In 2018, fishing and fish processing generated around $650 million of direct GDP, directly employed around 6,630 FTEs, and $1.6 billion worth of exports. One of a limited number of inshore finfish species that hold considerable value for the fishing industry is the tarakihi, which is primarily caught for commercial sales in the New Zealand domestic market.
In 2018 a stock assessment undertaken for the Ministry for Primary Industries revealed that the New Zealand east coast stock of tarakihi is below the soft limit (20 percent of Virgin biomass (B0)). Under the Ministry for Primary Industries Harvest Strategy Standard and associated Operational Guidelines once a stock goes below the soft limit, it is considered to be overfished or depleted, and a rebuild plan must be developed. Once a fish stock is below a hard limit it is considered to have collapsed and fisheries need to be closed to rebuild the fish stock.
Given that the stock assessment shows that the east coast tarakihi stock was below the soft limit, Ministry for Primary Industries began the development of a rebuild strategy required to build the tarakihi stock back to target. To assist the Ministry for Primary Industries with their development of a rebuild strategy, BERL was asked to model the impacts of five tarakihi rebuild scenarios, which assessed each scenarios impact on tarakihi stock levels and other fisheries. Because tarakihi is taken as target and bycatch, it is not only the direct impact of tarakihi harvest reductions that is required to be assessed but also consideration of the value lost/increased costs to harvest of other species taken in association with tarakihi.
The results of BERL’s modelling and analysis feed into the Ministry for Primary Industries Review of Sustainability Measures for the October 2018/19 fishing year, and the Minister of Fisheries decision to adjust the Total Allowable Catch limits to reduce the catch of tarakihi in the east coast of New Zealand. A link below has been provided to Ministry for Primary Industries documents along with our report: