East coast tarakihi: rebuilding numbers

We're making changes to allow east coast tarakihi numbers to recover. Find out about the rebuild plan and track its progress.

Where we are planning to rebuild tarakihi numbers

The rebuild plan covers the entire east coast of New Zealand. The areas it includes are:

  • TAR2 and TAR3
  • the east coast parts of TAR1 and TAR7.

Tarakihi off the east coast are considered to be a single breeding population. This is why the rebuild plan covers these 4 management areas.

A map of New Zealand and the quota management areas surrounding it, with the eastern tarakihi fishery highlighted.

Overview of the east coast tarakihi fisheries

More than 90% of tarakihi caught is sold in New Zealand. Tarakihi is also highly valued by recreational fishers, and considered taonga by Māori. Because the tarakihi is so popular and widely fished, the number of fish has declined. In 2019, tarakihi numbers were at less than half of target levels.

To allow numbers to recover, we've lowered the total amount of tarakihi that can be caught commercially each year. Under these new catch limits, we estimate it will take 25 years to get numbers back to the target.

Speeding up the recovery

To help speed up the recovery further, the Minister of Fisheries agreed to an industry-developed rebuild plan. The plan commits to several voluntary measures and a 20-year rebuild timeframe.

It was developed by:

Read the rebuild plan

Eastern tarakihi management strategy and rebuild plan 2019 [PDF, 11 MB]

The plan represents a commitment to sustainably managing and fishing east coast tarakihi. It focuses on:

  • improving fishing methods
  • research to better understand the fishery
  • avoiding catching younger tarakihi (our research suggests that doing this could help increase how quickly numbers rebuild).

The plan involves getting more information on the fishery. This will include:

  • verifying the commercial fishing data
  • taking samples of tarakihi catches
  • reviewing management strategies.

The information we get will help us make more informed decisions on future changes to the fishery.

Using on-board cameras

As well as the rebuild plan, the Minister of Fisheries sought in-principal agreement from the industry to use on-board cameras in TAR2 and TAR3. It is proposed that the cameras will cover most of the commercial fishing in these areas. Cameras will give us more confidence and assurance that industry are following the plan.

Read more about on-board cameras for commercial fishing vessels

Tracking progress of the rebuild

We'll post quarterly progress reports on this page as they become available.

2020/21 fishing year

1 October – 31 December 2020 [PDF, 666 KB]

2019/20 fishing year 

1 July – 30 September 2020 [PDF, 731 KB]

1 April to 30 June 2020 [PDF, 660 KB]

1 January – 31 March 2020 [PDF, 554 KB]

1 October 2019 – 31 December 2019 [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Find out more

Review of sustainability measures for 1 October 2018

Review of sustainability measures for 1 October 2019

Fisheries Assessment Plenary, May 2019 [PDF, 20 MB] (see pages 1521–1557)

Harvest Strategy Standard for New Zealand Fisheries [PDF, 309 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about east coast tarakihi numbers, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: