14th July 2017

Commercial Fishing To Go Digital!

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The Ministry for Primary Industries announced last night that new changes were on its way to freshen up 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 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 into each fishery from 1 October 2018.

Trawl vessels 28 metres and over will be using the GPR and e-logbooks from1 October, representing over 70 percent of the commercial catch volume. All other operators will have a 6 month period to install the new systems.

“Digital monitoring is going to revolutionise the way we make fisheries management decisions and help ensure that we are protecting the sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries. It will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” says MPI's Nathan Guy.

“This new technology will provide more accurate and up-to-date information allowing us to make quicker and better-informed management decisions.”

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.”

“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.

“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 program, which is strengthening the fisheries management system and making it fit-for-the-future. The program 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 program is available at www.mpi.govt.nz/

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