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


Digital Monitoring update – June 2019 [PDF, 375 KB]

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What's digital monitoring?

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

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 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?

Regulations, circulars and exemptions 

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

The Fisheries (Electronic Monitoring on Vessels) Regulations 2017 have been amended to replace the dates on which the regulations apply to the first 3 stages of vessels with the date 1 August 2019. The amended regulations took effect on 31 January 2019.

The effect of the amendments is that permit holders and vessel masters are not required to install or operate cameras on fishing vessels until 1 August 2019 or a later date specified in Schedule 1 of the regulations. There are no longer any exemptions from complying with the regulations.


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

Electronic catch reporting exemptions

An exemption from part of the electronic catch reporting requirements is in place for fishers targeting dredge oyster in the OYU 5 quota management area, as defined in Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Fisheries Act 1996.

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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