Regular sustainability review sees catch limit changes for ten NZ fish stocks

Catch limits and allowances across a range of fisheries will change from October 1, 2023, as part of Fisheries New Zealand’s regular sustainability review.

The changes are part of a six-month cycle of catch limit reviews conducted by Fisheries New Zealand, says Fisheries New Zealand’s director of fisheries management Emma Taylor.

“Catch limits are adjusted based on the best available science information along with feedback from the community,” Ms Taylor said. “This tells us what’s happening in our fisheries and helps identify what course of action to take.”

Ms Taylor added that where there is evidence more fish can be harvested sustainably, there is an option to increase limits, and this is the case for eight of the stocks reviewed. However, if the information suggests a stock is not as healthy, the catch limits may be reduced to help the fishery recover, as is the case of two of the stocks reviewed.

In addition to the catch limit changes, deemed value rates for three stocks have also been reviewed and adjusted. These are the fees commercial fishers pay for catch that is outside of their annual catch entitlement (ACE).

Most of the changes are for commercial catch limits except for kina (sea urchin), which has also had an increase to the allowance for customary fishing recognising its significance as a protected species and local source of food.

Stocks with catch limit increases

  • Green-lipped mussel in Waikato, the west coast of Auckland and Northland, and Te Oneroa a Tōhe/Ninety Mile Beach (GLM 9) – increased for the six months to April 2024, then will revert to the current total allowable catch
  • Kina in the east of Northland, Auckland, Hauraki Gulf, and Bay of Plenty (SUR 1A and SUR 1B)
  • Gemfish in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, East Cape, Hawke’s Bay, and the east coast of Wellington (SKI 1 and SKI 2)
  • Trevally in East Cape, Hawke’s Bay, and the east coast of Wellington (TRE 2)
  • Red gurnard in the east coast of the South Island, Chatham Rise, sub-Antarctic, Southland, Rakiura, and Fiordland (GUR 3)
  • Silver warehou in the east coast of the South Island (SWA 3)

Stocks with catch limit reductions

  • Monkfish in the West Coast and top of the South Island (STA 7)
  • Orange roughy in the Chatham Rise and southern Aotearoa (ORH 3B)

Deemed value adjustments

  • Snapper on the west coast of the North Island (SNA 8) – deemed value rate increased
  • Snapper on the West Coast and top of the South Island (SNA 7) – deemed value rate decreased
  • School Shark in Southland and sub-Antarctic (SCH 5) – deemed value rate increased

Public consultation on the proposed changes took place between June and July 2023.

A prohibition on all commercial kina dredging in Tory Channel in the Marlborough sounds also took effect on October 1. Proposals to restrict kina dredging in Tory Channel were publicly consulted between January and February as part of Fisheries New Zealand’s April sustainability review.

Fisheries New Zealand provides recommendations to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries who makes the final decisions. The advice from Fisheries New Zealand is based on the latest stock assessments, feedback from local residents, recreational and commercial fishing interests, environmental interests, and the public.


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