Fisheries Infosite

Fishery - West Coast North Island Finfish

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 Island West Coast Region covers the inshore waters and harbours from North Cape to Tirua Point. This western North Island coastline is characterised by exposed sandy beaches with stretches of rocky platforms and outcrops. There are also a number of harbours along the coast from the expansive Kaipara Harbour to the tiny Herekino Harbour.
Historically Maori used lines and nets made from flax and made fish pots and spears to catch finfish. Large nets were made that were fished by hundreds of people, particularly for grey mullet, school sharks and rig. These fish were caught in large quantities and were smoked or dried for winter.
Today Maori fish as part of the customary, recreational and commercial fishing sectors in the North Island West Coast Region. Nine rohe moana areas have been gazetted. There is currently one mÄtaitai reserve, in Aotea Harbour and one Taiapure-Local Fishery that covers both of the Aotea and Kawhia Harbours.
While sea conditions can often be rough on the west coast, recreational fishers utilise calm weather to take advantage of some great fishing off the coast, particularly for snapper, trevally and even the occasional marlin. Long lining using kontikis and kites is popular along the surf beaches, as is surfcasting.
In the harbours, many recreational fishers set-net for grey mullet, rig and flounder.  There is also some line fishing, especially in the deeper channels for snapper and other species such as kahawai.  Recreational fishers have reported that harbour based fishing is more focused on sustenance and is more family oriented than line fishing on the coast.
There are a number of charter boat vessels operating on the west coast of the North Island and they take fishers out on trips along the full stretch of coastline, in particular the Raglan, Kaipara and Manukau areas.
Commercial fishing is an important industry for the North Island West Coast region -from set netting inside the harbours and close to shore for rig, school shark, flounder and grey mullet, to trawling further off the coast for snapper, trevally and barracouta.

LonglinerSnapper and trevallyRecreational fishers