Digital monitoring of commercial fishing

Digital technologies are improving the tracking, reporting, and monitoring of commercial fishing.

What's digital monitoring?

Digital monitoring 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 helps support sustainable fisheries.

A digital system for tracking, reporting, and monitoring commercial fishing activity gives 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.

Other fisheries around the world also use digital technology to report catch, effort, and position data.

What's happening?

  • All commercial fishers must report their catch and position electronically.  
  • On-board cameras were introduced from 1 November 2019 for key vessels that fish in Māui dolphin habitat off the west coast of the North Island. For all other vessels a holding date of 1 July 2020 has been set. Before then, the regulations would not apply to them. At this stage, no decisions have been made about any wider roll-out of on-board cameras.

Regulations, circulars and exemptions 

The regulations to enable digital monitoring and innovative trawl technology came into force on 1 October 2017. Amended regulations for electronic catch and position reporting took effect on 10 January 2019.

Amended regulations for on-board cameras took effect on 1 August 2019.

Resources, guides, and support

Digital monitoring resources and guides

Newsletters for fishers

Digital Monitoring update – November 2019 [PDF, 169 KB [PDF, 169 KB]]

Previous editions

Support for fishers

Fisheries New Zealand understands that there are many challenges that fishers, their whanau, and their communities face. Find out about some national and regional services that can help and advise on health, wellbeing, and making business decisions.

Explore the support available

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.

Who to contact

If you have any questions about digital monitoring of commercial fishing, email

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