Electronic catch and position reporting

What commercial fishers need to know about the introduction of electronic catch and position reporting, as part of the digital monitoring programme.

The latest on electronic catch and position reporting

Over 28m trawlers have been reporting electronically since October 2017.

We're now preparing for the next stage of electronic catch and position reporting – introducing it across the rest of the commercial fishing industry:

  • 14 January 2019 – the rollout starts
  • 1 December 2019 – all fishers will be reporting electronically.

Until regulations, consulted on earlier this year, are finalised, and circulars approved, details may change.

The introduction of electronic catch and position reporting means you'll need to:

  • submit fishing reports electronically, instead of through the paper-based system
  • use geospatial position reporting (GPR), if you aren't already
  • report more fish than previously, including fish below the minimum legal size.

Read about implementation of the digital monitoring programme

When do I start reporting?

The rollout to remaining fishers will be done progressively, starting from 14 January 2019. The current plan is to roll it out in 8 stages.

When you start electronic catch and position reporting will depend on your total annual catch entitlement (ACE) holdings. The largest total ACE holders will be first, based on their holdings at 23.59pm on 30 September 2017.

Each of the 8 stages will have a 'can report' and a 'must report' date. So you can start early – if you're ready – from the can report date for your level of total ACE. We're doing this to limit the number of permit holders starting at any one time, so you can be supported through the change as smoothly as possible.

As soon as a vessel is reporting catch electronically it must also start electronic position reporting.

The table below has provisional stages for the rollout. Details will be finalised once the regulations are amended.

Provisional rollout of electronic reporting


Permit holder's total ACE holding 30 September 2017

Can start reporting from:

Must be reporting by:



Already reporting (28m+ trawlers)


2,000 and over

14 January 2019

1 May 2019


180 – 1,999.99

1 May 2019

1 June 2019


45 – 179.99

1 June 2019

1 July 2019


24 – 44.99

1 July 2019

1 August 2019


11 – 23.99

1 August 2019

1 September 2019


4.50 – 10.99

1 September 2019

1 October 2019


1 – 4.49

1 October 2019

1 November 2019


All other permit holders

1 November 2019

1 December 2019

Note, details are provisional and subject to change

You may have to report earlier

If a permit holder on a vessel requires electronic reporting because of their total ACE, then all other permit holders using that vessel have to report electronically (regardless of their ACE stage).

As a skipper, if you are fishing under multiple permits, you must begin electronic catch reporting as soon as it's required for the first permit holder. You won't be required to report electronically and on paper at the same time. 

Finding the right technology

We are working with technology providers to develop the products you'll need for electronic catch and position reporting and will update this section when we have more information to share with you.

We're planning to hold a series of meetings with fishers at ports around the country to talk about electronic catch and position reporting, share guidance material, and help you find out more about the technology. We'll let you know when we have times and locations.


It's difficult to give a clear idea of costs, because technology providers haven't yet released their prices.

As with any product, prices will vary depending on:

  • the seller
  • the technology you choose
  • hardware and software that you already have
  • whether you send reports using a cellular or satellite system.

Update FishServe details before you start

The introduction of electronic catch and position reporting means:

  • you will need to authorise all personnel who report, view or manage event returns on your behalf
  • fishers providing reports on your behalf will need to set their privacy setting to allow you to view their fishing locations
  • you'll need to buy an e-logbook to use for electronic catch reporting and register this with FishServe
  • vessel owners and land-based fishers must purchase a GPR device to provide location information to MPI, and register it with FishServe.

FishServe will be in touch to provide specific information to fishers ahead of their start date for the new requirements.

How to report

Reporting catch and landings

You'll be required to do a trip start and trip end report.

There will also now be 5 different fishing event reports that must be recorded, completed, and provided to FishServe separately:

  • Fish catch report: An estimate of your top 8 species whether quota management system (QMS) species or not. Must be completed within 8 hours after fishing.
  • Capture of non-fish or protected fish species report: Reports any non-fish and protected species caught for that fishing event and must be provided with the corresponding fish catch report. If caught when not fishing, for example while steaming, you must provide a report before the close of the day on which the permit holder became aware.
  • Processing report: For vessels that process their catch on board. These must be completed and provided before the close of the day:
    • following the day covered by the report, or
    • on which processing finishes, if it is done over more than one day.
  • Disposal report: Information on all fish not landed (this is an important change from the old system). A disposal report is required for each fishing event where fish are disposed unless the vessel is submitting processing reports. In this case they submit a disposal report covering the same period as the processing report.
  • Landing report: Similar to what you provide now. First you'll submit a detailed inventory of your catch when you land. You'll then update the report when you have the confirmed green weights from your licensed fish receiver.

Monthly harvest returns

Monthly harvest returns may be provided electronically now. This is likely to become mandatory under proposed new regulations.

Reporting position

Position reporting obligations fall on:

  • the vessel operator and master when using a vessel, or
  • a commercial fisher when no vessel is being used. 

When a permit holder on a vessel begins using electronic catch reporting, the vessel operator and master must begin position reporting at the same time. This means that both electronic catch and position reporting would begin on a vessel at the same time. 

If your technology fails

If you are unable to provide electronic position or catch reports because your device fails, you'll need to notify MPI and there will be a process to follow. We'll provide details before you need to start reporting.

Let your fishers know about the requirements

It's important you make sure anyone who fishes on your behalf is aware of the new electronic reporting requirements and complies with them.

Guidance and support

We're planning a series of meetings around the country to answer your questions, provide guidance material, and demonstrate the technology you'll require. We'll let you know when we have times and locations.

We'll also keep in touch through email and mail to update you with information as it becomes available.

We'll publish guidance resources on this web page as they become available to help support you through the introduction of this new reporting system.

Information for fishers on over 28m trawlers

Electronic catch and position reporting took effect on 1 October 2017 for over 28m trawlers.

Revised circulars (which detail technical and reporting requirements) were issued on 10 May 2018 and took effect 1 July. The earlier circulars issued in 2017 remain in place until 30 September 2018 during a transition period.

Most changes to the circulars are minor and technical in nature. All permit holders fishing on over-28m trawl vessels, already using e-logbooks, should work with their e-logbook providers to ensure devices are updated before 30 September 2018.

Guides for over 28m trawl reporting

A user guide is available (in English, Korean and Russian) to help you meet the reporting requirements.

Regulations, circulars and exemptions

How we'll protect your privacy

You may be concerned about what will happen to the information collected from digital monitoring.

We have well-tested systems and tools in place to protect private and commercially sensitive information – we understand that your fishing knowledge is valuable. 

Who to contact

If you have any questions about electronic catch and position reporting email the Digital Monitoring team at digitalmonitoring@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed:
Has this been useful? Give us your feedback