Fisheries Infosite

Region - Chatham Islands (FMA 4)

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 426,000 km2
Coastline 390 kms
Productivity Medium
Climate Temperate-sub-tropical
Total population2 700
Tangata Whenua2 400
Recreational fishers (est. 20%) 200
2 Census 2006
Local fisheries
The Chatham Islands are a unique and geographically isolated location. They are surrounded by highly productive waters and many species found here are unique to this part of the world.

Their inshore waters are dominated by fisheries for rocky reef species – particularly paua, kina, rock lobster and blue cod.

Chatham Island itself has one of New Zealand’s largest and least polluted lagoons, Te Whanga. The lagoon has an area of 18 600 hectares, and contains a unique mix of marine and fresh water species.

Chatham Islanders treat the lagoon and surrounding reef fisheries as an important food source; often saying that the sea is their food cupboard. There is growing interest in these rich and diverse fisheries by recreational fishers from New Zealand.

Commercial catches of high-value species like paua, rock lobster, blue cod and hāpuku/bass are the main source of income for the Chatham Islands.

There is currently no active aquaculture in this region, but there is growing interest in developing this industry on the Island.

Work has begun on an Inshore Fisheries Plan for Chatham Island non-commercial and commercial fisheries. This is an opportunity for all stakeholders to be engaged in the ongoing management of these highly productive resources.

Iconic species



         Blue cod