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Commercial fishers landing exception: Fish caught by surface longline that are eaten by predators

Background to landing exceptions

Under the Fisheries Act 1996, commercial fishers are prohibited from returning or abandoning to the sea, or other waters, any fish or shellfish that are subject to the Quota Management System (QMS). However, the Act allows for exceptions to the rule.

See section 72A(2) of the Fisheries Act 1996 – NZ Legislation

Have your say

Fisheries New Zealand is assessing whether a commercial landing exception should be provided for 5 highly migratory species managed under the QMS, when caught by surface longline and eaten by predators.

The 5 species are:

  • bigeye tuna
  • yellowfin tuna
  • southern bluefin tuna
  • pacific bluefin tuna
  • swordfish.

Predation by toothed cetaceans (whales and dolphins), sharks, and large cephalopods (for example, squid) on highly migratory species caught in surface longline fisheries is a well-known problem globally. These events are considered to be largely unavoidable due to difficulties in predicting and avoiding their occurrence and can have big economic impacts on fishing operations.

Based on the unavoidability of these events, Fisheries New Zealand is proposing to provide for an exception. The proposed exception would allow commercial fishers to return leftover parts of any of the 5 species caught by surface longline, that have been damaged by predation to such an extent that the fish is unfit for human consumption.

We’d like your feedback on this proposal. Full details are in the consultation document.

Consultation is open from 2 February to 1 March 2024.

Consultation document

Commercial landing exception: Fish predation in surface longline [PDF, 477 KB]

Related documents

Commercial landing exception reviews: Operational guidelines [PDF, 386 KB]

Commercial landing exceptions: Policy context and legal overview [PDF, 358 KB]

Related consultations

Commercial fishers landing exception: Pacific bluefin tuna (closing 9 February 2024)

Commercial fishers landing exception: Southern bluefin tuna (closing 1 March 2024)

Related information

Implementing the Fisheries Amendment Act 2022

Making your submission

Email your feedback by 5pm on 1 March 2024 to

A template is available to help you complete your submission. It includes questions you may like to answer to help you with your submission, and further space for any other feedback.

Submissions template [DOCX, 86 KB]

While we prefer email, you can post written submissions to:

Fisheries Management – National Direction
Fisheries New Zealand
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140.

Make sure you tell us in your submission:

  • your name and title
  • your organisation's name (if you are submitting on behalf of an organisation)
  • your contact details (such as phone number, address, and email).

Submissions are public information

Note that all, part, or a summary of your submission may be published on this website. Most often this happens when we issue a document that reviews the submissions received.

People can also ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the content of submissions available unless we have good reason for withholding it. Those reasons are detailed in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

If you think there are grounds to withhold specific information from publication, make this clear in your submission or contact us. Reasons may include that it discloses commercially sensitive or personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold details can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may direct us to release it.

Official Information Act 1982 – NZ Legislation