Fisheries Infosite

Deepwater clam Challenger (PZL7)
Maori name
Scientific name
Panopea zelandica

Physical characteristics

There are two Deepwater Clam species in New Zealand; Panopea zelandica and Panopea smithae. They are distinguishable from each other by the depth of a line that runs along the inner side of the shell. Panopea smithae has a deeper line.

Life cycle

Deepwater Clam have an estimated maximum age of 34 years. They broadcast spawn, probably in summer.


Both species of Deepwater Clam are found throughout New Zealand. Panopea zelandica live in shallow sand and mud off sandy beaches at depths of 5-25 m. Panopea smithae live on coarse substrates at depths of 110-130 m.

Key statistics
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 30/09/2020
2 Quota value and exports are calculated pro-rata to reported commercial catch for the 12 month period to 30/09/2020