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Our Fisheries

“New Zealand's inshore fishers provide high quality seafood that is harvested sustainably under the Quota Management System.”

New Zealand's inshore fisheries operate around much of our 15,000 km coastline. Fishing occurs primarily within 12 nautical miles of the coast in water depths to about 200 meters. Our pelagic and tuna fisheries also operate in this area and out to the 200 nautical mile limit of our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The most common harvesting methods in our inshore waters are trawling, set netting, bottom long lining, surface long lining, seining and potting.

New Zealand's inshore fishers provide high quality seafood that is harvested sustainably under the Quota Management System.

Inshore fish species are consumed locally and also earn export receipts of around $400-500 million annually. Our fisheries also employ many thousands of kiwis who catch, process, distribute and sell our seafood. This is particularly so in regional New Zealand where the seafood sector is an important source of employment and community revenue.

Quota Management System

The Quota Management System (QMS) is central to managing New Zealand fisheries. It is the most extensive quota-based fisheries management system in the world, with over 100 species or species complexes managed within it.

Introduced in 1986, the QMS ensures the long-term sustainability of our fish stocks, the health of our marine ecosystems, and the gainful employment of thousands of New Zealanders.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is responsible for administering the QMS, with the Minister setting annual catch limits for all quota species to ensure stocks are not over-fished. For more detailed information on the QMS, see MPI’s website.

Industry Structure

The New Zealand Seafood industry is made up of a collective of companies that represent various components of the wider sector. Seafood New Zealand is the industry’s peak body and focuses on key strategic initiatives and promotes sustainable, nutritious and responsibly-caught seafood.

Five separate companies represent discrete components of the seafood sector (Sector Representative Entities or SREs).


These companies work closely together on issues of mutual interest:

  • Fisheries Inshore New Zealand
  • Deepwater Group
  • New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council
  • Paua Industry Council
  • Aquaculture New Zealand

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand has recently taken responsibility for stock management of highly migratory species (HMS) and those stocks in Area 2—the area generally between East Cape on the east coast of the North Island and Kapiti Island on the west coast.

Fisheries Inshore also works closely with other companies charged with regional stock management in the inshore, and the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen.