Charter fishing vessel operators

All amateur-fishing charter vessel operators must register with MPI before they can run any trips. Once registered, they must file reports. Registering and reporting ensures operators can be contacted and that their interests are taken into account in fisheries management decisions.


Improving information on amateur fishing

Amateur fishing is a popular pastime in New Zealand. As the number of people using the ocean and the ways they are using it increases, management decisions must be made to allocate scarce resources and to ensure the continued health of our fisheries. 

You are legally required to report what you catch when you have fare-paying passengers on board. MPI collects information on charter vessel fishing to maintain and increase public confidence in our ability to manage fisheries effectively. The information you provide is used to:

  • meet New Zealand's international obligations – especially for the 2 species of bluefin tuna that are managed as highly migratory species
  • assess the impacts of events or management proposals – such as when a ship runs aground or a spatial plan is developed
  • manage shared inshore fisheries through targeted information about key shared fishstocks 
  • detect fishing patterns in time and space that can signal important changes in fisheries. Charter vessel fishing can be important barometers of how fisheries are performing
  • identify and monitor trends through a time series of fleet activity.

MPI has designed a reporting system that's easy to use while still collecting quality information.

FINNZ runs the registration and reporting system for MPI. FINNZ is a New Zealand IT company that provides business analysis services.

Who has to register?

Anyone who takes people fishing where payment is made for the vessel and guide services must register.  

Ferries or tourist sightseeing boats don't have to register, as their passengers don't fish.

Read the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 2013 on the NZ Legislation website .

How to register

To register as an amateur-fishing charter vessel operator you have 2 choices, depending on whether you want to provide information manually or online.

1. Register as an operator providing information online 

Amateur-fishing charter vessel operators can register to use online services by downloading and completing Form 1. You must make the application in hard copy.

Form 1: Application to register as an Amateur-Fishing Charter Vessel Operator – Online [PDF, 366 KB]

You only submit the details of an operator and approved user. Once registered, you can create contacts online for any people, skippers, guides, and vessels that are operating.

Print the form, complete it, and post it to:
FINNZ
PO Box 24 441
Manners Street 
Wellington 6140 

You must include payment of the application fee ($27) with the form.

The approved user will then be sent a secure login and instructions on how to complete the listing process online. Once registered, operators can do re-registrations and notify changes using the online system.

2. Register as an operator providing information manually

If you don't want to, or can't, use the online system, download and complete Form 2 to register to use the paper-based system.

Form 2: Application to register as an amateur-fishing charter vessel operator [PDF, 476 KB]

You'll need to complete and submit details for an operator, approved users, and all contact people, skippers, guides, and vessels associated with your operator listing.

Print the form, complete it, and post it to:

FINNZ
PO Box 24 441
Manners Street
Wellington 6140

You must include payment of the application fee ($54) with the form. 

You need to re-register each year

You need to re-register each year to keep the register and your details up-to-date. If you re-register online, it costs $27. If you use the manual form, it costs $54.

Manual re-registration

Download the form to manually re-register

Visit the FINNZ website to see all forms

What information is reported?

Once registered, charter vessel operators will be sent a vessel listing notification (VLN) for each vessel they operate and a book of reporting forms – the Amateur-Fishing Charter Vessel – Activity Catch Return.

If you need more report forms, you can use the form in the guide or email, charteroperator@finnz.com.

To successfully fill out your vessel activity and catch return forms, use this sample as a guide: 

Download sample ACV-ACR [PDF, 394 KB]

  • Section 1 records the page number and total number of pages included in an individual return.
  • Section 2 records the date of fishing, vessel details, vessel operator, and port of departure.
  • Section 3 collects information on fishing activity at each new fishing event. Fishing activity is reported by location, the target species, fishing method, numbers fishing, and time (duration) fished.
  • Section 4 collects information on the catch of specified species (within defined areas for blue cod) at each new fishing event.
  • Section 5 is the declaration section.

How to report

Detailed instructions on how the forms are to be completed are sent for each vessel. MPI also has a guide available. 

Download the guide for completing an ACV-ACR [PDF, 1.3 MB]

If you need more report forms, you can use the form in the guide or email, charteroperator@finnz.com.

Reporting activity (section 3)

You need to report the location, the target species, fishing method, numbers fishing, and time (duration) fished of the fishing activity.

It's best practice to complete your activity reporting as soon as possible after a fishing event and before the next fishing event starts.

If fishing has finished for the day, record the activity before those actively fishing leave the vessel or (on a multi-day charter) before the vessel anchors or moors for the night.

Reporting catch species (section 4)

To ensure the sustainability of certain fish stocks, you must report species according to their fisheries management areas (FMA). We need catch information for key species, with the number of fish of the species caught, and the number kept.

New Zealand also has specific international obligations for monitoring Southern and Pacific bluefin tuna, you must report estimated weight of individual fish as well as the numbers caught.

It's best practice to complete your activity reporting as soon as possible after a fishing event and before the next fishing event starts.

If fishing has finished for the day, record the activity before those actively fishing leave the vessel or (on a multi-day charter) before the vessel anchors or moors for the night. This also includes fish caught by the skipper and crew members for any fishing event.

Download the charter vessel catch reporting requirements [PDF, 62 KB]

Who to contact

If you need more reporting forms, email charteroperator@finnz.com.

For advice on amateur-fishing charter vessel activity and catch returns, call 0800 4 ACV HELP (0800 42 28 43) or write to FINNZ:

PO Box 24 441
Manners Street
Wellington 6140 

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