fisheries, sustainability, Fisheries NZ

Report: New Zealand fisheries highly sustainable

Photography by: Getty Images

New Zealand’s fisheries are highly sustainable and fish stocks are healthy, with 94% of catch coming from stocks with no sustainability risks, according to a new report from Fisheries NZ

Each year, Fisheries New Zealand assesses the status of fish stocks using scientific research, validated catch, and fishing effort reports from commercial fisheries and data from their on-board observer programme.


The remaining fisheries have formal plans in place to increase fish numbers and rebuild the stocks through use of the Quota Management System.

Success stories highlighted in the most recent report include news that two Chatham Rise orange roughy sub-stocks were re-assessed in 2018 (with one also being reassessed in 2020) and found to be performing well. The Challenger orange roughy stock was also shown to be performing well when it was re-assessed in 2019.

The snapper stock off the northwest coast of the North Island was re-assessed in 2021 and the north and west coasts of the South Island in 2020. Both stocks have shown substantial increases in size in recent years and are now well above their biomass limits and at or above their management targets.

In addition, the assessment indicates strong performance for eastern stocks of hoki, both hake stocks, five ling stocks, three pāua stocks, and one scampi stock (with another three performing near or above favourable levels).

"Fisheries New Zealand is serious about protecting New Zealand’s fisheries. We carry out research on fish stocks regularly. It helps us make sure they're healthy and sustainable," the organisation says.

Technology allows scientists to accurately estimate the distribution and size of many fish populations. This research helps the Government set annual catch limits and other management measures to ensure fishers don't catch too much. If the research shows that fish numbers have grown, catch limits may be increased. If estimated fish numbers have decreased, then catch limits may be reduced and other management measures introduced.

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