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Southern bluefin

Southern bluefin tuna management

by option4 and NZSFC

2010 - 2011



nz sport fishing council


Minister's decision
MFish Final Advice Paper
MFish Initial Advice
Plenary stock report
southern bluefin tuna

Southern bluefin tuna


In November 2010 the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) released a discussion document proposing an in-season increase in the southern bluefin tuna (SBT) commercial catch allocation and the recreational allowance.

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council (NZSFC) urged MFish to provide advice to the Minister that is consistent with the precautionary principles of the Fisheries Act 1996.

NZSFC do not believe the Ministy ought to be considering short-term increases to the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for southern bluefin tuna when the scientific advice is that the spawning stock is critically low and continuing to decline.

The NZSFC will continue to remind MFish and the Minister of the cynical nature of the decision, released in February 2011, to increase catch when they know more cuts are needed in the years to come.

In February 2011 the Minister, Phil Heatley, agreed to increase the TAC for southern bluefin tuna from 420 to 539 tonnes. This is contrary to what the NZ Sport Fishing Council had asked for. A decision about catch limits for the 2011-12 fishing year will be made later in 2011.

The NZSFC encourages recreational fishers to tag and release all southern bluefin tuna they catch in 2011.


Southern bluefin tuna 2010 - 11
A submission by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council on the proposed in-season TAC increase for southern bluefin tuna. The NZSFC submit the current TACof 420 tonne ought to remain for 2011-11 and decreased to 380 tonne in 2011-12.

Dec 10

(Pdf 350Kb)

This submission by Greenpeace makes some great points and strongly recommends that a zero TACC be applied immediately, to enable the southern bluefin tuna stocks to recover from 4.6 to 20% of original stock size by 2025.

7 Dec 10

(Pdf 430Kb)

Reference documents

Minister's partial decision
Phil Heatley, Minister of Fisheries, followed the Ministry's preferred option and decided to increase the southern bluefin tuna TAC from 420 to 539 tonnes for the 2010-11 fishing year. This applies immediately. A decision regarding the catch level for 2011-12 will be made later in the year.

17 Feb 11

(Pdf 810Kb)

MFish Final Advice Paper
The Final Advice Paper from the Ministry to the Minister of Fisheries recommending he choose option 2, to increase the TAC and recreational allowance for southern bluefin tuna in 2010-11.

2 Feb 11


MFish Initial Advice
The Ministry of Fisheries' Initial Position Paper (IPP) including three possible management options for southern bluefin tuna: 1. retain status quo - 420 tonne TAC; 2. increase TAC to 539t; 3. increase TAC to 597 tonne.

Nov 10


southern bluefin ipp

Plenary Report - 2010
This MFish Plenary report from May 2010 notes that the southern bluefin tuna stock is well below the biomass required to produce maximum sustainable yield (BMSY). Spawning stock is estimated to be about 5% of virgin biomass.The stock is not expected to rebuild under current catch levels.

May 2010

(Pdf 480Kb)



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