Fisheries Infosite

Region - Southland/Fiordland (FMA 5)

Key statistics
Recreational significance High
Customary significance High
Environmental importance High
Reported commercial catch1 (tonnes)
Quota value estimate2 (NZ$m)
Exports estimate2 (NZ$m)
1 Reported commercial catch is calculated for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025
2 Quota value and exports are calculated pro-rata to reported commercial catch for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025
Regional characteristics
Area 272,000 km2
Coastline 3,770 kms
Productivity Medium
Climate Temperate
Total population2 83,000
Tangata Whenua2 11,000
Recreational fishers (est. 20%) 17,000
2 Census 2006
The Southland Region hunkers on the edge of the wild, Southern Ocean and is swept by southwest gales of the Roaring Forties. Weather dictates the fishing here.

The region contains outstanding recreational fishing and diving opportunities, particularly around Fiordland and Steward Island/Foveaux Strait. The diving here is enhanced by clear Southern Ocean waters.

Customary and recreational harvests are most often taken by locals. However, more and more visitors enjoy the area, fishing from charter vessels based in Fiordland, Stewart Island, Bluff and Riverton.

Southland is home to New Zealand’s most iconic commercial fishery - Foveaux Strait (‘Bluff’) oysters. Less well-known is the fact that this region produces much of the blue cod for New Zealand’s domestic market. Paua and crayfish are also important fisheries here.

Commercial fishing in the region is influenced by the changeable weather which affects access to their fishing grounds. Most commercial vessels land their catch into either Bluff or Riverton.

The Southland Region encompasses diverse marine environments from the internationally significant Fiordland Marine Area, through Foveaux Strait (famous for its oysters and other fisheries), taking in Stewart Island/Rakiura, and the Southland coast around to the Slope Point – the southern most tip of the South Island.

Iconic species


           Blue cod