Ling are widely distributed through the middle depths (200–800 m) of the New Zealand EEZ
, particularly south of latitude 40° S. Since 1980 ling have been caught by large trawlers and small domestic longliners. In the early 1990s the domestic fleet was increased by the addition of several larger longliners fitted with autoline equipment. This caused a large increase in the catches of ling off the east and south of the South Island (LIN 3, 4, 5 and 6). However, since about 2000 there has been a declining trend in catches taken by line vessels in most areas, offset, to some extent, by increased trawl landings.
Ling is a relatively high value fishery, in 2007 export revenues totalled approximately $54 million. The primary export markets for ling are Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and South Africa.
The principal grounds for smaller domestic vessels are the west coast of the South Island and the east coast of both main islands south of East Cape. For the large trawlers the main sources of ling is the sub Antarctic.