Fisheries

Latest news

Strange fish behaviour has been captured by NIWA scientists working in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds.
NIWA may be coming to a boat ramp near you to learn more about the recreational fishing catch in New Zealand.
NIWA are studying the ocean off Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay to see how Cyclone Gabrielle has impacted the health of fisheries habitats and seabed ecosystems.
NIWA scientists have discovered the origins of cryptic markings found in Aotearoa New Zealand’s deep sea.

Our work

Fisheries New Zealand estimate that 600,000 people, or approximately 13 percent of New Zealand’s population, go recreational fishing in our waters annually.

Understanding the trends in these fisheries is key to ensuring sustainable fisheries across the country. To help build this picture, NIWA is contracted by Fisheries New Zealand to gather information about recreational fishing practices and catch from popular fishing locations.

Where and when?

Latest videos

Open wide: Snapper teeth secrets

NIWA and University of Auckland masters student Georgia Third is getting up close and personal with snapper guts and teeth to understand the differences between biologically distinct snapper populations in New Zealand.

Commercial catch sampling

The Otolith is the earbone of the fish and like the rings on a tree it can tell us about the story of the fish's life. NIWA has looked at 27000 otoliths in the last year each one contributing to the story of key species in the fishery.  Together this information informs managers about the growth, recruitment, and selectivity of the fishing gear which is crucial for managers to make sustainability decisions. Good management of a fishery requires good data. This video is a look at what goes into collecting that data. 

Antarctic science onboard NIWA’s RV Tangaroa

Researchers are working their way through a wealth of new Antarctic marine data after RV Tangaroa successfully completed its five week scientific voyage to the Ross Sea. Voyage leader and principal fisheries scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll outlines the team’s busy research schedule examining biodiversity and ocean dynamics in the world’s largest marine protected area.

Check out more stories from the 2021 Antarctic voyage

RV Tangaroa: New Zealand’s world-class research vessel

The ideal research platform

NIWA proudly owns and operates RV Tangaroa, a 70 m Ice Class scientific platform.
The research vessel supports oceanographic and fishery surveys throughout the South Pacific, New Zealand, the sub-Antarctic islands and the Ross Sea.

The diverse range of modern and sophisticated equipment available onboard enables sampling and measurements to be taken from the sea surface, through the water column to the seabed and below.

Tangaroa is New Zealand’s only ocean-going research vessel, equipped with dynamic positioning, allowing her to remain stationary or track a precise path over the seabed, even in the often-challenging Southern Ocean environment.

The vessel is operated by 15 full time crew employed by NIWA, highly experienced in deploying, recovering and operating a broad range of scientific equipment.

The vessel can survey the seafloor to hydrographic quality, and is able to produce high-resolution imagery of the geology up to 200m below the seabed, and even deeper using NIWA’s multichannel seismic system.
NIWA can provide or source most key equipment required for ocean science including a range of fishing nets and acoustic sounders developed for fishery and water column surveys, varying models and makes of autonomous and remotely-operated underwater vehicles, an assortment of underwater cameras, seabed landers, and moorings.

Tangaroa is an ideal vessel for ocean exploration, atmospheric, fishery and marine geology research.

Our services and expertise

NIWA has more than 40 years of experience working in New Zealand’s marine realm and has conducted 14 voyages to Antarctica and many more in sub-Antarctic waters.
We provide world-class services and expertise, and can easily adapt to support new and innovative opportunities, making every project a success.

Since European settlement there have been many changes in land use in New Zealand, with large forested areas having been cleared for human habitation and agriculture.
Tuna is a generic Māori word for freshwater eels. The word will be used interchangeably in this resource.

NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa will set sail for the Chatham Rise tonight to improve our understanding of how marine ecosystems affect commercially exploited fish, and how commercial fisheries affect the marine food-web. The Chatham Rise, a large plateau between the South Island and Chatham Islands, is our most productive fishing ground.

Community interest in maintaining healthy trout fisheries has underpinned a significant drive to protect water quality in New Zealand.

Some fish may still be scarce or absent even though recruitment is occurring, habitat is present and there is no recent history of pollution or floods.

A problem with recruitment is usually indicated by the absence, or very low density, of fish where they would normally be present.

The environmental effects of developing land and water for human use have decimated New Zealand's native fish fauna, but we now have the knowledge to reverse this trend and restore native fish in streams. 

If the low abundance of fish in your stream is not related to a reduction in habitat, waterquality, flow or the presence of downstream barriers, it might be due to the inability of juvenile fish to enter the stream.
The movements of many juvenile native fish are often hindered by barriers to fish passage such as dams, weirs, falls, tide gates, culverts, screens and high water velocities. The New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines sets out recommended practice for the design of instream infrastructure to provide for fish passage.

NIWA studies reveal that different movement and behaviours exist within snapper stock – some snapper stay at home, while some range for hundreds of kilometres. Our studies also show that marine reserves may well be affecting the behaviour of fish that inhabit them.

Seagrass meadows – vital nursery grounds for young fish – are vanishing at an alarming rate worldwide.

Over the long hot summer many kiwis will be digging deep in the sand for pipi. These yummy shellfish live buried in the sand and are free at the beach! 

A shy, slimy, ancient fish, that looks like an eel but isn't. It has a circular sucker for a mouth, and feeds by rasping a hole in its victim's fishy-flesh.

Kahawai are an iconic species for recreational fishers. They are fantastic fighters and are found in most coastal waters, harbours, and estuaries around New Zealand, in both the North Island and South Island.

Lurking in the depths of freshwater waterways, all around New Zealand, longfin eels are the most common fish in our rivers. The native longfin eel, at up to 1.6 metres in length, is something to be in awe of, especially when there's a crowd of them – and they aren't the most attractive thing you've ever seen.

The return of the upgraded RV Tangaroa represents a huge advancement for New Zealand science and exploration

NIWA today welcomed home RV Tangaroa, New Zealand’s only deepwater research vessel, after a $20 million dollar upgrade to enhance its ocean science and survey capabilities.

NIWA looked deep – to almost 1840 metres – and found new-to-science fish, close to the seafloor. The ocean revealed specimens of some rarely seen, and some previously unknown, fishes from New Zealand waters.

The tools available for restoring native fish to streams depend on what is causing fish to decline.
Identifying the factors causing fish numbers to drop will allow you to determine which restoration tools you need to employ.

This programme runs until 2013. To date, we've achieved many key milestones towards developing elite kingfish, hāpuku, and pāua broodstock for the future aquaculture industry. These are summarised below.

The High Value Aquaculture Programme has made great progress on a number of fronts. Here, we summarise highlights for all four species: kingfish, hapuku, paua, and salmon.

Pages

All staff working on this subject

Hydro-ecological Modeller
placeholder image
Marine Ecologist - Quantitative Modeller
Principal Scientist - Fisheries
Population Modeller
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
Fisheries Population Modeller
placeholder image
Principal Scientist - Fisheries Modeller
Regional Manager - Christchurch
placeholder image
Fisheries Acoustics Scientist
Fisheries Scientist (Quantitative Stock Assessment)
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
placeholder image
Marine Biosecurity Scientist
Fisheries Scientist
placeholder image
Principal Technician - Fisheries
Spatial Fisheries Modeller
Marine Ecology Technician
Subscribe to RSS - Fisheries