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

Electronic catch and position reporting is being introduced for all fishers not currently using it, in 8 stages that started in January and will finish in December 2019. Over 28m trawlers have been reporting electronically since October 2017. 

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.

View the regulations and circulars
Read about implementation of the digital monitoring programme

Electronic reporting workshops

We've set dates for a series of workshops around the country to help commercial fishers make the switch to electronic reporting. You're invited to attend one or more of them.

When do I start reporting?

When you start electronic catch and position reporting will depend on your total annual catch entitlement (ACE) holdings, or the total ACE holdings of the permit holder you fish for. The largest total ACE holders will be first, based on their holdings at 23.59pm on 30 September 2017. Find your stage in the table below. Stages and start dates are also on the FishServe website.

Each of the 8 stages will have a 'can report' and a 'must report' date.  

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

Staged 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, if you become a permit holder on or after 14 January 2019, you must start electronic reporting immediately.

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 for all permit holders 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. Once you've started electronic reporting you must keep reporting electronically.

Technology for electronic catch and position reporting

Guidance and a list of technology providers are available to help you choose the best technology for your situation.

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 notify the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) via 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 be an additional 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. For trawl fishers report the top 5 quota management system (QMS) species and top 3 non-QMS species. All other methods report the top 8 species whether QMS 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 of the capture.
  • 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 will be mandatory from 1 December 2019.

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 discover that your electronic catch or position reporting technology is not working during the course of a fishing trip, contact your technology provider so they can try to fix the issue.

If you don't think you will be able to meet your electronic catch or position reporting requirements, contact MPI by phone: 0800 00 83 33, or by email: NCC@mpi.govt.nz

You can contact a third party (such as your partner or an employee) to relay a message to MPI on your behalf (for example, using VHF radio).

Exemptions from electronic catch or position reporting

You can apply for an exemption from the electronic catch or position reporting requirements if you can show that you are unable to meet them. For example, suitable reporting technology might not be available for your fishing method yet.

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

For a quick guide to electronic catch and position reporting, and how it will work for you, take a look at the following:

We've set dates for a series of workshops around the country. You're invited to attend one or more.

Protecting information collected through electronic reporting

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

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

Download our guide on protecting information collected through electronic reporting. It outlines what we do to protect sensitive information, and what you can do when you choose and use electronic reporting devices.

We have also developed a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to address potential privacy issues specific to digital monitoring (previously called IEMRS). The PIA considers the protection of privacy and information sharing between government agencies. It includes measures to ensure that all digital monitoring data provided to Fisheries New Zealand gets encrypted before we share it.

Who to contact

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

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