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Tuna (eel) Management

North Island Tuna (eel) Management Proposals



The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) issued new proposals for the future management of North Island Tuna (Eels) in June 2007. The Initial Position Paper (IPP) had options for the four shortfin stocks and four longfin stocks. Options were to reduce the total catch in each fishery and then determine the reductions required in commercial catch and recreational allowances, if any. Any management changes would take effect as of October 1st 2007. Submission deadline was July 27th, 2007.

North Island tuna (eel) were introduced into the quota management system (QMS) in 2004 with total allowable catches (TACs) and total allowable commercial catches (TACCs) set at a ‘starting point’ level, in acknowledgement that further adjustments to catch levels may be required.

In recognition of the poor information, vulnerability of the fishery and eel’s cultural importance the TACs were set under section 14 of the Fisheries Act 1996. This allowed the previous Minister to determine management objectives for the fishery. These were to improve the stock structure (i.e., size composition) and abundance of tuna (eels) over the medium term (10 years), while bringing to a halt any decline in the fishery over the short term. The Minister’s intention was to ensure that:

  • The fishery is sustainably managed;
  • The fishery’s availability to non-commercial fishers is improved;
  • The relationship with interdependent stocks is improved.

MFish believe the present management strategy and its intended outcomes are not presently being met, and further refinement of total catch levels is required.

MFish Proposals – Total Allowable Catches
The TACCs in seven of the eight tuna (eel) stocks have never been reached, since 2004. MFish proposed two options for reducing the TAC for both the shortfin and longfin stocks. MFish has particular concerns about the sustainability of longfin tuna (eels) at current catch levels. Continuing with present TACs for shortfin stocks are unlikely to rebuild the fishery, which is still in a depleted state.

Shortfin Proposals
MFish proposed to reduce the TAC for shortfin tuna (eels) to either:

  • A mid-point between the current TAC and recent catch levels i.e. an average of 2004/05 and 2005/06 catch
  • A level at or near recent catch levels.

Longfin Proposals
MFish proposed to reduce the TAC for longfin tuna (eels) to either:

  • A level at or near recent catch levels
  • Reducing the TAC to a level set 20% below recent catch levels.

Non-commercial Allowances
Customary – to be provided for in full
Recreational – allowance to remain at existing levels or reduced by the same proportion as the TACC.
Other Mortality – to remain as is.

Commercial TACCs
Reduced in proportion to the recreational allowance, or whole reduction applied to the TACC.


To achieve a good level of understanding of complex fisheries management scenarios we believe it is important to read the information in chronological order so you can follow the process.

The various documents have been broken up, reorganised or supplied in pdfs. This facilitates downloading as intact some of these documents are big and unwieldy.


Please note: These documents are presented from the most recent at the top of the list.

North Island Tuna (Eels)
The Hokianga Accord, supported by the NZ Big Game Fishing Council and option4, recommends a 30% reduction in the shortfin eel TACC and a 50% TACC reduction for longfin eel due to particular sustainability concerns.

27 Jul 07

(PDF 130Kb)

MFish Documents

Ministry Confirmation

MFish confirm the release of the management proposals for North Island tuna (eels) in this letter. Submissions are due by 27th July 2007.

15 Jun 07

(PDF 180Kb)

MFish Proposals

MFish proposals for the future management of the North Island tuna (eel) stocks are included in the initial position paper (IPP).

15 Jun 07

(PDF 380Kb)

MFish Advice

The Ministry of Fisheries advice of the upcoming review of management measures for a variety of fisheries including North Island tuna (eel) stocks.

11 Jun 07

(PDF 30Kb)


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