Information for fishers during Alert Level 4

Commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers are an essential service and can continue operating. 

Operating as commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers

Commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers are an essential service and can continue operating. MPI needs assurances from primary industry essential businesses that their processes protect workers and the public by limiting interactions and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19. This includes businesses that supply essential support to a primary industries essential service. Without these assurances, businesses will not be able to operate.

The online registration form has now closed. However, if you are an essential service to the primary industries, or a supplier to an essential service you can email us at

Essential primary industry businesses, services, and support services

Social distancing at work

Social distancing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. All essential businesses must strive for a minimum social distancing of 2 metres, in accordance with Ministry of Health guidance and MPI advice.

Where 2 metre distancing cannot be reasonably maintained on vessels or barges or in processing facilities, in accordance with MOH advice, MPI expects that measures be put in place for workers operating between 1 and 2 metres.

We encourage you to talk to your industry organisation for advice and support on this.

Keeping safe at work

Recreational fishing

To help move the country out of lockdown as soon as possible, there are restrictions in place regarding recreation.

Permitted recreation and exercise does not involve swimming, water-based activities (for example, surfing or boating), hunting, tramping, or other activities of a kind that expose participants to danger or may require search and rescue services. 

Support for your seafood business

The government is aware the Level 4 restrictions will impact some businesses, and is offering financial support in various forms to help in this unprecedented situation.

For information on financial support, as well as applications that can be made, visit the COVID-19 financial support page, or call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997.

Financial support - COVID-19

Are there any rule changes to catch limits because of COVID-19?

All the rules to ensure sustainability - including catch limits and the wide range of other restrictions - remain in place and commercial fishers must adhere to them as usual.

Our fishery officers are still patrolling throughout New Zealand to protect our fisheries.

They will do this in a way that keeps themselves and others safe.

You can call us on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) if you see anyone breaking the fishing rules.

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