“Some sharks, such as rig, school shark and elephantfish support significant commercial fisheries and are the staple of Friday night fish and chips.”
New Zealand waters are home to at least 113 species of “shark”; this includes all sharks, rays, skates, chimaeras and other members of the Class Chrondrichtyes. Some of these species, such as rig, school shark and elephantfish support significant commercial fisheries and are the staple of Friday night fish and chips. Some shark species are protected under conservation legislation and must be returned to the sea and reported if captured.
Some sharks also play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and share biological characteristics that can make them susceptible to over-fishing.
In 2015, MPI completed a risk assessment for New Zealand sharks which indicated that commercial fishing was not currently causing, or in the near future could cause, serious unsustainable impacts.
|Risk Scores||QMS Species||Non-QMS Species||Number of taxa in each risk band|
Six of the shark species with risk scores greater than 18 are managed as commercial fisheries within the QMS. MPI research indicates that there are no sustainability issues for these fisheries.
National Plan of Action – Sharks
MPI has produced an updated National Plan of Action for Sharks (NPOA – Sharks) to continue to document New Zealand’s efforts in managing and conserving sharks within our waters. The new NPOA includes a prohibition on shark finning; more information about how this is being implemented is available below.
Fisheries Inshore New Zealand supports the NPOA – Sharks and will work collaboratively with Government to ensure it is implemented effectively and pragmatically. We want to ensure that as a country we maintain the biological richness and the long-term viability of all our shark populations while recognising that many sharks are legitimate and valuable fisheries within our Quota Management System.
Fishers no longer use wire traces and are able to return blue, porbeagle and mako sharks to the sea if they are alive. This helps to reduce unnecessary shark mortality.