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Stock Status

This page provides a summary of the status of all important Quota Management System (QMS) and non-QMS stocks: 379 fish stocks or sub-stocks, comprising 374 QMS stocks or sub-stocks and 5 non-QMS species, the latter of which are all Antarctic or Highly Migratory Species (HMS), and are each treated as a single stock in New Zealand or Antarctic waters (HMS species are denoted by * in the first column of the summary table). QMS fishstocks not included in the Status of Stocks summary are those with nominal TACs or TACCs (generally less than 10-20 t) for which a development potential has not currently been demonstrated (a total of 292 stocks). These are listed in the document here.

The information is sourced from the Ministry's annual Fisheries Assessment Plenary reports. The Plenary reports are available for each species here. The information provided in this table is only intended to be a general summary. It is not intended to take the place of the Plenary reports.

Species name: These are the names in common usage for each species throughout New Zealand. The corresponding Maori and scientific names can be found in the Plenary reports.

Plenary stocks: Plenary stocks are those for which biology, fishery, stock assessment and stock status information has been included in either the main (May) Plenary Report, or the mid-year (November) Plenary Report. Plenary stock codes are the standard 3-letter species codes used by the Ministry, but with a Quota Management Area (QMA) area designation added. QMA numbers differ somewhat for each species; these are shown on the first page of each Plenary chapter. In some cases the assessment unit is smaller than the QMA; thus the number of units for which stock status is assessed does not correspond exactly to QMA stocks.

Last assessment date: This is the date of the most recent quantitative stock assessment or evaluation.

At or above target levels? The “at or above target levels” indicator describes the present status of the stock relative to its target (usually BMSY, the average biomass associated with a maximum sustainable yield (MSY) strategy, or FMSY, the associated fishing mortality, or appropriate surrogates or proxies for these metrics, or alternative reference points that will result in higher average biomass – see Maximum Sustainable Yield Harvest Strategies for definitions and explanations of these terms).

Below the soft limit? Below the hard limit? Overfishing? In 2016, for the seventh consecutive year, three additional indicators of stock and fishery status have been analysed. The three indicators are defined in the Harvest Strategy Standard for New Zealand Fisheries approved by the Minister of Fisheries on 24 October 2008.

In April 2009, the Ministry's Stock Assessment Methods Working Group adopted a probabilistic scale for categorising the “At or above target levels”, "below the soft limit", "below the hard limit" and "overfishing" indicators (based on the scale developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007). While these probability categories are best applied in situations where models give appropriate quantitative outputs, they can also be used subjectively, based on expert opinion, when such model outputs are not available, or are highly uncertain.


The stock status table uses the IPCC criteria, coded according to the following key:

At or above target levels?ProbabilityDescriptionBelow the soft limit?
Below the hard limit?
> 99 %
Virtually Certain 
> 90 % 
 Very Likely
> 60 %
40 - 60 %About as Likely as Not
< 40 %Unlikely
< 10 %Very Unlikely
< 1 %Exceptionally Unlikely

Note that green circles indicate a favourable status, while orange squares indicate an unfavourable status, with the number of circles or squares indicating the degree to which the status is favourable or unfavourable.

Whether or not a stock is likely to be at or above the target level, or to be below the soft or hard limits, or subject to overfishing, is based on the most recent stock assessment summarised in the Ministry’s Fishery Assessment Plenary Reports. The current (2016) stock status may be better or worse than that indicated by the most recent stock assessment.

Corrective management action: This column describes corrective management action underway for those stocks believed to be below the target level, or the soft or hard limits, or subject to overfishing.

Grey shading indicates that stock status is unknown, because an appropriate quantitative analysis to ascertain stock status relative to a target or limit has not been undertaken, or because such an analysis was not definitive, generally because of insufficient or inadequate data.

Light green shading indicates stocks that have been lightly exploited and are known to have development potential due to previous abundance surveys indicating an appreciable biomass.

2016 Stock Status Table

Table of stock status for each fish stock.pdf

Contact us about this page    Last updated 2/05/2017