.govt.nz

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