Fisheries Infosite

Fishery - North East Finfish

Species photo for Snapper (SNA)
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
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The North East region covers the inshore waters and harbours along the north-eastern coast of the North Island from North Cape to Cape Runaway covering the eastern coast of Northland, the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty.

The finfish species found in the region are some of the most highly valued in New Zealand by customary, recreational and commercial fishers alike. Snapper is the main species targeted by fishers in the region, but other finfish species such as kahawai, kingfish, and John dory are also common target species.
Recreational fishing is popular throughout New Zealand, but particularly in the North East region. The Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty are all renowned fishing grounds.
Over half of all snapper caught by recreational fishers within the North East region are taken from within the Hauraki Gulf. The Bay of Islands and Bay of Plenty regions are both popular areas for game fishing and charter fishing operators. Target species for game fishers include marlin, swordfish and tuna as well as species found at greater depths, such as häpuka and bluenose.
Spear-fishing is becoming increasingly popular throughout the region as the relatively clear, sheltered waters provide ideal spear-fishing conditions. Spear-fishers in the region generally target species such as kingfish, John dory and butterfish. 
The North East region covers the rohe of numerous iwi and hapu groups. Providing kaimoana (seafood) to feed whänau (family) or manuhiri (guests) has always been part of the cultural heritage of tangata whenua. Kaimoana is an extremely valuable resource for iwi and hapü. With interests in customary, recreational and commercial fishing, Tangata whenua have a significant interest in all three of these sectors along the North East coast. Species which hold particular value to tangata whenua in this region include snapper, flatfish, grey mullet, and kahawai.
The region is also home to a large fleet of commercial fishing vessels. Auckland, Tauranga and Whangarei are the three main ports where the majority of fish are landed. Commercial fishers target a wide range of species using various fishing methods. The main commercial species include snapper, tarakihi, gurnard, kahawai, John dory, trevally, häpuka and bluenose. There are also important local fisheries for species such as flatfish, grey mullet, pilchard, and school shark.