Inshore fisheries

Find out what inshore fisheries include, how we manage them, and our plans for specific inshore fish stocks.

About inshore fisheries

Inshore fisheries include:

  • the area of ocean as far out as about 12 nautical miles from the coast of new Zealand, and
  • waterways within New Zealand (like lakes and rivers).

Species covered by these fisheries include:

  • finfish fisheries – these include snapper, blue cod, flatfish, gurnard, tarakihi, and trevally
  • shellfish fisheries – including cockles, pipi, pāua, and rock lobster
  • freshwater fisheries – mostly longfin and shortfin eels (whitebait are managed by the Department of Conservation)
  • other aquatic life (like seaweeds).

Beyond the inshore fisheries are:

  • the middle-depth and deepwater fisheries
  • international waters (the high seas).

Deepwater fisheries

International fisheries

Managing inshore fisheries

We have draft national plans for inshore finfish, shellfish, and freshwater fisheries. These guide how we manage various inshore fish stocks.

Draft national fisheries plan for inshore finfish [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Draft national fisheries plan for inshore shellfish [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Draft national fisheries plan for freshwater [PDF, 1.4 MB]

We're finalising a new draft national plan for inshore finfish fisheries. In 2020 we ran a public consultation to get feedback on it.

Find out more about the consultation and draft national plan

The Quota Management System

Fisheries New Zealand manages most inshore fish species under the Quota Management System (QMS).

Under the QMS, we set a target level for each fish stock. The target determines how much of the fish stock can be caught each year. This is designed to to keep fish numbers at a sustainable level. The total catch limit is divided between commercial, recreational, and customary fishers.

Learn about the Quota Management System

Our work with specific fisheries

As well as the national plans, we develop plans for specific fisheries to:

  • ensure sustainability
  • reduce the impact of fishing on the marine environment.

As at January 2021, plans with specific fisheries include:

In 2019 and 2020 we ran public consultations to get feedback on our plans for 2 pāua management areas.

Consultation on the draft pāua fisheries plan for PAU3

Consultation on the draft pāua fisheries plan for PAU7

Digital monitoring of commercial fishing

We're introducing digital monitoring through the Fisheries Change Programme. This covers:

  • electronic catch reporting and position reporting
  • cameras on boats
  • innovative trawl technology.

These changes to commercial fishing will:

  • help to improve the collection and reliability of fisheries information
  • change fishing rules and policies to make them simpler, fairer, and more responsive
  • improve our ability to monitor fishing and verify what's being caught
  • encourage better fishing practices.

Fisheries and the environment

The New Zealand Government helps protect the inshore environment from unwanted effects of fishing by:

  • monitoring fishing activity and interactions with the environment
  • establishing protected areas that can't be fished
  • closing some areas to bottom fishing
  • ensuring fishers use gear that reduces impacts on the environment (like streamers to prevent catch of seabirds).

View and create fishery maps

Maps of NZ fisheries

Create a map on NABIS

Who to contact

If you have questions about inshore fisheries, email

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