Apply for an authorisation to move, possess or farm freshwater species.

New Zealand’s freshwater ecosystems contain a number of rare and endangered species. To ensure there is minimal impact on our ecosystems anyone wanting to move, possess or farm freshwater species must have authorisation (permission). 

What are ‘freshwater species’? 

When we say ‘freshwater species’ we mean live aquatic life as defined in the Conservation Act. This includes: 

  • native fish species, eg tuna, eels, giant kokopu, smelt
  • introduced fish species, eg trout, perch, grass carp
  • freshwater invertebrates, eg freshwater crayfish/koura, mussels
  • aquatic plants.  

How to get authorisation  

Authorisations involving freshwater species are approved by DOC and in some cases other agencies such as the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). 

Read the information in this section if you want to apply to: 

To use an electric fishing device to sample freshwater species you will need an authorisation under Section 26ZR of the Conservation Act 1987. Download an authorisation form - see under Research or collection.


You will be penalised if you are caught doing any of the following.

  • Transfering or releasing any live aquatic life to freshwater without approval carries a $5000 fine. This includes restricted fish  – grass carp or silver carp.
  • Possessing, rearing, raising, hatching or consigning noxious fish without approval carries a $5000 fine.
  • Releasing, spreading, selling or breeding unwanted organisms can result in imprisonment for up to five years and/or carry a fine of up to $100,000.

Report illegal activity.

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