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
  • ensure the sustainability of our fisheries
  • 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

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.

Useful Contacts

Spark On-board 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: [email protected]


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.  

Responsible Fisher Module Outlines

Select the tabs to review module content

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 PDF.  You can then 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.


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