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 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. 

Download the complete detailed dataset [CSV, 41 KB]

Significant interaction events in the second quarter

As well as releasing information for the previous yearly quarter, we are releasing information on significant captures in the current quarter (1 January to 31 March 2021). This information is also based on fisher-self reporting. Consequently, it is subject to the same errors as the quarterly reporting.

Table 1: Significant capture events up to 23 March 2021

Fishing method

Species code

Total captures

Total released alive

Number of events involved

Management responses

Bottom longline

XBP – Black petrel

19

0

3

  • Vessel moved to a different fishing area
  • Fisheries New Zealand (FNZ) and Fisheries Inshore NZ (FINZ) notified fishing companies and vessels operating in the area
  • Department of Conservation (DOC) protected species liaison officer contacted the vessel to discuss captures
  • A fisheries observer joined the vessel
  • An independent research provider will review electronic monitoring footage

Table 2: Significant cumulative captures up to 23 March 2021


Fishing method

Species code

Total captures

Total released alive

Number of events involved

Management responses

Bottom longline

XFS – Flesh-footed shearwater

52

37

36

  • FNZ provided notifications to the DOC Protected Species Liaison Programme

Surface longline

LBT – Leatherback turtle

40

38

31

  • FNZ will explore potential mitigation options
  • FNZ will take forward three research projects regarding turtle interactions
  • FNZ and DOC will work together to provide fact sheets to fishers
  • FNZ and DOC will ensure vessels have equipment to safely unhook turtles on board

Purse seine

MJA – Spine-tailed devil ray

65

65

27

  • FNZ contacted companies to advise of captures and to remind fishers of the best practice handling guidelines
  • FNZ debriefed fisheries observers, who reported good handling procedures
  • Some vessels are proactively exploring alternative options for safe release methods
  • FNZ will take forward a research project regarding protected shark interactions (including spine-tailed devil rays)

 

Catches by fisheries management area (FMA) for quarter 1 (2020-2021)

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 CDD - Common dolphin 1      
Bottom Long Line COU - Coral (Unidentified)       0.05
Bottom Long Line COZ - Bryozoan       3
Bottom Long Line CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       1.5
Bottom Long Line SEA - Seals and Sealions     1  
Bottom Long Line XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel   10 1  
Bottom Long Line XBS - Buller's shearwater   5    
Bottom Long Line XFL - Fluttering shearwater     26  
Bottom Long Line XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater 1 23 27  
Bottom Long Line XLA - Gulls and Terns   1    
Bottom Long Line XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)   1    
Bottom Long Line XRB - Red-billed gull   1    
Bottom Long Line XSG - Seagull   1 1  
Bottom Long Line XSH - Sooty shearwater   1 6  
Bottom Long Line XSP - Southern giant petrel   1    
Bottom Long Line XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   1 1  
Seine CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       39
Seine MJA - Spine-tailed devil ray 1 27    
Seine RMB - Manta ray   1    
Seine XPN - Prions (Unidentified)   1    
Set Netting XHG - Shags     1  
Surface Long Line LBT - Leatherback turtle   2    
Surface Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       10
Trawl WPS - White pointer shark     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     2  
Trawl XBP - Black (Parkinson's) petrel   1 1  
Trawl XFS - Flesh-footed shearwater   4 1  
Trawl XSH - Sooty shearwater   1    
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   3 2  
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 COB - Black corals       1
Bottom Long Line COU - Coral (Unidentified)       1
Bottom Long Line XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     1  
Bottom Long Line XDP - Common diving petrel     2  
Bottom Long Line XMA - Smaller albatrosses     1  
Bottom Long Line XPN - Prions (Unidentified)     1  
Bottom Long Line XSH - Sooty shearwater     1  
Seine XSW - Shearwaters     6  
Trawl PHD - Spectacled porpoise     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     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 XDP - Common diving petrel     3  
Bottom Long Line XSA - Salvin's albatross   1    
Bottom Long Line XWC - White-chinned petrel     2  
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal   1 1  
Set Netting XHG - Shags     2  
Set Netting XSH - Sooty shearwater   1    
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       211.1
Trawl CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       222
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     2  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   10 18  
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross   1 1  
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross   1    
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   1 2  
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)     4  
Bottom Long Line XDP - Common diving petrel     2  
Bottom Long Line XNP - Northern giant petrel     1  
Bottom Long Line XWC - White-chinned petrel     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       834.9
Trawl CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       12
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified) 1 4 14  
Trawl XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)     1  
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross   4 4  
Trawl XWC - White-chinned petrel     3  
Trawl XWP - Westland petrel 1 2    
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   2 8  
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 XSH - Sooty shearwater     1  
Set Netting XHG - Shags     1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       97
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     2  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified) 1 1 10  
Trawl XSM - Southern black-browed albatross     1  
Trawl XWM - White-capped albatross   1 1  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   6 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 XWC - White-chinned petrel     8  
Trawl BSK - Basking shark 1 1 1  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       8
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Trawl HSL - New Zealand sea lion     1  
Trawl XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)     4  
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross     1  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters     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 XWP - Westland petrel     6  
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       3
Trawl FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Trawl XCI - Chatham Island albatross     1  
Trawl XPB - Buller's and Pacific albatross     1  
Trawl XPE - Petrel (Unidentified)   1    
Trawl XSA - Salvin's albatross     2  
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters     1  
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     1  
Set Netting CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       1.47
Trawl XCI - Chatham Island albatross     1  
Trawl XSH - Sooty shearwater     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)
Other Lining Methods XAL - Albatrosses (Unidentified)   1    
Set Netting CDD - Common dolphin     1  
Set Netting FUR - New Zealand fur seal     1  
Set Netting XHG - Shags     2  
Trawl CDD - Common dolphin   5 1  
Trawl COB - Black corals       10
Trawl COU - Coral (Unidentified)       72
Trawl COZ - Bryozoan       3.5
Trawl CSB - Corals, Sponges and Bryozoans       3.1
Trawl WPS - White pointer shark     1  
Trawl XFP - Fairy prion   1    
Trawl XXP - Petrels, Prions and Shearwaters   1 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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