Digital monitoring of commercial fishing

Find out about this new technology and its implementation.

Information for fishers

Looking for information on electronic catch and position reporting, and how it affects you?

Go to our electronic catch and position reporting web page

UPDATE – 14 December 2018

Workshop dates and amended regulations and circulars

Find out about the electronic catch and position reporting workshops being held near you and more about when you’ll need to start reporting.

What's digital monitoring?

Fisheries New Zealand is rolling out a new digital system for tracking, monitoring and reporting of commercial fishing.

The digital monitoring system is made up of:

  • electronic catch reporting via an e-log book – to give us better and more timely information on commercial catch effort
  • electronic position reporting – so we can verify (when used with electronic catch reporting) where and when fishing happened
  • on-board cameras – so we can verify what is being reported. 

Why use digital monitoring?

The Digital Monitoring project, previously known as Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), will support sustainable fisheries.

A digital system for tracking, reporting, and monitoring commercial fishing activity will give us more accurate and up-to-date information to better inform decision-making by government and the fishing industry.

The aim is to:

  • maximise the recreational, customary, commercial, and environmental value of New Zealand's fisheries
  • give New Zealanders, and consumers from around the world, confidence that fish from our waters are being managed and caught sustainably
  • allow Fisheries New Zealand to verify information being reported and encourage compliance.

Some fisheries around the world are already using digital technology to report catch, effort, and position data.

What's next?

  • The staged expansion of electronic catch and position reporting requirements to the rest of the commercial fishing industry began on 14 January 2019 (over-28m trawl vessels are already reporting electronically). 
  • The Minister of Fisheries is considering options for the implementation of on-board cameras and no decisions have been made yet.

Regulations, circulars and exemptions 

The regulations to enable digital monitoring and innovative trawl technology came into force on 1 October 2017. The amended regulations were gazetted on 13 December 2018 and took effect on 10 January 2019.  


Circulars for electronic catch and position reporting detail the technical requirements for electronic devices and how fishers should report. Revised circulars took effect 1 July 2018. 

In October 2018, we consulted on proposed changes to 3 circulars to reflect amendments to be made to the regulations.

We issued the new circulars in December 2018. They took effect on 10 January 2019.

Exemptions and transition to digital monitoring

Camera exemptions

There is an exemption from complying with Part 1 of the Fisheries (Electronic Monitoring on Vessels) Regulations 2017. It means permit holders and vessel masters are not required to install or operate cameras on fishing vessels until 31 January 2019.

We are aware that further work is required before cameras can be introduced, including clarifying camera specifications and how they can be introduced.

Geospatial position reporting exemptions

A limited exemption from some geospatial position reporting requirements is in place for fishers using vessels 28m or less who are fishing for deepwater clams or for pāua or kina in the waters around the Chatham Islands with underwater breathing apparatus.

Resources and guides

Useful resources and guides to help you meet the digital monitoring requirements are available on our digital monitoring resources web page.

Advisory groups

There are 2 advisory groups helping us develop the new reporting systems, the:

  • Implementation Advisory Group – to make sure the system is implemented properly
  • Technical Working Group – to make sure we get the standards and specifications for the systems right.

Click on the relevant group to access meeting minutes and other relevant documents.

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the information on this page, email

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