We manage New Zealand's deepwater and middle-depth fisheries under the National deepwater fisheries plan. Find out about it, plans for specific fisheries, deepwater fish stocks, and how we manage the effects of deepwater fishing on the environment.
About deepwater fisheries
Deepwater and middle-depth fisheries are between 12 and 200 nautical miles offshore. This reaches the limit of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Almost all fishing in New Zealand's deepwater fisheries is commercial. This is because of:
- how far they are from the shore
- how deep the fishing is.
Over 200,000 tonnes of fish are caught from deepwater fisheries each year. This was worth an estimated $870 million in export earnings in 2019.
Deepwater fish stocks
Jack mackerel: JMA 3, JMA 7
Ling: LIN 3 - LIN 7
Orange roughy: all
Southern blue whiting: all
Barracouta: BAR 4, BAR 5, BAR 7
Black cardinal fish: all
Deepwater crabs (CHC/GSC/KIC): all
English mackerel: EMA 3, EMA 7
Frostfish: FRO 3 - FRO 9
Gemfish: SKI 3, SKI 9
Ghost shark, dark: GSH 4 - GSH 6
Ghost shark, pale: all
Lookdown dory: all
Patagoian toothfish: all
Prawn killer: all
Ribaldo: RIB 3 - RIB 8
Sea perch: SPE 3 - SPE 7
Silver warehou: all
Spiny dogfish: SPD 4, SPD 5
White warehou: all
|Tier 3||Non-QMS species|
Quota Management System (QMS) and deepwater fisheries
We use the QMS to sustainably manage New Zealand's deepwater fishing. All fish managed under the QMS have catch limits. The limits are based on research we do to work out how much fish can be caught to keep numbers healthy.
Deepwater fishery programmes
Ensuring that fishing activity in New Zealand is sustainable is a focus of all our plans and research. We prepare new plans as needed to:
- ensure sustainability
- reduce the impact of fishing on the sea.
We manage New Zealand's deepwater and middle-depth fisheries under the national deepwater fisheries plan.
National deepwater fisheries plan
We manage deepwater fishing using the National fisheries plan for deepwater and middle-depth fisheries. This is also called the National deepwater plan. We created the plan with input from:
- the fishing industry
- environmental non-government organisations (NGOs).
The plan has 3 parts:
- Part 1: Strategic direction for deepwater fisheries management
- Part 2: Annual operational plan
- Part 3: Annual review report
Part 1: Strategic direction
Chapters for key (tier 1) species and associated (tier 2) bycatch
- Hoki fisheries plan [PDF, 707 KB]
- Hake fisheries plan [PDF, 2.5 MB]
- Ling fisheries plan [PDF, 2.9 MB]
- Southern blue whiting fisheries plan [PDF, 4.6 MB]
- Jack mackerel fisheries plan [PDF, 5.1 MB]
- Orange roughy fisheries plan [PDF, 1.3 MB]
- Oreo fisheries plan [PDF, 15 MB]
Other plans supporting deepwater management
Medium-term research plan for deepwater fisheries [PDF, 565 KB]
Part 2: Annual operational plan
- Annual operational plan for deepwater fisheries 2021/22 [PDF, 1.1 MB]
- 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]
Part 3: Annual review report
The latest review report includes 2 documents. One is a detailed full report, and one is an abstract with a summary.
Annual review report for deepwater fisheries 2018/19 [PDF, 3.4 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]
Fact sheets on deepwater fishery species and activity
New Zealand's sustainable fisheries [PDF, 457 KB]
New Zealand hoki [PDF, 743 KB]
New Zealand orange roughy [PDF, 537 KB]
Certified sustainable deepwater fisheries in New Zealand
Important New Zealand deepwater fisheries have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. This certifies them as meeting high sustainability and environmental standards. The Marine Stewardship Council is internationally recognised.
These New Zealand deepwater fisheries are certified as sustainable:
- southern blue whiting
- orange roughy.
This certification means that New Zealanders:
- can be confident that these fish are being caught sustainably
- export these fish more easily to important markets (because others can trust that our fishing is sustainable).