Seafood Innovations

Seafood Innovations Ltd was established as a joint venture research consortium company by the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council and Plant & Food (the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited) to promote research relating to the seafood industry in New Zealand. FRST (the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology) is a cornerstone investor in the company on behalf of the New Zealand Government.

Seafood Innovations Ltd encourages and provides funding support for innovative research and development within the seafood industry, with the aim of adding value to the sector.

For more information about research ventures and funding visit Seafood Innovations website or contact Tony Hadfield.


Seafood Standards Council

The Seafood Standards Council is an official committee of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council in cooperation with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority. It is primarily concerned with the assurance of food safety and market access for seafood produced in New Zealand. Acting as an advisory council to industry and Government, it is this country’s officially recognised technical authority in:

Setting standards of seafood safety
Specifying competence and diligence requirements
Identifying training requirements and facilitating the provision of training
Keeping the industry well informed on seafood safety
Developing negotiating strategies for access to overseas markets
Providing policy advice to Government and industry organisations on seafood safety.
For more information visit the Seafood Standards Council website »


Trade & International Policy

Important information for exporters
Notification of Significant Changes to Seafood Export Customs and Tariff Export Recording

As from 1 January 2012, widespread changes to the international Harmonised System of Customs Classification of seafood products in international trade (HS 2012) will come into force. The changes were agreed to in the World Customs Organisation in 2009, of which New Zealand is a member.

Please download the documents below for further information.

Customs Tariff Change Letter 303kB
2012 Correlation Key 234kB
The International arena
Obligations to ensure the protection and responsible utilisation of fish stocks extend beyond our territorial seas. New Zealand is a signatory to treaties that require international sustainable management of fish stocks.
International interest in and respect for the Quota Management System has increased liaison with other fishing nations with an interest in managing wild resources sustainably, as well as managing access to marine resources.

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council has worked closely with government agencies to support an expert, technical review in the World Trade Organisation of the impact of subsidies on the international trade in fish and fish products. Open and liberal trading conditions are essential for the economic well being of the New Zealand seafood industry because such a large proportion of its revenue comes from exports.


Seafood ITO

The seafood industry has a growing demand for skilled and competent people throughout the industry, from operators to managers.

The Seafood Industry Training Organisation (Seafood ITO) facilitates competence-based training across all areas of the industry, including both industry-specific training, such as seafood processing and more general training, eg management and information technology skills. Seafood ITO does this by:

working closely with the industry to develop and maintain seafood training standards and qualifications
accessing government training funds for the industry
co-ordinating training providers to meet the training needs of companies
working with individual companies to analyse and meet training needs
Identifying current and future skill needs for the industry and developing training strategies to meet those needs.
A Maori caucus within Seafood ITO, made up of representatives of Te Ohu Kai Moana develop key policy issues for Maori in seafood industry training.

For detailed information about the Seafood Industry Training Organisation visit the Seafood ITO website. Or contact Seafood ITO on:
ph: +64 4 385 4005
fax: +64 4 385 2727



The role of the communications team is to promote and protect the seafood industry’s reputation by:

Promoting the industry’s environmental record by showing the industry’s sustainability and economic contribution.
Providing consumers with ways to handle and prepare seafood.
Demonstrating the seafood’s value proposition to consumers in terms of price, health benefits, and environmental performance.
We actively engage with the education sector to build and distribute lesson plans around sustainability and the role of a sustainable seafood industry in providing jobs and contributing to New Zealand’s prosperity.
We represent the seafood sector’s interests with government, media and other organisations.
We enable industry to have a collective voice and deliver clear and consistent messages about our industry to the public to ensure that they are aware of our industry practices and standards which are in place to achieve and maintain sustainability.

For any media and communications enquiries, please contact:

Sid Pickering
Communications Advisor
Phone: 04 802 1518
Mobile: 027 293 2321


Policy group

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council’s Policy group is New Zealand’s leading provider of policy advice to the commercial seafood sector, including both fishing and aquaculture. Working with the Council’s Board, seafood industry groups, government agencies and other stakeholders, the policy team identifies, and helps the industry take advantage of, opportunities for growth and development while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries resources.

The Policy group supports the seafood industry by providing policy advice to industry and government on:

Strategic Policy
Property Rights
Fisheries Management and the Environment
Current policy issues
The Policy group may be involved in a number of issues at any one time that are important or relevant to the seafood industry. At present there is a focus on:

Shared Fisheries Policy
Industry Development & Tools for Collective Action
Energy Efficiency
Strategic Policy
The industry needs to anticipate and respond to changes in its operating environment. The Policy group is meeting this challenge with a range of strategic policy programmes based on the Industry Development Framework.
Consultation is at the heart of modern fisheries management. The Policy group makes sure the industry’s voice is heard in the various consultation processes run by central government. This ensures active participation in such key areas as required fisheries services and conservation services, cost-recovery and sustainability measures. We also provide assistance to industry groups involved in regional planning processes – for example, in the establishment of Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs).
Property Rights
Strong and clear harvesting rights ensure sustainable and profitable fisheries and aquaculture. The Policy group advises the industry on all issues with property rights implications.
The group’s focus is on developing policies to improve the definition and integration of the rights of all those who have an interest in the marine environment. Marine protected areas, oceans policy, customary fishing rights and improving the management of recreational fishing are some of the issues that we are involved in. We also provide assistance to industry groups who may be affected by local issues such as new marine reserve proposals.

Fisheries Management and the Environment

The Policy group assists in the preparation of industry fisheries plans and promotes a collaborative approach to fisheries management between industry, government and other stakeholders.
Good environmental performance safeguards the industry’s future. The Policy group assists the industry to adopt a strategic and pro-active approach to managing any adverse effects of fishing, as part of our overall engagement in responsible fisheries management.

