We manage New Zealand's deepwater fisheries under a national deepwater fisheries plan. Learn how we make sure our deepwater fisheries are fished sustainably.
About deepwater fisheries
Deepwater and middle-depth fisheries are located between 12 nautical miles and 200 nautical miles offshore – out to the limit of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone. Commercially fished species include hoki, hake, ling, southern blue whiting, jack mackerel, squid, oreo, and orange roughy.
Over 200,000 tonnes of fish are caught from deepwater fisheries each year. The fisheries were worth an estimated $660 million in export earnings in 2016.
Stocks ranked by commercial importance
Deepwater fisheries (including mid-water fisheries) are ranked into 3 tiers:
- Tier 1 – are high volume, high value quota management system (QMS) stocks that commercial fishers usually target.
- Tier 2 – are QMS stocks that are smaller or less valuable bycatch fisheries, or are only targeted at certain times of the year.
- Tier 3 – are bycatch species that aren't managed through the QMS.
Plan to manage deepwater fisheries
We manage deepwater fisheries under the National fisheries plan for deepwater and middle-depth fisheries (National deepwater plan) developed in collaboration with the fishing industry and environmental non-government organisations.
The plan has 3 parts:
- Part 1: Strategic direction for deepwater fisheries management
- Part 2: Annual operational plan – outlines actions to deliver during the current financial year
- Part 3: Annual review report – assesses how we performed over the past financial year.
Part 1 is divided into parts 1A and 1B.
Part 1A provides the overall strategic direction for deepwater fisheries.
- Download Part 1A [PDF, 1.4 MB]
Part 1B has chapters for key (tier 1) species and associated (tier 2) bycatch.
- Hoki [PDF, 707 KB]
- Hake [PDF, 2.5 MB]
- Ling [PDF, 2.9 MB]
- Southern blue whiting [PDF, 4.6 MB]
- Jack mackerel [PDF, 5.1 MB]
- Orange roughy [PDF, 1.3 MB]
- Oreo [PDF, 15 MB]
Annual operational plan and review report
The annual operational plan and review report are updated each financial year.
Annual operational plan
- Annual operational plan for deepwater fisheries 2020/21 [PDF, 1.4 MB]
- Annual operational plan for deepwater fisheries 2019/20 [PDF, 1.9 MB]
- Annual operational plan for deepwater fisheries 2018/19 [PDF, 1.1 MB]
- Annual operational plan for deepwater fisheries 2017/18 [PDF, 720 KB]
- Annual operational plan for deepwater fisheries 2016/17 [PDF, 5.1 MB]
- Annual operational plan for deepwater fisheries 2015/16 [PDF, 1.6 MB]
Annual review report
The latest review report consists of 2 documents; a comprehensive full report and an accompanying abstract which summarises the full report.
- Annual review report for deepwater fisheries 2018/19 [PDF, 3.4 MB]
- Annual review report for deepwater fisheries 2017/18 [PDF, 3 MB]
- Annual review report for deepwater fisheries 2016/17 [PDF, 2.8 MB]
- Annual review report for deepwater fisheries 2015/16 [PDF, 2.8 MB]
Deepwater fisheries are managed sustainably under the QMS and other management controls. All QMS fish stocks have catch limits set at levels that keep populations healthy in the long-term.
Find out more
- Medium Term Research Plan for Deepwater Fisheries [PDF, 296 KB]
- New Zealand’s QMS fact sheet [PDF, 457 KB]
- Hoki fact sheet [PDF, 743 KB]
- Orange roughy fact sheet [PDF, 537 KB]
- Protecting New Zealand's seabed from bottom trawling fact sheet [PDF, 375 KB]
- Sustainable fisheries
Sustainable fisheries certification
Important deepwater fisheries are certified by the internationally recognised Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as meeting high sustainablility and environmental standards.
New Zealand certified fisheries include hoki, hake, ling, southern blue whiting, albacore tuna troll, and orange roughy.
Certification gives New Zealanders:
- assurance that these fisheries are being managed sustainably
- access to important international markets for certain species – others can trust our fishing practices.
Co-management of deepwater fisheries
We manage New Zealand's deepwater fisheries with the commercial fishing industry under a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This allows us to manage deepwater fisheries using the combined knowledge, experience, skills, and perspectives of Fisheries New Zealand and industry.
Find out more
- Squid 6T Operational Plan 2019-2023 [PDF, 455 KB]
- Understanding the economics of squid jigging in New Zealand waters [PDF, 2 MB]
- 2020 Operational plan to manage the incidental capture of New Zealand sea lions in the southern blue whiting fishery (SBW61) [PDF, 424 KB]
- National plan of action for seabirds to reduce incidental catch [PDF, 9.4 MB]
- National plan of action for conservation and management of sharks [PDF, 709 KB]
- Deepwater Fisheries Management Review Report [PDF, 7 MB]
- Forms and resources
Who to contact
If you have questions about deepwater or middle-depth fisheries, email firstname.lastname@example.org