Shark conservation and management

MPI aims for New Zealand to be recognised internationally for its efforts in shark conservation and management. Find out what we're doing to achieve that aim.

How we manage sharks

One of Fisheries New Zealand's roles is to manage the country's fisheries resources. This means we're responsible for managing the impacts of fishing activity on sharks (and other wildlife).

Unlike seabirds and marine mammals, some sharks are fished commercially (except for 7 protected species) – but we still need to manage them sustainably. We do this through the:

  • National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 2013
  • shark finning ban.

National Plan of Action – Sharks

The National Plan of Action – Sharks' (NPOA-Sharks) main objectives are:

  • ensuring long-term viable populations
  • reducing wastage from fishing activity
  • stopping shark finning
  • managing non-fishing threats
  • supporting ongoing shark research
  • working with external organisations on the conservation and management of sharks.

Fisheries New Zealand will review the NPOA-Sharks in 2018.

National Plan of Action – Sharks 2013 [PDF, 709 KB]

Achieving the objectives

The NPOA-Sharks describes activities that will help achieve its goals. These include:

  • risks and threats – understanding and responding to them
  • stock sizes of commercial shark species – calculating them and ensuring the catch limits are sustainable
  • monitoring – effectively collecting data on sharks and shark catch
  • best practice guidelines – creating and implementing
  • compliance – with law and best practice guidelines
  • minimising waste – by promoting full utilisation and/or live release of shark catch
  • reducing fishing-related deaths of protected shark species
  • engaging – with other countries to conserve and manage sharks
  • shark habitats – identifying and protecting critical habitats.

Shark finning ban

A ban on landing only the fins of sharks was introduced in New Zealand in 2014. Before that, the removal of the fins from a live shark and the return of the body to the sea was illegal under the Animal Welfare Act 1953.

More information

Data on seabird and protected marine species caught by commercial fishers

Who to contact

If you have questions about shark conservation, email

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