Input into the laws that affect fisheries is crucial. The Policy group ensures that the industry maintains a role in shaping all new legislation relevant to the industry and helping implement the Fisheries Act 1996.


Science group

To ensure that the management of New Zealand’s seafood resource has a strong foundation, the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Science group provides quality science services and promotes excellence in research and development.

Measuring and managing fisheries, fish stocks and their effect on the marine environment is a complicated business. Complex methods and specialised expertise are required.

The Council’s Science group has established a well-deserved reputation providing services to the New Zealand seafood industry and also consulting services in New Zealand and overseas.

Supporting the Industry
The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Science group’s purpose is to support commercial stakeholders promote a sustainable and profitable seafood industry, recognising their commitment to efficient utilisation of resources, while ensuring sustainability.

Part of the commodity levy paid by quota owners and permit holders is used to fund the activities of the Science group. These activities provide the seafood industry with credible seafood research and independent advice. This enables the industry to lead the management of its seafood resources, and participate in research planning processes.

Based on robust and credible science, the seafood industry can make decisions that balance the utilisation and sustainability of seafood resources.

Key activities

Stock assessment and related fisheries research remain a key role for the Science group. The unit makes industry-led research accessible and affordable by designing industry-managed data collection systems, and by providing expert services and advice.

In conjunction with other units of the Council, a major emphasis is being placed on developing capacity within the seafood industry for science services and fisheries planning purposes. The Science group is further developing its capacity to provide services and advice in the wider science issues affecting the management of seafood resources today.

The Science group provides consultancy services in fisheries science and management. More information on the services offered, past and current collaborations and projects, and the credentials of the group, will be available on these pages soon.

For information on the Adaptive Management Programme (AMP) and the reviews please visit the Adaptive Management Programme page »


The Commodity Levy

Commodity Levy Renewal

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Commodity Levy is used to fund the Council’s general work and by CSOs to fund projects.

The current Levy rate came into effect on 1 October 2005. A proposal to renew the Commodity Levy at the existing rate in August 2006 received strong endorsement from the industry. The postal ballot resulted in 82% support by the simple proportion of votes in favour and against. The value of rights represented by each vote was also calculated and received 96% support.

The Levy Order was extended in December 2006 until 10 March 2013.

Declared Port Prices
The Levy is set against the Declared Port Prices for all commercially caught and produced fish, including fish produced from aquaculture. The Declared Port Price is the simple average of independently surveyed prices paid for fish over the last three years.

The Port Price is established by an independent survey, conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries, of the prices that would be paid during each 12 month period for the fish (excluding goods and services tax) by an independent processor buying from an independent fisher or fish farmer. Where survey data is inadequate an estimate is made. Port Prices are based on the best available information.

Levy Rates Calculation
The Levy is calculated in two components. The Core Services Levy that funds the generic industry services provided by the Council in its Business Plan to 30 September 2007 is set at a rate of 0.525% of the Declared Port Price. Where a species managed under the Quota Management System has been under-caught by more than 20% of the TACC for the last three years (i.e. less than 80% of the TACC has been caught) the levy rate has been adjusted down in proportion to match the average catch rate.
The second component of levy in a number of cases is the Stock Specific Levy. This is a levy to be collected to pay for projects mandated by levy payers for those particular stocks and will purchase projects related to those stocks to be undertaken by Commercial Stakeholder Organisations that represent those fish stocks as shareholders in SeaFIC.

The maximum total levy that is permitted in the Levy Order is 5%. The maximum levy that has been set in all cases is less than the maximum. The total levies are set out in the Schedule below.

Collecting the Levy
The Levy on species managed under the Quota Management System is collected on a monthly basis by invoicing owners of quota. Invoices are sent out monthly to all Levy Payers whose levy liabilities are more than $50 in the month. Where a Levy Payer’s total liability is less than $50 a month, the liability accrues until it has reached $50, at which point a levy invoice and statement is issued.
For species outside the Quota Management System, including fish produced from fish farming (aquaculture), levy is collected at the point of sale to licensed fish receivers or fish processors. Direct sales by fish farmers to the public are also liable to pay levy.


Contact us

You can contact us by email, post or telephone. Or you can fill out the form below, click the Contact Us tab, and it will automatically be forwarded to us.

If you want to make contact with a Council staff member by email the convention is, eg


Industry Structure

The New Zealand seafood industry works under a structure comprising Rights Owners, Commercial Stakeholder Organisations (CSOs), and the company established to work on behalf of the industry – the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council. The relationships between these various components of the industry are shown in the diagram at right.

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council works on behalf of the New Zealand industry, looking after the interests of a diverse industry and promoting healthy growth.

The Council’s main focus is in shaping policies and the regulatory framework, lobbying for surety of access to fisheries, reducing tariffs, working co-operatively on fisheries management and environmental issues and also providing an avenue for funding for scientific research and value-added information.

Council subsidiary, Commercial Fisheries Services Ltd – FishServe as it is commonly known – operates many aspects of the quota management system, including the registry of quota ownership, trades, catch entitlements, permits and catch records for the Ministry of Fisheries and other stakeholders.
“Seafood New Zealand”
Also under the Council’s umbrella is the monthly Seafood New Zealand magazine with a readership of more than 18,000 people ranging from skippers to fishing company executives and researchers to consumers.
Seafood ITO
Another key role for the levy-funded Council is providing training programmes through the Seafood Industry Training Organisation (Seafood ITO). Seafood ITO aims to ensure that the industry has available the skills and experience needed at every stage of the harvest and delivery system in order for the industry to compete internationally and meet customer and consumer needs.
Industry structure
Click for larger image »