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. 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 2020

birds
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 and2020

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

fish
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 2020

marine mammals
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 3 (2020)

This table is a summary of non-fish and protected fish species reported by commercial fishers. It includes reported captures within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Species category  Catch alive (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Birds 30 84  
Corals and bryozoans     184.31
Fish 6 5  
Marine Mammals 34 90  
Reptiles   1  

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

Download the complete detailed dataset [CSV, 7 KB]

Catches by fisheries management area (FMA) - Quarter 3, 2020

Expand All
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 COU - Coral (Unidentified)       1
Bottom Long Line CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       12
Bottom Long Line WPS - White pointer shark 1   1  
Bottom Long Line XBG - Black-backed gull     1  
Bottom Long Line XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel     1  
Seine COZ - Bryozoan       1
Seine CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       8
Seine XSH - Sooty shearwater     6  
Surface Long Line FUR - New Zealand fur seal   2    
Surface Long Line GNT - Green turtle     1  
Surface Long Line SRW - Southern right whale   1    
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Trawl XFL - Fluttering shearwater   1    
Trawl XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater   1    
Trawl XPN - Prions (Unidentified)   1    
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 XDP - Common diving petrel     1  
Surface Long Line FUR - New Zealand fur seal   5    
Surface Long Line XWA - Wandering albatross (Unidentified)     1  
Trawl CDD - Common dolphin     2  
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal   8 36  
Trawl SEA - Seals and Sealions     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     2  
Trawl XCP - Cape petrels   1    
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross     2  
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)
Bottom Long Line XGP - Grey petrel     1  
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal   2 6  
Set Netting HBW - Humpback whale   1    
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       0.29
Trawl DDO - Dusky dolphin     1  
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     5  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified) 1 1 10  
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross   3 3  
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross     1  
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 XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     6  
Bottom Long Line XDP - Common diving petrel     1  
Bottom Long Line XGP - Grey petrel     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       0.02
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   2 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)       0.1
Bottom Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     1  
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal     2  
Set Netting WPS - White pointer shark   1    
Trawl BSK - Basking shark     1  
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     2  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   1 1  
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 XST - Storm petrels     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       9
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     10  
Trawl HSL - New Zealand sea lion   1 1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   5 7  
Trawl XMA - Smaller albatrosses     1  
Trawl XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)   1 1  
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross   1    
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross     1  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters 1 5 2  
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 XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel     1  
Bottom Long Line XTP - Giant petrels (Unidentified)     1  
Bottom Long Line XWP - Westland petrel     2  
Set Netting XHG - Shags     2  
Surface Long Line CDD - Common dolphin   1    
Surface Long Line FUR - New Zealand fur seal   11 1  
Surface Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     3  
Surface Long Line XBS - Buller's shearwater     2  
Surface Long Line XMA - Smaller albatrosses     1  
Surface Long Line XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)     1  
Surface Long Line XWM - White-capped albatross     1  
Surface Long Line XWP - Westland petrel     1  
Trawl BSK - Basking shark   1    
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       1.1
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal   2 14  
Trawl PIW - Pilot whale     1  
Trawl WPS - White pointer shark   1    
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   1 12  
Trawl XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel   1    
Trawl XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross     1  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   2 2  
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)
Set Netting CDD - Common dolphin     1  
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal     5  
Set Netting WPS - White pointer shark   1 2  
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)
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Set Netting WPS - White pointer shark     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       150
Trawl COZ - Bryozoan       1.5
Trawl CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       0.3
Trawl WPS - White pointer shark   1    
Trawl XFP - Fairy prion   1    
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross     1  
Outside New Zealand's EEZ
Fishing Method Species code - Species common name Catch alive injured (No.) Catch alive uninjured (No.) Catch dead (No.) Catch weight (kg)
Trawl COB - Black corals       3.1
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       4.24
Trawl CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       0.02

 

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

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