Fisheries Infosite

Fishery - Squid

Key statistics
Recreational significance Low
Customary significance Low
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
Related links
Associated bycatch species
Species photo for Sqid whole.jpg

The New Zealand squid fishery consists of two species of squidNototodarus gouldii and Nototodarus sloanii. Both species are found across the continental shelf in waters up to 500m in depth, though they are most commonly found in waters less than 300m in depth.

The majority of squid fishing activity takes place in the summer months from January through to May. The fishery is typically a low-value, high-volume fishery targeted by foreign vessels (Korean and Ukrainian predominantly) which are chartered by New Zealand companies

There are three commercial squid fisheries in New Zealand; a trawl fishery which covers most of the EEZ, a second trawl fishery that is located specifically around the Auckland Islands in the sub-Antarctic, and a squid jigging fishery that covers most of the EEZ. In recent years there has been a decline in the number of vessels fishing in the jig fishery and in 2008 only 3% of the SQU1J TACC (1371 tonnes) was harvested. In the same fishing year the total amount of squid harvested from the trawl fisheries was 56,000 tonnes, from a total allocation of 127,332 tonnes. Because squid abundance varies naturally there are some years when squid is abundant and some years when abundance is scarce.

Squid is a high volume fishery and frequently appears amongst the top five exports based simply of the volume of squid that is caught. Because of the natural variability, export revenues can be unpredictable and in some years are higher than in others.

In the 2008 calendar year, 46,500 tonnes (processed weight) of squid was exported realising a value of $71m. Major markets include the China, Greece, Korea, the USA, Taiwan, Spain and Italy. In New Zealand squid can be purchased in supermarkets in the freezer section.

Squid quota value across all fisheries was estimated to be worth $95m in 2008.