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.

Scientific records of at least 104,000 samples of New Zealand’s freshwater fish, invertebrates, algae and other aquatic plants are now available at the click of a mouse.

A technique that collects chemical ‘fingerprints’ from the ear bones of fish to help scientists identify which estuaries they originated from could have important implications for the management of New Zealand’s local fisheries, said an article in the latest issue of Fisheries & Aquaculture Update, published by NIWA’s National Centre for Fisheries and Aquaculture.

If you hook yourself a tagged blue cod, NIWA would like to hear from you.

New tags that are attached by a tough nylon thread could finally solve the mystery of where New Zealand‘s freshwater eels spawn.

The same technique used to create the frighteningly life-like dinosaurs in the BBC documentary 'Walking with Dinosaurs' is now being used to help monitor New Zealand’s fish populations.

An agreement in principle has been reached for the sale of the Glenariffe Salmon Hatchery currently owned by NIWA, to Rakaia Salmon Limited. The new company wishes to raise salmon for the market by using the hatchery raceways. Initial concerns by environmental groups over potential capture of young salmon for the farm from the Rakaia River will not be an issue.

The abundance and sizes of fish within the Kapiti Marine Reserve have impressed research divers who have just completed a survey to assess how well the marine environment has recovered since it was protected in 1992.

French researchers are now, or soon to be, closely involved in a range of New Zealand environmental and marine studies taking in such diverse activities as migratory problems of fish including eels, the foraging habits of royal albatross in southern oceans, and the potential tsunami impact of undersea landslides.

Crayfish living along the Abel Tasman National Park coastline will be introduced to the silicon chip age later this month.

New findings by scientists at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have revealed that the death of kina, starfish, and possibly other fishes, in late January and early February off the Kaikoura coast appears to be linked to toxic algae.

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All staff working on this subject

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