Fisheries Infosite

Fishery - Southern 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
Related links
Elephant fish

The Southern Finfish (SF) fisheries plan area encompasses the eastern and southern inshore parts of the South Island. It is a multi-stock fishery that is associated with the sandy-mud coastal areas from close inshore (estuaries) to the edge of the continental shelf (about 200 metres). It is a shared fishery that is fished by commercial and non-commercial fishers (amateur and customary).

About 18,000 tonnes of fish are landed each fishing year. Commercial fishers take around 95% of the catch, predominantly by trawling and set netting, although there are small amounts of lining and Danish seining. Commercial fishers target many different combinations of stocks depending on their seasonal and spatial abundance. The commercial catch of the SF is valued at around $227 million and is derived from domestic and export markets with much processing carried out locally.

Commercial and non-commercial fishers fish different parts of the fishery area. Non-commercial fishers fish usually target a single stock mainly using lines, drag nets and set nets within 500 metres of the shore. Commercial fishers generally fish outside 500 metres of the shore.