The Southeast Region has three main fisheries areas: Kaikoura, Canterbury and Otago.
Kaikoura and Otago are rocky reef systems with kelp forests and clear waters. The reef systems extend into the sea, creating underwater canyons and narrow shelf areas.
Between these places, is a coastline dominated by a shallow shelf of sandy mud that extends some distance offshore. This is essentially a marine extension of the Canterbury Plains. Water clarity in the area is sometimes affected by major rivers and this attracts Hector’s dolphins.
The narrow shelf areas that connect the rocky and sandy-mud areas are rich in biodiversity. These areas are often fish nursery areas and migratory pathways.
There are many opportunities to fish and dive in the region, which makes the area important to local customary and recreational fishers.
The Southeast Region contains New Zealand’s second and third largest fishing ports – Lyttelton and Timaru – which are port to many deep sea trawlers.
A significant inshore trawl fleet is also based in the region. This fleet catches most of the red (Akaroa) cod sold on New Zealand’s domestic market. Rock lobster and paua are important fisheries in the reef areas.
There is an interest in near-shore aquaculture in the region. To find out about the region’s aquaculture, visit www.aquaculture.govt.nz