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).
Managing inshore fisheries
A National Inshore Finfish Fisheries Plan was approved by the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries in October 2022. The plan provides an overarching strategic framework and identifies focus areas that will guide how Fisheries New Zealand will manage New Zealand's inshore finfish fisheries over the next 5 years.
National Inshore Finfish Fisheries Plan [PDF, 10 MB]
The plan will:
- advance New Zealand's approach to Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM)
- provide for enhanced tangata whenua, stakeholder, and community participation in fisheries planning and management
- provide greater transparency, accountability, and certainty for the sustainable use of our inshore fisheries.
Consultation on the plan finished in February 2020.
Find out more about the consultation process
Draft plans for other fisheries
There are also draft national plans for shellfish and freshwater fisheries. These guide how we manage these inshore fish stocks.
Draft national fisheries plan for inshore shellfish [PDF, 1.6 MB]
Draft national fisheries plan for freshwater [PDF, 1.4 MB]
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:
- SNA 1 snapper management area
- Chatham Islands pāua: PAU4 fisheries plan [PDF, 701 KB]
- The southern scallop fishery (SCA 7)
- Bay of Plenty/Auckland rock lobster rebuild (CRA 2)
- East Coast tarakihi fishery rebuild
- The sea change marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf
- National Blue Cod Strategy
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).
Find out about sustainable fisheries
View and create fishery maps
Who to contact
If you have questions about inshore fisheries, email firstname.lastname@example.org