Who we are

Deepwater Group (DWG) is a non-profit organisation that works in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure that New Zealand gains the maximum economic yields from their deepwater fisheries resources, managed within a long-term sustainable framework.

Our mission is to optimise the sustainable economic value of our deepwater fisheries. Our vision is to be trusted as the best managed deepwater fisheries in the world.

We represent participants in New Zealand’s major deepwater commercial fisheries, including hake, hoki, jack mackerel, ling, orange roughy, oreos, scampi, southern blue whiting and squid. Shareholders of Deepwater Group hold 92% of all deepwater quota in New Zealand.

The New Zealand deepwater fisheries sector involves more than 50 seafood companies, which between them operate more than 60 commercial vessels and collectively employ more than 15,000 people.


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

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
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
Hake, hoki, ling and southern blue whiting recertified and two of four orange roughy conditions closed
Industry launches OpenSeas, a transparency tool profiling the credentials of New Zealand fish
New Zealand’s three largest orange roughy fisheries achieve MSC certification (with four conditions) representing around 70% of the orange roughy catch
DWG supports DOC’s Sea Lion Threat Management Plan and makes further suggestions by way of submission
New Zealand hake and ling achieve MSC certification
DWG supports the establishment of three new marine reserves around the sub-Antarctic islands
New Zealand southern blue whiting achieves MSC certification
DWG CEO invited as a member on the Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit (Marine Programme)
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
All vessels must follow Environmental Codes of Practice to mitigate environmental interactions and adhere to international best practice
Deepwater Group (DWG) Ltd formed to provide a collective voice for deepwater quota owners
Hoki achieves MSC certification – the first major whitefish fishery in the world to do so

We Represent

  • Hake (HAK)

    93% of HAK quota owners

  • Hoki (HOK)

    92% of HOK quota owners

  • Jack Mackerel (JMA)

    90% of JMA quota owners

  • Ling (LIN)

    86% of LIN quota owners

  • Orange Roughy (ORH)

    91% of ORH quota owners

  • Oreo (OEO)

    94% of OEO quota owners

  • Scampi (SCI)

    42% of SCI quota owners

  • Southern Blue Whiting (SBW)

    85% of SBW quota owners

  • Squid (SQU)

    89% 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