Responsible Fisher Passport

Leading the way!

The NZ seafood industry plays a key role in the country’s economy. Our seafood products are world class, contributing around $2 billion in export earnings in 2020 and employing more than 13,000 people. To maintain our place on the world stage, there is increasing demand from our local and international customers to prove that our product is caught sustainably without harm to the environment.
The government have stated that installing cameras onboard commercial vessels will be proof of our sustainable fishing practices and form a key part of the long-term health and resilience of our marine ecosystems. On-board cameras will be installed on up to 300 commercial fishing vessels between 2022 and 2024. Cameras will be used to record footage of onboard fishing activity in real time.

The camera footage provided will be used to:
  • support the reputation of our fishing industry
  • support the reputation of our fishing industry
  • help fisheries management to make decisions
To help you understand how the on-board cameras will impact your work environment and raise your awareness of sustainable fishing practices we have developed the Responsible Fisher Passport aimed at skippers and crew and will provide plenty of Responsible Fisher tips to help you navigate through these unchartered waters and become a future proof Responsible Fisher.
We have also found lots of useful resources that you can download and print and other useful videos that will help train your crew in sustainable fishing methods. 

Responsible Fisher Passport

Lesson series
This voyage will take you through 4 modules to help you prepare for increased visibility and responsibilities following the launch of the On-board Camera Project for commercial fishing vessels.
The total course will take you approximately 90 minutes online and you are able to do one module at a time or all, at a time that suits you.

On completion of all modules you will receive a Responsible Fisher Passport Certificate. This video will provide you with an overview of the course and an introduction to the on-board camera project.

Select the tabs to review module content

Module 1: Compliance & Monitoring
Module 2: Protecting our Marine Life
Module 3: Protecting our Reputation
Module 4: Providing a Safe Workplace
Module 4: Providing a Safe Workplace
Vessels are a dynamic workplace, and some days are more challenging than others as catches, weather and general operations can change at the drop of a hat. As a Responsible Fisher, we manage these challenges with good health & safety practices, so that every day, is a safe day!

This module will help raise your awareness on:
  • Health and Safety Legislation for your vessel and crew 
  • Roles and responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015)
  • Requirements for Risk Management 
  • Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) considerations 
  • And provide you with some Responsible Fisher tips
Module 2: Protecting our Marine Life
The commercial fishing industry plays an important role in protecting our marine environment. We provide valuable data on fish stocks, marine mammals and seabirds to reduce unwanted interactions with all protected species.
Fishers are increasingly investing in new technology and changes to the design and operation of fishing gear to improve the quality of the catch and reduce our environmental footprint to protect our oceans and life that lives in, on, or around it.

This module will help raise your awareness on
  • Preventing pollution and protecting the environment
  • Mammal, seabird and shark mitigation
  • How you can meet requirements
  • And provide you with some Responsible Fisher tips
Module 3: Protecting our Reputation
New Zealand is recognised as a world leader in seafood due our responsible and sustainable fishing methods.
To gain access to our international markets there are mandatory requirements. Our local markets are expecting similar standards, and this includes not only looking at how we fish sustainably, but also how we care for our workers, the health and safety practices that we use and how we ensure our fish meets food safety and hygiene standards. Knowing the process, ask yourself “Would I eat this fish and would the customers by happy with our onboard processes?”
On-board cameras could be used to verify, that we meet these requirements. 

This module will help raise your awareness on:
  • Looking after your crews welfare and wellbeing 
  • Food safety and hygiene standards
  • And provide you with some Responsible Fisher tips
Module 1: Compliance & Monitoring
To become a commercial fisher in New Zealand it’s important to understand the legal requirements to fish and the regulations in place to ensure this is managed sustainably.

This module is provided in two parts:
  • Part 1: Legislation includes your legal requirements as a commercial fisher, an overview of the Quota Management System and Fishing Management Areas (FMAs) and you will be provided some Responsible Fisher tips to help you train your crew and remain a responsible and compliant fisher.
  • Part 2: Digital Monitoring includes the recording and reporting technologies onboard your vessel, the implementation of on-board cameras, the role of the Fisheries Observer and some tips on recording and reporting as a Responsible Fisher.

Responsible Fisher Resources

We have searched the web to find you the resources you need to be a Responsible Fisher.

Click on the resource name to open up the URL to download the resource and print.

DOC - Mitigation Device Videos

DOC has produced some excellent videos to illustrate how mitigation devices work. A great training tool for crew.

Bird Bafflers

Bird bafflers are an essential mitigation tool in trawl fisheries. The purpose of this device is to deter seabirds away from the area where the net and warp cables enter the water.

Tori or Streamer Lines

A tori line is an essential mitigation tool in longline fisheries to scare birds away from the mainline and therefore the hooks they sink. It is also used in trawl fisheries to deter seabirds from coming into contact with trawl warps.

Hook Shielding Devices

Hook shielding devices is new innovation currently on the market. This device shields the hooks from the seabirds when setting the line, by covering the barb of hooks until the baited hook is below the diving range of the birds.

Sink Rates

Birds are most at risk between the time when hooks leave the vessel to when they sink below the diving range of the birds. Line weighting close to the hooks and setting speed are both essential components to making sure your sink rates are effective.

Light Management

Night setting can greatly reduce the incidental capture of seabirds. Despite this, the moon phase effects light levels at night-time which can greatly increase nocturnal birds ability to detect fishing activity. Keeping deck lighting to a minimum will reduce seabird attraction to fishing vessels.

Discard Management

The discharge of offal and fish waste acts as an attractant to seabirds to areas of high risk, managing when and where this discharge occurs will greatly reduce the chance of interactions resulting in injuries and mortality of protected species.

Spark Onboard Cameras

If for any reason there is a problem with the operation of the on-board cameras,
please call 0800 225 674.
This number will be staffed by Spark Business Group 24/7 from November 2022. Use this number to log any issues identified before departure or that occur at sea. The support desk staff will work with you urgently to resolve any issues, collect information should you need to apply for an exemption, and minimise any potential disruption to fishing activities.

Fisheries NZ

If you cannot meet your obligations to report electronically then contact MPI on 0800 00 8333


If you need advice on how to report electronically contact
FishServe on 04 460 9550

DOC Liaison Officer

If you need support with the development of your Protected Species Management Plan, advice on best practice mitigation, or in-person training for your crew.  Email:


If you would like to get in touch with FirstMate, visit them online at to find out more or give them a call on 0800 ADRIFT (237 438) any day between 7am and 10pm to talk through what you need to stay on course. 

Safe and sustainable fishing is everyone's responsibility – A canoe which we are all in with no exception. 
“He waka eke noa”