ORH3B ESCR, ORH3B NWCR & ORH7A are certified sustainable through the Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Standard. To view the supporting documents for the most recent MSC annual audit, click here.

New Zealand has the largest and longest standing orange roughy fisheries in the world. However, concerns have been raised in the past about the status of orange roughy stocks. To improve the situation, more science-based information has been collected to inform management and catches have been reduced or stopped to allow stocks to rebuild at the fastest rate possible. Better information on stock status from increased science has found stocks are rebuilding as a result of this cautious management approach.

Three of our main orange roughy fisheries have been certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) since 2016.

Common Name

Orange roughy

Scientific Name

Hoplostethus atlanticus

Ministry Code


Quick Facts

  • Trawl fishery (depths of ~800-1,200m)
  • Managed as nine main fish stocks:Northern North Island (ORH1), East Cape (ORH2A North), Mid-East Coast (ORH2A South, ORH2B, and ORH3A), Northwest Chatham Rise (ORH3B), East and South Chatham Rise (ORH3B), Puysegur (ORH3B), Sub-Antarctic (ORH3B), Challenger Plateau (ORH7A), west coast South Island (ORH7B)
  • DWG represents each stock and 92% of the total quota
  • Live near seabed in deepwater and at times move up the water column to feed on crustaceans, fish and squid
  • Start breeding around 20-30 years, slow-growing, and may live for more than 120 years
  • For every 1,000 adult roughy, around 45 are harvested each year, leaving 955 to ensure healthy stock sizes for the future
  • Around 70% of the roughy catch is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council
  • Firm white flesh with a delicate almost shell-fish like flavour

* ‘Known distribution range’ provides an indication of where orange roughy are likely to be found based on all known records of orange roughy collected from research and commercial activities. They may be found elsewhere. ‘Main fishing grounds’ is based on the trawl footprint for the last ten years, only a fraction of this is trawled annually