Fisheries Infosite

Fishery - Oreo

Key statistics
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
There are three species of oreo fished within the New Zealand EEZ; smooth oreo, black oreo and spiky oreo. All three species are managed under the QMS with quota allocated as a combined oreo assemblage. Target fisheries exist for black and smooth oreo in quota management areas OEO 1, OEO 3A, OEO 4 and OEO 6. Spiky oreo is taken as a bycatch in these fisheries and all three species are taken as bycatch in the target orange roughy fishery.

Oreo are found predominantly in southern latitudes of the EEZ from the south Chatham Rise to the sub-Antarctic. They are found at depths from 600 to 1500m with younger fish typically found towards the shallower end of this depth range. Oreo are long lived and slow growing. Research estimates that black oreo may reach a maximum size of 45 cm and live for up to 150 years and smooth oreo may reach a maximum size of 51 cm at an age of 86 years. Spawning for both species occurs from late October to at least December with an average length at maturity of 34 and 41cm for black and smooth oreo respectively.

Commercial fisheries occur for black oreo (BOE) and smooth oreo (SSO). Oreos are managed as a species group, which includes spiky oreo (SOR). The Chatham Rise (OEO 3A and OEO 4) is the main fishing area, but other fisheries occur off Southland on the east coast of the South Island (OEO 1/OEO 3A), and on the Pukaki Rise, Macquarie Ridge, and Bounty Plateau (OEO 6).
Image drawing for Smooth Oreo (OEO)
Oreo quota across all fisheries was estimated to be worth $87m as at 30 September 2008. In the 2008 calendar year, 5,339 tonnes (processed weight) of oreo was exported realising a value of $17.9m. The majority of oreo processed in New Zealand is exported as frozen fillets primarily to Australia and France. Oreo is also exported to China for further processing.

There is no customary non-commercial or recreational fishing for oreo species.