About us


Who we are

Deepwater Group (DWG) is committed to the sustainable management of New Zealand's deepwater fisheries. Formed in 2005, DWG is a non-profit organisation, working in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other interest groups, to ensure New Zealand’s deepwater fisheries resources are managed to optimise their long-term sustainable yields.

Fisheries managed by DWG are those targeted commercially and usually fished at depths between 200 and 1,600 metres. These include hake, hoki, jack mackerel, ling, orange roughy, oreos, scampi, southern blue whiting and squid. Shareholders of Deepwater Group collectively own 92% of all deepwater quota in New Zealand (click images below for more information).

The New Zealand deepwater fisheries sector involves more than 50 seafood companies, which between them operate more than 100 commercial vessels and collectively employ around 6,000 people. Annually, deepwater fisheries contribute some $1.8 billion to New Zealand's economy. Deepwater fisheries contribute over $650m in export earnings and are the largest exporting sector of the seafood industry.

Our vision is to be trusted as the best managed deepwater fisheries in the world.

What we do

We provide the vision and leadership needed to ensure New Zealand’s deepwater fisheries are profitable, sustainable, and managed in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Examples of our work include:

  • Representing the interests of quota holders
  • Working in partnership with Government and government departments
  • Undertaking fisheries research and stock assessment programmes
  • Implementing and monitoring fisheries management programmes
  • Managing and minimising adverse environmental effects
  • Ensuring integrity at all levels of process and engagement
  • Maintaining standards that meet or exceed those required for Marine Stewardship Council certification.

Our History

2020
Orange roughy fisheries pass annual audit and close all conditions. All fisheries are now certified without conditions and meet the 80% level or higher for all MSC criteria - confirming they are amongst the top performing fisheries in the world
2019
MSC introduces labour criteria and DWG reports for the first time on measures to prevent forced and child labour. Hake, hoki, ling and southern blue whiting pass annual audit
2018
Hake, hoki, ling and southern blue whiting recertified and two of four orange roughy conditions closed
2017
Industry launches OpenSeas, a transparency tool profiling the credentials of New Zealand fish
2016
New Zealand’s three largest orange roughy fisheries achieve MSC certification (with four conditions) representing around 70% of the orange roughy catch
2016
DWG supports DOC’s Sea Lion Threat Management Plan and makes further suggestions by way of submission
2014
New Zealand hake and ling achieve MSC certification
2014
DWG supports the establishment of three new marine reserves around the sub-Antarctic islands
2012
New Zealand southern blue whiting achieves MSC certification
2011
DWG CEO invited as a member on the Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit (Marine Programme)
2006
Industry proposes the development of Benthic Protection Areas to the New Zealand Government. The following year they are enshrined in law after public consultation on proposals
2005
All vessels must follow Environmental Codes of Practice to mitigate environmental interactions and adhere to international best practice
2005
Deepwater Group (DWG) Ltd formed to provide a collective voice for deepwater quota owners
2001
Hoki achieves MSC certification – the first major whitefish fishery in the world to do so

We Represent

  • Hake

    94% of HAK quota owners

  • Hoki

    93% of HOK quota owners

  • Jack Mackerel

    80% of JMA quota owners

  • Ling

    88% of LIN quota owners

  • Orange Roughy

    92% of ORH quota owners

  • Oreo

    94% of OEO quota owners

  • Scampi

    43% of SCI quota owners

  • Southern Blue Whiting

    87% of SBW quota owners

  • Squid

    93% of SQU quota owners

  • Our Challenges

    The responsible management of New Zealand’s deepwater fisheries has a strong foundation in the world-renowned Quota Management System. While this provides a framework for sustainability and the protection of a precious resource for the future, the seafood sector, like all producers of food products, is faced with many other challenges in the current domestic and international environment. Globally these challenges include, changing macroeconomics, increasing energy costs, rising customer awareness of environmental issues and the need to incorporate sustainable practices at all levels of production and delivery of the product.

    Deepwater Group is structured to meet these challenges through:

    • Effective governance
    • Sustainable utilisation
    • Ongoing learning and research
    • Cooperation and collaboration

    Learning more - the science

    Millions of dollars are spent each year by quota owners on increasing the understanding of deepwater fishery stock levels and sustainable harvest options as well as interactions with the broader environment. This vital information assists in regularly revised catch level adjustments, when appropriate, and is one of the cornerstones of ensuring those fisheries remain healthy and sustainable. Management decisions are based on the best available scientific information.

    Proportionate to quota owned, MPI levies deepwater quota owners to manage their fisheries, recovering costs for:

    • Monitoring fish numbers
    • Managing environmental effects
    • Law enforcement and compliance