East coast tarakihi fishery rebuild

We're rebuilding the east coast tarakihi fishery. Find out about the rebuild plan and track its progress.

The east coast tarakihi fishery area

The east coast tarakihi fishery consists of quota management areas:

  • TAR 2 and TAR 3
  • the east coast portions of TAR 1 and TAR 7.

A map of the fishery and tarakihi quota management areas

A map of New Zealand and the quota management areas surrounding it, with the eastern tarakihi fishery highlighted.
The east coast tarakihi fishery area is shaded blue.

About the fishery

This is an important commercial fishery. More than 90% of the tarakihi caught are sold locally. It is also highly valued by recreational fishers and considered taonga by Māori.

But its popularity has meant fish numbers have declined. The number of tarakihi is about half target levels.

Commercial catch limits have been lowered to help stocks recover. Under the current catch limits, we estimate it will take 25 years to get stock back to the target. 

To help speed up recovery, the Minister of Fisheries has agreed to an industry-developed rebuild plan that commits to a 20-year rebuild. It's called the Eastern Tarakihi Management Strategy and Rebuild Plan 2019.

Eastern Tarakihi Management Strategy and Rebuild Plan 2019 [PDF, 11 MB]

The Eastern Tarakihi Management Strategy and Rebuild Plan 2019 has 2 parts: a cover letter that provides supporting information to the rebuild plan, and the plan itself. These should be read together.

What the plan involves

The plan has been developed by Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Southern Inshore Fisheries, and Te Ohu Kaimoana. It represents a commitment to the sustainable management of east coast tarakihi, and focuses on improving fishing methods and research to better understand the fishery.

Fishing methods

Modelling indicates that reducing the amount of undersized fish caught could increase the rate of the rebuild. As a result, one of the plan's management measures is to avoid catching juvenile tarakihi.

Science and research

The plan includes work to enhance our scientific understanding of the fishery. This work will include:

  • verification of commercial fishing data
  • catch sampling
  • evaluation of management strategies.

The information we get will help us make better management decisions in the future.

On-board cameras will also be used

In addition to the rebuild plan, the Minister of Fisheries sought in-principal agreement from the industry to use on-board cameras in TAR 2 and TAR 3 by the end of 2020. It is proposed that the cameras will cover most of the catch within these areas. Cameras will give us more confidence and assurance that industry will follow the plan.

Tracking progress

We'll be posting quarterly progress reports on this web page as they become available.

1 October to 31 December 2019 [PDF, 1.1 MB]

About tarakihi

Tarakihi are caught in coastal waters throughout New Zealand in depths from 30m to 250m. They reach minimum legal size (25cm) in 3 to 4 years and can live for more than 40 years.

East coast tarakihi are assumed to be a single breeding population. Research done as part of the rebuild plan will provide further evidence to support this.

Find out more

Review of sustainability measures for 1 October 2018

Review of sustainability measures for 1 October 2019

Fisheries Assessment Plenary, May 2019 [PDF, 20 MB] (see pages 1521–1557)

Harvest Strategy Standard for New Zealand Fisheries [PDF, 309 KB]

Last reviewed: