Seabirds and protected marine species caught by commercial fishers

Sometimes birds, sea mammals, and other marine life accidentally get caught during commercial fishing. Commercial fishers have to file daily reports about what they have caught. We release these reports quarterly.

Quarterly reporting of fish and non-fish catches

Fisheries New Zealand supports transparent reporting. Every 3 months we release information gathered from the daily self-reports from commercial fishers. These reports tell us about their catches – the species, the fishing methods they were using, and where they were fishing.

Commercial fishers also have to tell us about accidental catches of marine mammals (like seals and dolphins), seabirds, reptiles, protected fish, and corals, sponges, and bryozoans.

We use these quarterly reports to monitor trends throughout the year.

This data can be subject to errors

The data in these quarterly reports is largely unchanged from the information entered at sea by fishers. In some cases, Fisheries New Zealand has also had to make assumptions about the likeliest fishing methods. It has not been independently verified. That means it's possible that some species have been incorrectly identified. Or there may be some other reporting errors.

Consequently, this information should not be seen as an alternative to other reports such as the Fisheries New Zealand seabird risk assessment reports. Those are peer-reviewed and are underpinned by a robust analytical methodology.

The information in these quarterly reports also differs from the data presented on the website, Protected species bycatch. Information on that website is based on Fisheries New Zealand's observer-collected data. That data is checked for errors and the species verified before it's published.

Protected species bycatch

Risk assessment of commercial fisheries to New Zealand seabirds [PDF, 3.5 MB]

Yearly summaries show the seasonal variations

While we publish these reports quarterly, the yearly summaries provide a better comparison. Captures can vary significantly from one quarter to the next based on:

  • natural factors (for example, some seabirds breed in New Zealand during the summer months from October to May but head overseas during the winter months)
  • seasonal shifts in fishing effort.
Yearly summary graphs

Expand this box to see graphs showing the quarterly variations.

Birds caught between 2016 and 2021

This graph shows variability in quarterly seabird captures. The highest number of reported seabird captures occurs in the second quarter and the lowest number of reported captures occurs in the first and fourth quarters.

 

Protected fish caught between 2016 and2021

This category includes protected sharks and rays, as well as finfish.

This graph shows the variability in quarterly protected fish captures. The highest number of reported protected fish captures occurs in the first and second quarters of each fishing year. This is likely the result of increased fishing activity in summer months, as well as the migratory behaviour of some protected fish species.

 

Marine mammals caught from 2016 to 2021

This graph shows the variability in quarterly marine mammal captures. The highest number of reported marine mammal captures occurs in the second and third quarters of each fishing year. This is a result of the timing of fisheries which overlap at this time with the distribution of marine mammals, in particular New Zealand fur seals which dominate captures and are caught mainly in the hoki, squid and southern blue whiting trawl fisheries.

 

Summary of catches for quarter 2, 2020-2021

This table is a summary of non-fish and protected fish species reported by commercial fishers for the second quarter of the 2020-2021 fishing year (1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021).

It includes reported captures within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Species category  Catch alive (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Birds 181 368  
Corals and bryozoans     1075.5
Fish 71 1  
Marine Mammals 7 26  
Reptiles 46 2  
*Note that ‘fish’ includes sharks and rays.

Fisheries New Zealand has prepared this report from information provided in fishers' returns. 

Download the complete detailed dataset [CSV, 51 KB]

Significant interaction events in the third quarter

No significant capture events in the current quarter.

Summary of catches for previous quarters 

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Summary of catches for quarter 1, 2020-2021

This table is a summary of non-fish and protected fish species reported by commercial fishers for the first quarter of the 2020-2021 fishing year (1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020).

It includes reported captures within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Species category  Catch alive (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Birds 99 197  
Corals and bryozoans     1,533.62
Fish* 31 3  
Marine mammals 7 14  
Reptiles 2    
*Note that ‘fish’ includes sharks and rays.

Fisheries New Zealand has prepared this report from information provided in fishers' returns. 

Catches by fisheries management area (FMA) for quarter 2 (2020-2021)

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FMA 1 – Auckland (East)
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Bottom Long Line CDD - Common dolphin     1  
Bottom Long Line COB - Black corals       2
Bottom Long Line COU - Coral (Unidentified)       1
Bottom Long Line CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       6.5
Bottom Long Line WPS - White pointer shark   3    
Bottom Long Line XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel 1 19 23  
Bottom Long Line XBS - Buller's shearwater   1    
Bottom Long Line XFL - Fluttering shearwater     25  
Bottom Long Line XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater 6 31 13  
Bottom Long Line XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross   1    
Bottom Long Line XPM - Mid-sized Petrels & Shearwaters     1  
Bottom Long Line XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   5 3  
Seine CDD - Common dolphin   4    
Seine CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       7
Seine MJA - Spine-tailed devil ray   64    
Seine XDP - Common diving petrel   1    
Seine XFP - Fairy prion   1    
Surface Long Line FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Surface Long Line GNT - Green turtle 1 1    
Surface Long Line LBT - Leatherback turtle 11 16 2  
Surface Long Line MJA - Spine-tailed devil ray     1  
Surface Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     1  
Surface Long Line XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel   4 5  
Surface Long Line XBS - Buller's shearwater   1    
Surface Long Line XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater 4 12 1  
Surface Long Line XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)   1    
Surface Long Line XWA - Wandering albatross (Unidentified) 1   1  
Surface Long Line XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters     1  
Trawl TLE - Marine turtles   1    
Trawl XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel   2    
Trawl XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater   5 1  
Trawl XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)     1  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   6 5  
FMA 2 - Central (East)
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Bottom Long Line COU - Coral (Unidentified)       8
Bottom Long Line CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       4
Potting LBT - Leatherback turtle   1    
Surface Long Line GNT - Green turtle   1    
Surface Long Line LBT - Leatherback turtle 4 9    
Surface Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     1  
Surface Long Line XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel     1  
Surface Long Line XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater 1 1    
Surface Long Line XGT - Australasian gannet   1    
Surface Long Line XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross     2  
Surface Long Line XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)   1 1  
Surface Long Line YSS - Yellow-bellied sea snake   1    
Trawl CDD - Common dolphin     1  
Trawl COB - Black corals       20
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       72.3
Trawl XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel     1  
Trawl XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater   1    
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters     1  
FMA 3 – South-East (Coast)
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Set Netting DDO - Dusky dolphin     1  
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal     2  
Set Netting XHG - Shags     6  
Surface Long Line FUR - New Zealand fur seal   3    
Surface Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     1  
Surface Long Line XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross     1  
Surface Long Line XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)     1  
Trawl BDO - Bottlenose dolphin     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       2.2
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     4  
Trawl WHT - Dolphins and Toothed whales     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   3 10  
Trawl XHG - Shags     1  
Trawl XLM - Light-mantled sooty albatross     1  
Trawl XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross     1  
Trawl XPP - Spotted shag     1  
Trawl XRA - Southern royal albatross     1  
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross   1 1  
Trawl XSH - Sooty shearwater   1    
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross     2  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   2 3  
FMA 4 – South-East (Chatham Rise)
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Bottom Long Line XDP - Common diving petrel     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       424.5
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   3 12  
Trawl XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross     2  
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross   1    
Trawl XSW - Shearwaters     1  
Trawl XWC - White-chinned petrel     4  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   1 1  
FMA 5 – Southland
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Bottom Long Line COU - Coral (Unidentified)       1.2
Bottom Long Line CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       0.2
Bottom Long Line XSH - Sooty shearwater   1    
Set Netting BDO - Bottlenose dolphin     1  
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal     2  
Set Netting SEA - Seals and Sealions     2  
Set Netting WPS - White pointer shark   2    
Set Netting XHG - Shags     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       493
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified) 2 11 21  
Trawl XCP - Cape petrels     1  
Trawl XDP - Common diving petrel     1  
Trawl XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross   1 2  
Trawl XPC - Procellaria petrels   2 3  
Trawl XRA - Southern royal albatross   1 1  
Trawl XSH - Sooty shearwater   3 16  
Trawl XWC - White-chinned petrel   1 7  
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross 2 10 19  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters 1 13 27  
FMA 6 – Sub-Antarctic
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (Kg)
Bottom Long Line COU - Coral (Unidentified)       0.1
Bottom Long Line XWC - White-chinned petrel     22  
Bottom Long Line XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters     36  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       7
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     2  
Trawl HSL - New Zealand sea lion     4  
Trawl WPS - White pointer shark 1 1    
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   1 7  
Trawl XPC - Procellaria petrels     2  
Trawl XSH - Sooty shearwater     1  
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross 1   4  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   5 28  
FMA 7 – Challenger/Central (Plateau)
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Bottom Long Line COU - Coral (Unidentified)       0.5
Bottom Long Line CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       0.5
Bottom Long Line XDP - Common diving petrel     2  
Bottom Long Line XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross     1  
Bottom Long Line XPC - Procellaria petrels     4  
Bottom Long Line XSH - Sooty shearwater   1    
Bottom Long Line XWC - White-chinned petrel     2  
Bottom Long Line XWM - White-capped albatross     1  
Other Lining Methods XWP - Westland petrel 1      
Surface Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     1  
Surface Long Line XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross 1   1  
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     4  
Trawl XMA - Smaller albatrosses     1  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters     3  
FMA 8 – Central (Egmont)
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Bottom Long Line XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater     3  
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
FMA 9 – Auckland (West)
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Bottom Long Line XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel     1  
Bottom Long Line XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater   2 3  
Set Netting XHG - Shags     1  
Trawl COB - Black corals       5
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       20
Trawl COZ - Bryozoan       0.5
Trawl XFP - Fairy prion   1    
Trawl XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater     1  
Trawl XLA - Gulls and Terns     1  
Trawl XSH - Sooty shearwater   1    

How does Fisheries New Zealand use this data?

In fisheries where there is little or no observer coverage, the data that fishers report is our main source of information on interactions with these types of species. Fisheries managers use the data to look at where, when, and how captures occur, to work out if there is more that can be done to reduce captures. 

Fisheries New Zealand and the Department of Conservation respond to significant capture events in near-real time. Responses take a variety of forms, including:

  • protected species liaison officers contacting skippers to ensure the best mitigation is being used and crew understand how to reduce risk to protected species
  • deploying Fisheries New Zealand observers to get more information on the potential cause of interactions or help identify species in future captures
  • informing fisheries officers if there is evidence of potential non-compliance with regulations
  • considering additional regulation of mitigation measures and/or vessel-specific regulations to ensure appropriate mitigation is used
  • in some fisheries, implementing measures consistent with regulations (for example closing the Auckland Islands squid fishery if the fishing-related mortality limit for New Zealand sea lions is reached).

Glossary

  • Bryozoans are a type of aquatic invertebrates that live on the bottom of the ocean.
  • ‘COU – Corals’ is a group code used when individuals can only be identified as a coral. Black corals must be reported as Antipatharia, all other corals must be reported under the group code.
  • ‘COB – Black coral’ is a group code used for all members of the Antipatharia order.
  • ‘STI – Black coral’ is a group code used for all Stichopathes species.
  • ‘CSB – Corals, sponges and bryozoans’ is a group code used when fishers cannot distinguish between them.
  • Sponges and bryozoans are not protected. However, they are still indicative of benthic impacts.

Find out more

MPI's role in limiting the impacts of fishing on marine mammals, seabirds, and sharks 

Fisheries species codes

Fisheries New Zealand seabird risk assessment [PDF, 3.5 MB]

Maui and Hector’s dolphin Threat Management Plan

National Plan of Action-Seabirds [PDF, 9.4 MB]

National Plan of Action-Sharks [PDF, 709 KB]

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand (FINZ)

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