The Government says new regulations gazetted today will help revolutionise the way New Zealand’s commercial fisheries are managed and monitored.
The regulations require the use of geospatial position reporting (GPR), e-logbooks, and cameras across the commercial fishing industry and are being rolled out from 1 October this year.
The Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy says digital monitoring will revolutionise fisheries management decisions, and help ensure the protection the sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries.
"It will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” he says.
Digital monitoring replaces the paper-based catch and effort reporting system for commercial fishing, which was too inefficient. Fishers will be required to provide more detailed information in their reporting and all data will be integrated by MPI so that what is reported can be compared to the GPR data and camera footage.
“The reality of the industry has too often meant that what happens at sea has been out of sight. We expect this new system will act as a significant deterrent to illegal activity, as the information it captures can and will be used by MPI for prosecutions when the rules are broken," he says.
The first two stages of digital monitoring – GPR and catch reporting via new e-logbooks – will be brought in from 1 October this year, with cameras phased in to each fishery from 1 October 2018.
Trawl vessels 28 metres and over will be using the GPR and e-logbooks from 1 October, representing over 70 percent of the commercial catch volume. All other operators will have a 6 month period to install the new systems.
“This is the biggest change to the commercial fishing industry since the introduction of the Quota Management System, and I have instructed MPI to support the industry to achieve full implementation and compliance over a six-month period," he says.
By 1 April 2018 all fishing permit holders will be required to be fully compliant with the GPR and e-logbook systems.
Digital monitoring is part of the Future of our Fisheries programme, which is strengthening the fisheries management system and making it fit-for-the future. The programme also includes ongoing policy work to help ensure sustainable fisheries.
This year’s Budget included a boost of $30.5 million in funding over the next four years to support these improvements.
More information on this new system and the Future of our Fisheries programme is available here.
The Fisheries Act 1996 new regulations gazetted are; Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017, Fisheries (Geospatial Position Reporting) Regulations 2017, Fisheries (Electronic Monitoring on Vessels) Regulations 2017 and Fisheries (Trawling) Amendment Regulations 2017.