Commercial Fishing


New Zealand’s Quota Management System (QMS) was introduced to monitor fish stocks and annual catches to ensure that New Zealand’s fish resources are sustainably utilised. The QMS is widely regarded as one of the leading fish management tools in the world.

Each year the Minister of Fisheries states what quantity of each quota species may be caught. Decisions are based on information supplied by the Ministry of Fisheries and other interested groups such as the commercial fishing industry, recreational fishers, Mäori and conservation groups.

Fishing levels are worked out using the concept of maximum sustainable yield, which is the largest average annual catch that can be taken over time without reducing the stock’s productive potential.

The quantity of shellfish that can be taken for each shellfish stock, by both commercial and noncommercial fishers, is the Total Allowable Catch (TAC). A TAC makes an allowance for recreational fishing and customary Mäori uses. The remainder is then available to the commercial sector as the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC), which defines the total quantity of each shellfish stock that the commercial fishing industry can catch that year.

Under the Mäori Fisheries Act 2004 and Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992, Mäori are allocated 10 percent of the TACC for päua. The black-footed and yellow-footed päua have been managed under the QMS since 1987 as one stock in eight quota management areas. On 1 October 1995, the Southland area was subdivided into three quota management areas: Fiordland, Stewart Island, and Otago/Southland.

Information sourced from Statistics New Zealand.