Our industry is internationally respected for an innovative and world-leading approach to sustainable science-based fisheries and aquaculture management.

Our fisheries are performing well - 95% of fish stocks known status are healthy according to Ministry for Primary Industries research.

Quota Management System

Sustainability of New Zealand fish stock is ensured through a world-leading Quota Management System (QMS) that controls harvest levels for each fish species and area.

The QMS has been managing New Zealand fisheries stocks for 33 years

169 species are commercially fished in New Zealand. 98 of those species in 642 stock areas are managed under the QMS.

Each year, the Ministry for Primary Industries reviews the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for fish stocks and sets limits so that enough fish remain for breeding.

Only half the fish stock managed under the QMS are targeted for commercial seafood production.

International Recognition

New Zealand's hoki fisheries were the first major fisheries in the world to be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC is the gold-star in certification labels and rewards sustainable seafood practices.

New Zealand's southern blue whiting fisheries were the first major whitefish fisheries in the world to be certified as sustainable by MSC too. 

Three of New Zealand's orange roughy fisheries entered and passed the rigorous MSC assessment process for certification in 2014.

Today there are 29 certified MSC Chain of Custody suppliers in New Zealand.

Seven fisheries are MSC certified and 18 fisheries harvest about 230,000 metric tonnes of species at MSC-standards, including: hoki, hake, ling, southern blue whiting, albacore tuna, orange roughy, Ross Sea toothfish and skipjack tuna.

Approximately 70 percent of New Zealand's deepwater catch is MSC certified. 

50 percent of New Zealand's wild-caught seafood harvest is MSC certified.

New Zealand's aquaculture industry is building further on its sustainability credentials with the launch of A+, the new standard of sustainable aquaculture.

MSC's vision is for the world's oceans to be teeming with life, today, tomorrow and for generations to come. 

Marine Conservation

Our footprint is very light. Annually, New Zealand fishes only 1-2 percent of the EEZ to produce around 600,000 metric tonnes of sustainable seafood.

96 percent of New Zealand's territory is underwater. 

Approximately 30.5 percent of New Zealand's total marine environment is protected.

New Zealand's marine biodiversity is protected through a network of 105 marine protected areas (MPA) including: 17 seamount closures, 17 benthic protected areas, 44 marine reserves and 8 marine mammal sanctuaries. 

17 areas within New Zealand's EEZ have been closed to all types of trawling since 2007. 

Since 1989, less than 10 percent of New Zealand's seabed has been bottom trawled.

New Zealand's benthic protection area (BPA) network and seamount closures cover an area 4.6 times larger than the country's landmass. It is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.

Threat management plans have been completed for Hector's and Maui dolphins and New Zealand sea lions.

All marine mammals are legally protected under the Marine Mammals and Protection Act.

New Zealand law protects 100 percent of sharks from shark finning. 

25 factory vessels operate a registered Risk Management Programme. 


The fisheries management systems, designed to protect the sustainability of our resources, is recognised as among the best in the world.

Penalties for illegally returning fish to the sea include imprisonment, fines up to $500,000 and forfeiture of all equipment including vessels, gear and quota shares. 

The Ministry for Primary Industries conducts more than 1,000 commercial vessel inspections each year.

MPI's Observer programme plans more than 11,500 observer days at sea per year. 


Over 15,000 marine species have been identified in New Zealand's marine environment. 

96 seabird taxa breed in New Zealand. 

New Zealand's Seabird Risk Assessment covers 71 seabird species and designates them a risk mortality rating, which is used to help prioritise and guide conservation research and planning. 

The Fisheries Act requires 33 fish species to be legally returned to sea.

Over 40 percent of snapper is estimated to be caught by recreational fishers. 

8 marine species are classed as threatened under the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS).

38 marine mammal taxa are resident or migrant in New Zealand waters.

Workplace Safety

The livelihood of fishermen at sea is protected through 13 Acts of Parliament and administered through 7 regulatory agencies. 

Approximately 60 percent of New Zealand fishing vessels use the Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS).

499 MOSS operators are involved in inshore and offshore fishing operations. 

232 fishing operations implement Safe Operational Plans (SOPs).