Sharks

New Zealand waters are home to at least 113 species of shark, including all sharks, rays, skates, chimaeras and other members of the Class Chrondrichtyes. Some of these support significant commercial fisheries. They also play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and share biological characteristics that can make them susceptible to over-fishing. The Ministry for Primary Industries has produced an updated National Plan of Action for Sharks to continue to document New Zealand’s efforts in conserving and managing sharks within our waters. Deepwater Group has also implemented procedures to assist fishermen in understanding their role in managing and conserving sharks. For example, it provides helpful tips on how to better identify species, how to release sharks safely and humanely, and helps explain legal requirements. Five species of sharks (basking, deepwater nurse, white pointer, oceanic whitetip and whale sharks) are protected by law in New Zealand waters. It is an offence to hunt, harass or harm any of these species. If they are accidentally caught by commercial fisherman, it is not unlawful, but captures must be reported to the Ministry for Primary Industries.