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New Zealand Fisheries

  • Approximately 600,000 tonnes of seafood (excluding aquaculture) is harvested from New Zealand's waters each year.
  • The seafood industry employs over 20,000 people.
  • New Zealand earns around $1.79 billion in seafood exports each year.
  • New Zealand's marine fisheries waters (Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial sea) measures 4.4m km2, and is the world's fourth largest EEZ, making it an ocean territory 'superpower'.
  • New Zealand's 15,134 km long coastline is the ninth longest in the world.
  • Sustainability of New Zealand fish stocks is ensured through a world leading Quota Management System (QMS) that controls harvest levels for each fish species and area.

Did you know?

  • New Zealand's hoki fisheries were the first major fisheries in the world to be certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC is the gold-star in certification labels rewarding sustainable seafood practices.
  • New Zealand's southern blue whiting fisheries were the first major whitefish fisheries in the world to be certified sustainable by the MSC.
  • Seven different fisheries have been MSC certified; hoki, hake, ling, southern blue whiting, orange roughy, skipjack and albacore tuna.
  • More than 90% of New Zealand's seabed has never been touched by trawlers, while 30% is protected by law from trawling.
  • 17 areas within the New Zealand EEZ are closed to bottom trawling since April 2007. These areas, known as benthic protection areas, protect at least 10% of each of the different seabed habitat types found within New Zealand waters.
  • New Zealand's benthic protection area network is one of the world's largest marine conservation areas, covering an area four times the country's landmass.
  • New Zealand became one of only two countries to achieve a top ranking in a review of fisheries management systems around the world in 2009, and in a second study, was ranked first among the 53 major fishing nations for managing marine resources.
  • 123 species are commercially fished in New Zealand. 100 of those species are managed under the QMS in 642 stock areas.
  • Maori own 50% of New Zealand's fishing quota.
  • Each year, the Ministry for Primary Industries reviews the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for fish stocks and sets limits so that enough fish remain for breeding.
  • 97% of New Zealand's commercial catch is from sustainable stocks, according to Ministry for Primary Industries research.