Characterisation of New Zealand fisheries for skipjack tuna

Trophia has been contracted by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries :

  1. To characterise the fisheries for skipjack tuna in the New Zealand fisheries waters, for New Zealand vessels fishing in other EEZ’s and on the high seas.

Skipjack was the first commercially exploited tuna in New Zealand waters, with landings beginning in the 1960s in the Taranaki Bight and quickly extending to the Bay of Plenty. The fishery in New Zealand waters has always been predominantly a purse seine fishery although landings by other gear types (especially troll) are made. The purse seine fishery for most of its history has been based on a few (4 to 5 medium sized vessels < 400 GRT) operating on short fishing trips assisted by fixed wing aircraft in FMA 1, FMA 2 and occasionally FMA 9 during summer months. Since 2001, however, New Zealand companies have purchased four large ex-US super seiners which fish for skipjack in the EEZ, on the high seas, and in the EEZs of various Pacific Island countries in equatorial waters. Domestic landings within the EEZ have averaged almost 7000 t annually since 2002. This increase is due, in part, to the fishing by these large capacity super seiners fish within the EEZ. Catches in the New Zealand EEZ are variable and even without the increased capacity of recent years can exceed 10 000 t in a good season (peak year was 1999/00 when 10 561 t were landed and landings in 2003/04 were 9 225 t).