April 2021
This is the final annual report for MIT2017-01: Protected species liaison project 2019/20.


In order to effectively reduce the risk of interactions with protected species, it is important for vessels to be using best practice mitigation and to follow steps laid out by both regulatory and non-regulatory measures. With the support of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand (FINZ), the Conservation Services Programme (CSP) Protected Species Liaison Project aims to increase uptake of best practice mitigation for inshore and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) fishing vessels. This is achieved by building one-on-one relationships, providing advice, and educating fishers on protected species information.

The Liaison Programme began in 2014-15 (MIT2014-03) with a focus on surface and bottom longliners. Over the years the programme has expanded to include inshore trawl and set net fleets, with opportunistic engagement in dredging, jig and Danish seine.There are currently five regionally-focused liaison officers. 

In the 2019-20 fishing year (01 October 2019- 30 September 2020) the Liaison Programme reviewed 114 PSRMPs and developed a total of 25 new PSRMPs for inshore / Highly Migratory Species (HMS) vessels. A total of 84 PSRMP audits were completed by Observer Services and forwarded on to the Liaison Programme. These comprised of 13 surface longline audits, 27 bottom longline audits, 38 trawl audits and 6 set net audits. Of the vessels observed, there was 31% adherence in the SLL fleet, 37% adherence in the BLL fleet, 61% adherence in the trawl fleet and 100% adherence in the set net fleet. Appropriate offal management by vessels seemed to be a common reason for non-adherence across the fishing methods. Furthermore, non-adherent BLL vessels tended to not control/dim their spotlights and non-adherent trawl vessels were often missing useful bycatch mitigation documents (ie. PSRMPs, Operational Procedures and 10 Golden Rules).

We received 41 triggers from 17 different vessels. These were largely comprised of surface longline (SLL) and bottom longline (BLL) fishing methods and were mostly in relation to black petrels and flesh-footed shearwaters. All but two trigger events were followed up by Liaison Officers: one dead flesh-footed shearwater capture by a vessel that was not in the programme, and one dead green turtle capture, where the vessel involved changed ownership shortly after. 

Within the coming years the capacity of the programme is expected to grow to provide full outreach to all relevant inshore and HMS fisheries. There is a particular interest to include both harbour setnet and purse seine in the 2020-21 financial year. With this growth, additional LOs will be needed to expand into more fisheries and areas, increase contact with high-risk vessels and develop training plans for crew on protected species and bycatch mitigation.

Publication information

Plencner, T. 2021. CSP Liaison programme annual report 2019-20. Final report for MIT2017-01, Department of Conservation. 22 p.


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


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