The future of commercial fishing in Aotearoa New Zealand

Published: 24 March 2021

A report on a review into New Zealand’s fisheries management “The future of commercial fishing in Aotearoa New Zealand” was released on 24 March 2021.

This report was compiled by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Prof Dame Juliet Gerrard and an expert panel comprised of representatives from commercial fisheries, fisheries research organisations and NGOs.  It provides a suite of recommendations designed to chart a course for New Zealand commercial fisheries into the future.

The report’s recommendations fall into seven main themes, which can be summarised as:

  1. Strengthening a centralised leadership over the marine domain, one which incorporates a treaty-based approach
  2. Developing an Oceans Strategic Action Plan, led by the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries
  3. Addressing the cumulative effects and stressors on fisheries that stretch beyond commercial fisheries
  4. Developing refined fisheries regulatory tools, predicated on relevant research, ground truths and improved stakeholder engagement
  5. Developing a ‘data platform’ that aggregates extant data sets and includes collaboration to fill data gaps enabling informed commercial and economic decision making
  6. Strengthening the current Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) within the current regulatory framework, including that enabled by the Fisheries Act 1996
  7. Developing a more holistic strategic approach to science and research in the marine domain including the compilation of a Funding and Research Action Plan, informed by the Oceans Strategic Action Plan.

Recommendations, key messages and contextual reports can be found on the PMCSA’s website: (

Deepwater Group welcomes this report, recognising that many of the recommendations will add further benefits to commercial fisheries consistent with the purpose of the Fisheries Act.

Deepwater Group congratulates Prof Dame Juliet Gerrard and the Expert Panel on their thorough and comprehensive report.  

We look forward to working with the Minister for Oceans and Government and with government officials to collaboratively implement further improvements to the present Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management for New Zealand’s deepwater fisheries.