Key Facts

         Seafood New Zealand

  • Approximately 600,000 tonnes of seafood (excluding aquaculture) is harvested from New Zealand's waters each year.
  • The seafood industry employs over 13,000 full time workers.
  • 2,500 people work in commercial fishing and aquaculture operations at sea. 
  • The New Zealand seafood industry had a total export earning (FOB) of $1.8 billion in seafood exports in 2017.
  • 127,760 tonnes of seafood were exported in 2017.


         New Zealand fisheries

  • New Zealand's marine fisheries waters (Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial sea) measures 4.4m km2, and is the world's fourth largest EEZ, making it an ocean territory 'superpower'.
  • New Zealand's 15,134 km long coastline is the ninth longest in the world.
  • New Zealand ranks 1st out of 176 countries for being the least corrupt public sector. 
  • In 2009, New Zealand received the highest possible rating for ecologically sustainable management of its fisheries; was ranked first amongst 53 fishing nations for managing marine resources in 2010; placed first out of 41 countries for the quality of its fisheries monitoring in 2011; and ranked fifth out of 28 nations for healthy fish stocks in 2016. 
  • The fishing industry pays over $27 million a year in government levies for fisheries conservation, research and enforcement services. 
  • The New Zealand fishing industry covers 60 percent of fisheries research costs.
  • New Zealand is ranked among the best performing fisheries nations in the world.
  • 97 percent of New Zealand's commercial catch is from sustainable stocks, according to Ministry for Primary Industries research.
  • Sustainability of New Zealand fish stocks is ensured through a world leading Quota Management System (QMS) that controls harvest levels for each fish species and area.
  • 123 species are commercially fished in New Zealand. 98 of those species are managed under the QMS in 641 stock areas.
  • Approximately 50 percent of fisheries quota are owned by iwi/Maori.
  • Maori are guaranteed 20 percent of all quota for any New Zealand fish stock introduced to 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.

Did you know?

  • New Zealand's hoki fisheries were the first major fisheries in the world to be certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC is the gold-star in certification labels rewarding sustainable seafood practices.
  • New Zealand's southern blue whiting fisheries were the first major whitefish fisheries in the world to be certified sustainable by the MSC.
  • Seven different fisheries have been MSC certified; hoki, hake, ling, southern blue whiting, orange roughy, skipjack and albacore tuna.
  • More than 90 percent of New Zealand's seabed has never been touched by trawlers.
  • 133 fish stocks are managed within acceptable limits.
  • Over 15,000 marine species have been identified in New Zealand's marine environment. 
  • 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.
  • 96 percent of New Zealand's territory is underwater. 
  • Approximately 30.5 percent of New Zealand's total marine environment is protected.